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Oxford University to host Institute of Charity

Oxford University to host Institute of Charity

A new Institute of Charity has been created at New College, Oxford University. It has been developed over the past three years by the college and Charity Futures, the charity sector think tank.

Expected to open in the summer of 2022, it will be situated in a purpose-built home on a newly developed part of the college site in central Oxford.

Before that, and starting next month, work will begin on the development of a strategic fundraising plan. The Institute aims to secure a single £30 million endowment that will deliver a sustainable annual income.


Institute of Charity’s objectives

The Institute has been established to:

  • deliver high calibre academic research to be used by the global charity community
  • promote the importance of research and study of charity, both at post-graduate and undergraduate level, in universities more generally
  • develop networks and foster links internationally
  • digitise charity records to assist with wider research and study
  • organise conferences and summer schools for UK and global academics, philanthropists, corporate donors and leaders of civil society

Sir Stephen Bubb

Sir Stephen Bubb will assume an interim role as Acting Director of the Institute, while retaining his role as Director of Charity Futures. He will commission the fundraising strategy, raise awareness of OIC in academic circles and in charities, and work with the college to identify and appoint the first Academic Director.

He first announced plans to set up an institute for philanthropy at Oxford University in 2017. Originally this was to be in partnership with the Oxford Centre for the Study of Philanthropy but those plans were withdrawn in 2018.

Sir Stephen said: “The participation of New College in this collaboration is very significant for us. Charity Futures was established to look at the long-term future health of the charitable sector in the UK.  We were clear from the start that finding a home at a truly excellent academic institution was essential if the mission of providing original and rigorous research was to be met.



“The research and study of charity will be of the highest intellectual order but aims to promote better, more sustainable, and effective performance of charity in the world. OIC will also serve as an authoritative source for views on the sector with government and the media, and in the development of policy generally.

“My role is to give the Institute a solid foundation from which it can thrive and prosper long into the future. In practical terms this means establishing a firm financial base and securing an inspirational academic leader. The Institute will make a major contribution to the sector I love and have worked in for some three decades.”


New College

Founded in 1379 by William of Wykeham, New College is one of the oldest of the Oxford colleges. Wykeham was Bishop of Winchester and High Chancellor of England, and the college was established for the education of priests.

Miles Young, Warden of New College said of the founding of the Institute: “We are very pleased to be hosting the Oxford Institute of Charity in the College, as the third and newest of our Research Centres.

“Charity’s important role in our society is often undervalued, and I believe that one cause of that is that it is surprisingly little studied in Universities. What particularly attracts us is the opportunity to apply interdisciplinary scholarship to the subject, and in a way which reinforces our own – and Oxford’s expertise – in subjects as diverse as history and philosophy, politics and economics, law and government.  New College was founded as a charitable enterprise by William of Wykeham as far back as 1379, so this does seem an appropriate place to help remedy the academic neglect of the subject.”

Sir Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, welcomed the Institute too, saying: “As the size and influence of the charity sector has grown considerably, it’s right that the attention we give to understanding it also grows. We already have a range of outstanding academic centres dedicated to studying many aspects of charity, and I know all those behind the Institute passionately believe that its greatest impact will be delivered through collaborating with other researchers across the UK and beyond.”

Oxford University is itself a leading fundraising organisation, having raised £1.25 billion in four years with its Oxford Thinking campaign.






Main photo: New College, Oxford – by Andres Alvarado on


Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world's first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of Research massive growth in giving.

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