Wolfson rowers

Leave a Legacy

Make a lasting impact on generations of students and researchers to come.

scholars at Wolfson


This is our print-friendly online leaflet, for a shorter read please see our Legacy page. This information is available as a physical mailer, contact us for a copy. 

  1. How your Legacy helps
  2. Types of Legacy gifts
  3. Tax benefits 
  4. Legacies and the College Endowment
  5. The Morrison Society
  6. Next steps
  7. Contact us
  8. For Solicitors and Executors

A legacy gift provides for the people and causes you care most about. It is one of the most meaningful gifts you can give. Your family and loved ones come first but we hope that, once you have provided for them, you will also remember Wolfson in your will.

Pledging a legacy to Wolfson will cost you nothing today, but will leave a lasting impact on future generations of students and researchers. Anyone can leave a legacy, and any gift, large or small, will make a real difference to the College in its mission to be a force for good in society. A legacy left to Wolfson can reduce your UK inheritance tax liability, and as a Registered Charity your bequest to Wolfson will be tax-exempt. The College recognises and thanks all legators by inviting them to join The Morrison Society.


How your Legacy helps

Legacy gifts have touched every aspect of life at Wolfson. With their help, we have:

  • supported students and researchers with multi-year funding packages
  • awarded academic prizes and organised skills programmes like WolfWorks
  • encouraged sporting excellence and diverse interest groups
  • invested in new strategic projects like our interdisciplinary research hubs
  • refurbished facilities to be more green and energy efficient

The College invests the legacy gifts it receives to generate more reliable income: this allows us to plan ahead, boosts our financial security, and helps us invest in our people today and for future generations.

Wolfson College has made a pledge: We will offer every member of our international community of scholars the opportunity to fulfil their potential and transform society for the good of all. Our students are our legacy, and their time at Wolfson enriches their lives and their life opportunities.

Your legacy pledge to Wolfson will help secure our future, their future. It will ensure we can offer future generations the opportunity to study at Wolfson, irrespective of personal circumstances, and ensure that these future students find the facilities they deserve and the support they need when they get here. 

Thank you for joining me in remembering Wolfson in your will. 

President Jane Clarke

Types of legacy gifts

Pecuniary or monetary legacy

Allows you to leave a specific sum of money to the College.

Residuary legacy

Allows you to leave all or part of the remainder of your estate to the College, after other legacies and charges have been met.

Reversionary legacy

Leaves your assets to a named beneficiary (e.g. your spouse or other dependant) for their lifetime,  with the whole or a portion reverting to the College on their death.

Conditional legacy

Provides for the eventuality that if none of your dependants survives you, your estate will be left to other named beneficiaries including the College.

Specific or non-monetary legacy

Allows you to leave a specific possession (e.g. shares, property, stocks, pictures or furniture) to the College to be retained or sold to provide funds for Wolfson. In this instance, please get in touch.

Tax benefits

Under present UK legislation, the College’s charitable status means that it pays no tax on legacy gifts; this status also means that a legacy to the College can reduce the UK tax liability on your estate, which may help to benefit your family.

Significant tax benefits in the USA are detailed in literature by Cambridge in America on their website at cantab.myplannedgift.org

We recommend that you consult your solicitor or professional advisor, who will be able to advise you on any tax benefits of your gift. The contents of this leaflet are not intended to constitute legal advice.

How the College uses your legacy gift

The College Endowment is comprised of several funds that the College invests to provide regular income. These funds include unrestricted gifts like legacies and donations from individuals and organisations. At around £28 million, Wolfson’s Endowment is one of the smallest in Cambridge despite it being one of the largest Colleges when measured by student numbers. Income from the Endowment currently covers just 12% of our annual running costs.

Legacies are treated as unrestricted gifts. To generate more reliable income and to leverage economies of scale, the College pools its gifts and invests them in the Cambridge University Endowment Fund for maximum impact.

As a charity, Wolfson devotes all of its available funds to supporting its charitable objects of education, learning and research. A larger endowment, generating increased and regular income, provides the College with a solid and reliable source of funding for those activities.

More income provides more studentships and bursaries as well as enabling us to enhance our sporting and social facilities and maintain our site and buildings. A larger endowment also allows us to plan ahead and to withstand the sorts of fluctuations in income caused by unexpected events, like the coronavirus pandemic. Finally, long-term capital growth means we are able to invest in the educational experience of not just our current students but of generations to come as well.

Jo Cheffins, Bursar

The Cambridge University Endowment Fund (CUEF) is effectively a unit trust, in which Wolfson has purchased units, and from which it receives a quarterly distribution. The CUEF has a value of £3.2 billion, and its size achieves economies of scale from which the College benefits. CUEF is committed to divesting from meaningful exposure in fossil fuels and building up significant investments in renewable energy, with net zero emissions by 2038. 

The CUEF’s investment objective is to achieve or exceed a long term average annual rate of total return equal to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) for each calendar year plus 5%, net of investment management costs. The fund has a hybrid rule for its distribution based on a long-term target capital value rate of 4%. Therefore, the overall long term objective of the CUEF is to achieve an increase in asset values, after paying the distributions, of at least 1% above CPI.

CUEF portfolio as of June 2020: public equity 47%, private investment 15%, absolute return 8%, credit 5%, real assets 9%, fixed interest/cash 16%

The Morrison Society

Named after the College’s visionary founding President, John Morrison, the Morrison Society was established in 2008 to celebrate the special way our legacy donors have chosen to give to Wolfson.

We are delighted to invite Society members to special College events, to show our appreciation during their lifetime for this important commitment. Members also have their names inscribed in a special commemorative book, should they wish to be acknowledged publicly.

Next Steps

Complete our Pledge Form to indicate that you have made, or intend to make, a bequest to the College. This will offer us the opportunity to honour your gift, and to plan for the College’s future.

Whenever you are ready to proceed with leaving a legacy gift, we suggest that you consult your solicitor or professional advisor, who will be able to advise you on the next steps. Please note that a legacy to the College should refer to: ‘Wolfson College, Cambridge’.

A suggested form of wording for a Will or Codicil:
I give to the President and Fellows of Wolfson College, Cambridge CB3 9BB, United Kingdom (Charity Number 1138143) the residue / a proportion of the residue of my estate / the sum of £ (amount) free of tax for the general purposes of the College and I declare that the receipt of the Bursar or other authorised Officer for the time being of the College shall be a good and sufficient discharge to my executors.

Contact us

Although we are unable to offer financial or legal advice, we would be very pleased to talk to you about your intentions. All enquiries will be treated in the strictest confidence. Contact us by email at development-officer@wolfson.cam.ac.uk, by phone at +44 (0)1223 335900, or through the webform below: 

Please leave your address if you would like a mailing, or your preferred contact details if you would like to arrange a private conversation.



Information for Solicitors and Executors

If you would like to speak to us about executing a will, please email us at development-officer@wolfson.cam.ac.uk, or reach us by phone at +44 (0)1223 335900. 

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