Looking back on 2020

A thank you message from Ben Plummer-Powell, Chief Philanthropy and Global Engagement Officer

Your generosity and partnership have helped us to uphold and build on the School’s 125-year commitment to educate future leaders, shape research for the world and convene global communities.

Ben Plummer Powell

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Students walk down Houghton Street

As 2020 draws to a close, a year unimaginable from the one we started in January, we are writing to say thank you from LSE. We are most grateful to you for your continued advice, support, partnership and generous philanthropy.

This year we have all been confronted by global circumstances that have disrupted, interrupted and changed our daily lives. Throughout, your generosity and partnership have helped us to uphold and build on the School’s 125-year commitment to educate future leaders, shape research for the world and convene global communities. 

Enabling social mobility through transformative education 

Before the global pandemic, as we shaped LSE 2030, our School strategy for the next ten years, feedback from across our community highlighted the need to build upon our existing scholarship and bursary provision and our capacity to attract and retain the very best students, regardless of background or circumstance. 

As the world’s existing inequalities were compounded further by events this year, and as household incomes shrunk and global economies contracted, alumni, friends and partners made remarkable interventions to transform students’ lives.

In the summer we received commitments of over £1m of support from 566 donors for LSE offer holders whose families were unexpectedly hit by the global economic situation. These included gifts towards our New Futures Fund  Scholarships, which helped to ensure UK-based undergraduate students could study at LSE. New named scholarships, made possible by individual donors and their families – such as the Luksic Scholarships supporting outstanding young policymakers from Chile, and the The Anning Valley Zhao Scholarship enabling PhD candidates from China to continue their academic journey – are already making a profound impact.

On 8 December, the Uggla Family Scholarship Programme was launched, reaffirming our commitment to social mobility, equality and inclusion, to support talented students from underrepresented communities. This programme was made possible by alumnus Lance Uggla’s visionary pledge of £23.4 million, the largest single scholarship gift in LSE’s history, providing comprehensive support to thirty exceptional undergraduate students from underrepresented backgrounds within any given year, in perpetuity.

The personal and professional development of all students is very much at the heart of of our Student Futures Programme, led by Dilly Fung, Pro-Director for Education. This wonderful initiative has been enabled by alumnus Raph Appadoo’s generous commitment of £1 million, and will benefit generations of students. Both Raph and Lance Uggla hope their philanthropy will inspire others to follow their example so we can provide further support and transformational opportunities to our students during this crucial time and for the future.

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Shaping research and action for impact

Alumni, friends and partners are helping our world-leading faculty to inform global responses to the pandemic, grapple with major global challenges and shape policy designed to create a more equitable Post-COVID world.

This year, as you would expect, our world-class faculty have applied their expertise to help governments, NGOs, policymakers, industry and civil society – informing policy and shaping global society post-COVID for the betterment of everyone. Philanthropy in support of the COVID Response Fund  has contributed to LSE’s Shaping the Post-COVID World series, which will convene debate and showcase research on health and wellbeing, climate and the environment, extinction and sustainability, and on social cohesion, governance and democracy.

Exploring how we can strengthen our social infrastructure and governance will be as important as fostering economic growth in building the post-COVID world, such as the International Growth Centre (IGC) new policy initiative, Reducing State Fragilities, supported with a grant of $250,000 from The Rockefeller Foundation. The IGC has also just been awarded UK Research and Innovation funding for its economic studies focused on post-lockdown recovery and the effectiveness of COVID-19 policy interventions in Africa and South Asia.

Developing the LSE community for everyone

As part of LSE’s commitment to sharing knowledge in new ways and bringing people together to maximise innovative collaborations, in spite of the pandemic, in 2020 LSE has launched two crucial initiatives that we believe will be of relevance to you and will benefit profoundly from your support. 

Our Data Science Institute, led by Professor Ken Benoit, will deliver a comprehensive programme of teaching, and an ambitious, international research and policy development programme - improving data literacy throughout the LSE community. The Inclusion Initiative, launched in November, thanks to the generous support of alumnus Richard Nesbitt, led by Dr Grace Lordan, provides behavioural science insights helping firms create more inclusive cultures for all talent, and simultaneously produce academically rigorous and relevant research. 

These are just snapshots from LSE in this most extraordinary year – we hope you have enjoyed reading and hearing from our remarkable students, talented faculty and visionary donors. We wish you health, happiness and hope during this festive season, and we look forward to working with you in the year ahead. 

With warm regards

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Ben Plummer-Powell

Chief Philanthropy and Global Engagement Officer

December 2020

 

 

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