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A lasting gift

Gifts in wills are a vital source of income for the College and are one of the most powerful ways to make a lasting impact.

Remembering St John’s in your will

St John’s is underpinned by philanthropy. There is scarcely a building, facility, scholarship or research post that has not come into being from the generosity of generations past and present. Its very foundation was the result of a legacy, when Lady Margaret Beaufort made provision in her will over 500 years ago for the creation of a college in Cambridge on the site of the ancient Hospital of St John the Evangelist.

Lady Margaret’s bequest, followed by that of many others over the centuries, has led to St John’s becoming the institution we know today. From a small nucleus of Fellows and Scholars, the College has become renowned throughout the world for the outstanding quality of its teaching and research.

Whatever you feel able to spare when making your will, be it small or large, your bequest will contribute to the long-term financial security of St John’s. Building on the resources accumulated over centuries of philanthropy, your legacy will ensure that present and future cohorts of Johnians can make as great a difference to the world as their predecessors have done.


Financial resilience is integral to the present and future strength of St John’s, and the current global crisis and uncertainty ahead serve as stark reminders of the importance of the endowment to our academic freedom.

Legacies of all sizes make a real difference beyond your lifetime, while still allowing you to take care of your loved ones. Whatever you feel able to spare in making your will, your bequest will contribute to the long-term financial security of St John’s and help the College to offer young people the kind of education their predecessors were so grateful to receive.

Tax benefits

St John’s is a registered charity (no. 1137428), which means that there are financial benefits to leaving a legacy to us. By remembering the College in your will, you can reduce the taxable value of your assets. This reduces the amount of inheritance tax (IHT) payable on your estate. If you leave at least 10% of your estate to charity in the UK, your estate can take advantage of a reduced rate in IHT, from its current level of 40% to 36%. Gifts may be in the form of money, property or other valuables.

Wording your will

Gifts in wills can be directed toward specific areas, but contributions marked for ‘general purposes’ are encouraged. These increase the College’s financial flexibility so that it can meet new challenges as they arise and maximise the benefit of its funds by directing them to areas of greatest need.

We suggest you use the following wording when donating to St John’s in your will:

I give to the Master, Fellows and Scholars of the College of St John the Evangelist in the University of Cambridge [the residue] / [% of the residue] of my estate [or] [the sum of £x] free of tax as permanent endowment for the general purposes of the College. I direct that the receipt of the Senior Bursar or other proper officer for the time being of the College shall be a full and sufficient discharge to my Executors.

Bequests for specific areas of College life are also welcome, and we will be glad to discuss the terms of any proposed gift. Conversations about your bequest ensure that we understand your wishes clearly so that we can faithfully fulfil them.

Taking care of your family first

We understand that you will want to provide for your loved ones in your will, and there are types of legacy that allow you to put your family first. Your solicitor can advise you on the best way to record your intentions. Should you wish to make a change to an existing will, your solicitor can also advise on using a codicil.

Residuary bequest

A gift of all or a percentage of your estate after other legacies, debts, taxes and expenses have been paid. The advantage of a residuary bequest is that it maintains its real value, regardless of inflation.

Pecuniary bequest

A gift of a specific sum of money. While this is very welcome, the disadvantage of such a gift is that inflation may erode its value over the years.

Reversionary bequest

A gift of assets to the College while giving someone the benefit of them during their lifetime.

Tax benefits

For US residents, a planned gift can offer significant tax benefits, substantially reducing capital gains and estate taxes, and providing immediate income to you or a beneficiary.

US taxpayers wishing to support St John’s through an estate plan can do so through Cambridge in America (CAm). An outright bequest to CAm is not subject to federal or state inheritance or estate taxes, and the value of your bequest is deductible in determining the value of the estate for estate tax purposes.

Wording your will

If you would like to leave a specific bequest to Cambridge in America in your will, we suggest the following wording:

I bequeath to Cambridge in America, a 501 (c )(3) nonprofit corporation organized and existing under the laws of the District of Columbia with the business address of 1120 Avenue of the Americas, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10036, the sum of __ [dollars or percentage of estate], to be used exclusively for its charitable purposes. It is my hope that these funds will be utilized for the support of St John’s College, Cambridge.

Under its charter and in accordance with US tax law, Cambridge in America may not receive restricted gifts. However, the CAm Board gives every consideration to donors’ requests when allocating gifts to Cambridge and its colleges.

The 1209 Society

Everyone who lets the College know they have made a gift to St John’s in their will is made a member of the Beaufort Society. Those living in the US are also eligible to become members of The 1209 Society.

The 1209 Society honours and acknowledges the many generous donors living in the US, who recognise the importance of the University of Cambridge and its 31 colleges through their estate planning. Members enjoy invitations to special events, a recognition certificate, a biannual newsletter and enewsletter, and a listing in The 1209 Society Roll of Honour (a bound book listing honorees kept by the University).

Next steps

To notify Cambridge in America of an estate provision, or to obtain more information about your giving options, please visit the Cambridge in America website or contact the Cambridge in America Planned Giving Office by post:

Maria Alonso – Assistant Director, Planned Gifts, Cambridge in America, 1120 Avenue of the Americas, 17th Floor, New York, NY 10036.

Or by phone: 212.984.0962 or email:

Tell us about your intentions for a gift in your will

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Join the Beaufort Society

In recognition of the enormous contribution made by those leaving a legacy, the College established the Beaufort Society in 2009. Everyone who has promised a gift to St John’s in their will is welcomed as a lifetime member of the Society. Their commitment is as impressive as it is inspirational – and the support provided by the Beaufort Society in these times of uncertainty is both a comfort and a necessity.

Find out more

I greatly enjoyed my time at St John’s. Not only did I have a lot of fun, it also helped positively mould me into who I am today, and for that I’m very grateful. I acknowledge that I had a lot of advantages when I was applying to, and then studying at, St John’s, and I’m hoping that my legacy can help level the playing field for future applicants. St John’s should be an option for anyone with a strong passion for their subject and the drive to pursue it, and I trust that the College will use this legacy to make that so.

Dr Jolyon Martin (2010)

Find out more

If you are interested in more information about leaving a legacy to St John’s and joining the Beaufort Society, please contact Emma Talibudeen by email at or phone on 01223 338605.

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