Celebrating 20 Years of Cambridge in America

Celebrating 20 Years of Cambridge in America

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Cambridge in America (CAm) was founded in 2000 as a 501(c)3 to advance the mission of the University of Cambridge and its thirty-one member Colleges by providing expertise in fundraising and alumni relations and growing the base of support for Collegiate Cambridge among alumni and friends in the US. Its office and staff are based in New York. It began through the merger of two fundraising organizations for the University: The Cambridge University Development Office in the US (CUDOUS) and The American Friends of Cambridge University (AFCU)—two separate organizations each with a distinct mission, budget, staff, and Board.  The first board meeting of the merged group was on December 1, 2000.

Since its creation, CAm has served both the University and Colleges in its fundraising and engagement efforts. Under the leadership of the Executive Director, the CAm team focuses on several priorities, including maintaining close collaborations with University Development, all Colleges, and the International Strategy Office; presenting programming that builds awareness and affinity for Cambridge in the US and Canada; and engaging its Board of Directors.

Over the past 20 years, CAm has achieved a series of milestones. It has played a crucial role in the launch of two major fundraising campaigns: the 800th Anniversary campaign—the University’s first major capital campaign—and the current “Dear World... Yours, Cambridge” campaign. The 800th Anniversary campaign, launched in 2005, not only exceeded an impressive fundraising goal of £1 billion, but also saw a number of popular events that raised the profile and awareness of Cambridge in the US—including the 800th Anniversary Gala in New York, with alumnus Stephen Fry (Queens’) as Master of Ceremonies in 2009. Since then, CAm has hosted many other notable functions including its 2012 May Ball, with Christ’s and Cambridge Footlights alumnus John Oliver as presenter. The University’s present “Dear World… Yours, Cambridge” campaign, started in 2015, is its most ambitious yet with a goal of £2 billion, and has brought with it numerous lectures and events sharing Cambridge thought and research with audiences around the world.

In addition to keeping US alumni and friends engaged and connected to the University and Colleges, Cambridge in America has helped raise significant philanthropic support for Cambridge. Since its start, CAm has played a key part in some of the largest gifts ever to benefit a UK higher education institution. Such donations have included a bequest from Herchel Smith, the British-American chemist, to benefit the sciences, maths, and intellectual property law at the University and Emmanuel College; a gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to create the Gates Cambridge Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships at any university in the world; and support from Dagmar Dolby and Ray Dolby, audio innovator and founder of Dolby Laboratories, to transform both the world-renowned Cavendish Laboratory and Pembroke College—to name only a few of CAm’s many generous benefactors.

With the leadership and guidance of Board of Directors Chair Peter Dawson and Executive Director Gabrielle Bennett; previously serving co-founding Board Chairs Gurnee F. Hart and Dr. Alan E. Smith; and previous Board Chair Dr. William H. Janeway (all generous benefactors themselves), the Cambridge in America team continues to fulfill its promise of supporting the University and Colleges in contributing to society through education, learning, and research at the highest international levels of excellence, now and for many years to come.

December 1, 2020