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The Campaign

The University of Cape Town has broken new ground on the African continent. Its research has expanded the boundaries of knowledge, shaping lives. For almost two hundred years, its graduates have gone on to win Nobel prizes and lead at all levels of society all around the world. As the highest ranked university in Africa, UCT has much to be proud of, but much remains to be done. Distinguishing UCT is a fundraising campaign to grow the University’s endowment – a permanent source of funding that will enhance UCT’s ability to work towards its vision and mission.

An endowment is a dedicated and permanent source of funding that underwrites a university's ability to work towards its vision and mission. The vision of the Campaign is that through the strength of these endowment funds, UCT can continue to advance excellence, invest in talent, and work to realise transformation. 

The Distinguishing UCT campaign supports UCT’s Strategic Plan for 2016-2019. A strong endowment can provide financial stability for the university for generations to come. Growing the undesignated endowment will give UCT much-needed flexibility in the face of declining government subsidies to respond to wherever the need is greatest.

UCT’s endowment comprises the so-called 'designated' and 'undesignated' endowment funds.  (The collective endowment portfolio is made up of some 565 individual funds in total).  The designated endowment has a total investment value of around R2,5 billion.  The value of the undesignated endowment currently sits at around R676 million.  However, a further R133 million has been raised for infrastructure projects under the campaign banner. The primary goal of the Distinguishing UCT campaign is to grow the value of the undesignated endowment funds to one billion rand. 


The funds raised by the Distinguishing UCT Campaign will be deposited into the endowment fund, which is overseen by the UCT Foundation, a legally independent entity. The endowment portfolio is managed by the Joint Investment Committee (JIC), which is made up of members of the University Council, the university executive and financial experts. The funds are held in a mutual unit trust portfolio with individual funds participating in the underlying investments based on the original investment. About 595 individual funds make up the total endowed fund with a current investment value of approximately R3 billion. Over 80% of these funds are designated for specific purposes, such as named chairs, scholarships, fellowships and bursaries. The JIC sets the guidelines for investment policy within which the investment managers may operate. Income distribution is made on an annual basis with an emphasis on always protecting the capital amount.