Building a legacy at Tel Aviv University

By Simon Rocker, July 7, 2011

The UK support group for Tel Aviv University is trying to attract longer-term investment in the institutionby running its first legacy tour later this year.

And the man they have running it, Geoffrey Simmonds, has led similar tours for the Hebrew University.

Mr Simmonds - who has resigned as a Hebrew University governor - is "delighted" to be fundraising on behalf of the Tel Aviv University Trust.

"It's the biggest university in Israel," he said. "It has particularly strong ties with business and professional activities in Tel Aviv and almost all the students that come out of Tel Aviv get a job offer before they leave the university."

In return for pledging a minimum £15,000 bequest to the university, supporters receive a free eight-day tour of Israel in November.

Sponsors have agreed to cover the £100,000-plus cost of the trip and its promotion. Mr Simmonds expects "to raise £500,000 on each tour".

It may take several years before the university sees any dividend, but the wait can be worth it. A participant on one of the four legacy tours he ran for the Hebrew University left it £6 million.

His claimed his tour model worked "because it reverses the psychology of legacies, which are always associated with dying. People who leave legacies often don't tell the charity, so they are not acknowledged in their lifetime. This way we are pro-active in getting legacies and we can honour them."

Future donors will be able to see their names on "a legacy wall of honour which is being built right now".

Last updated: 3:07pm, July 7 2011