Britain is to match a £4 million donation to UK universities made by the Iraqi-born Jewish philanthropist, Naim Dangoor.
Dr Dangoor, 94, who has previously funded a thousand £1,000 scholarships at UK universities, wrote to Prime Minister Gordon Brown with his offer of a £4 million donation in April.
He explained that he had heard on radio and television that young people were being told that “because of the credit crunch, they can’t obtain new jobs and they can’t go to university.”
He said: “I want to make life easier for them”.
Now Dr Dangoor, who was an engineering student at Queen Mary University in London in the 1930s, has been given the go-ahead for the donation by the Prime Minister, who has offered to match the donation.
The letter, signed by Mr Brown in his trademark black felt tip, said: “I welcome your generous offer and the Government will be delighted to match your contribution through the mechanism of the Voluntary Giving Matching Funding Scheme that the Department of Innovation and Skills has established to encourage donations to Higher Education.”
The letter recommends that Dr Dangoor contacts individual universities with his offer of a donation, and Mr Brown says he is willing to offer advice on who best to approach.
Dr Dangoor’s charity, the Exilarch’s Foundation, had assets of £50 million in 2007.
He has also set aside £10 million for rebuilding Jewish life in Iraq; £6 million for promoting monotheism in the world; £4 million for university scholarships in the UK or Israel; and £2 million for Jewish community projects.