Posted on 10 May 2023
In 2019 we launched our first ever major fundraising campaign: York Unlimited. We had the bold ambition of raising £120 million and unlocking 120,000 volunteer hours to create new ways to tackle inequalities, new ways for science and technology to help society, and new ways to help every student to succeed.
Thanks to our community of staff, students, donors and volunteers we are now approaching that goal.
Over four years, an amazing 36% of our staff community and over 1,600 students and 8,200 alumni have given a gift or their time to York Unlimited. Together with our other donors and volunteers, you have made a difference to the lives of students and researchers at York. The University would like to thank each and every person for their support. To achieve the fundraising targets against a backdrop of a pandemic and cost of living crisis is even more phenomenal. Read our campaign impact report.
The scholarships, grants and awards offered through York Unlimited have made an enormous difference to the lives of some of our students.
We’ve been able to award over 3,000 student scholarships, awards and bursaries since the start of our campaign. With the help of our supporters, we have also been able to extend our Equal Access Fund to offer emergency support to students fleeing Afghanistan, and those affected by the war in Ukraine.
“The Equal Access Fund means a lot to me. It really changed my whole life. I received the Equal Access Fund in a very hard time. When my government back in Afghanistan was collapsed by the Taliban, there were a thousand young people like me who were so disappointed. And we felt hopeless.
Thankfully, the University of York granted me the Equal Access Scholarship to come to this University and pursue my dreams and graduate. I'm looking forward to a better life. My future career goals are based around working with those in the education sector back in my country. I would like to contribute to the betterment of my people’s life and my community, because they need me.” - Fahim, Equal Access Scholar
Beyond scholarships, grants and awards, over 800 volunteers offered their time to mentor and guide students through York Profiles and Mentors schemes.
Our staff community has been key to the success of our annual Giving Day and the Great York Walk. Over £643,000 has been raised through four Giving Days, and our annual 25 mile walking challenge, the Great York Walk, has raised over £76,000 for vital funds for mental health research and initiatives during the campaign.
Through this funding we have been able to offer 21 Mental Health Nursing Scholarships through the Mentally Fit York Fund.
“The scholarship has been a blessing to me. It has made my financial burdens a little bit less. Since receiving the scholarship, my children's school meals and extra nursery costs have been paid on time. I am very thankful to the donor who assisted me with the scholarship, this changed my life and my children’s in a very big way. I am looking forward to my second year.” - Loyce, Mental Health Nursing student
York Unlimited has also unlocked vital funding for academic research across the University. Over £79,000,000 has been donated philanthropically to research during the campaign.
This year, thanks to the generous support of the Lloyd's Register Foundation, an international network of collaborative industrial partners and private donors, and Research England’s flagship capital investment scheme, the UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UKRPIF), the Institute for Safe Autonomy opened on the University's Campus East.
Robotics, autonomous systems and AI have the potential to transform the way we live, travel and work – from driverless cars and remotely monitored ships to assistive robots at work, in the home and in hospitals. This world class facility will be a ‘living lab' for autonomous systems operating on the ground, in the air and underwater, and will work to ensure that robotics, their software and their communications are safe.
We have been able to offer funding to eight projects throughout the campaign, all of which have helped to improve lives through better mental health.
Thanks to Mentally Fit York, £57,000 was pledged to support Togetherall, an online platform that provided 24/7 mental health and wellbeing support to every student at York.
“Thanks to the funding from Mentally Fit York, we were able to respond very quickly to the first Covid lockdown, which dispersed our students across the UK and overseas, making the need for an additional online student support package an urgent priority. In the first three months of service, 1081 students registered, gaining not just support from their peers, but a mechanism through which they could express and share their experiences of lockdown.” - Student Life and Wellbeing team
£2,000 was also awarded to Colleges at York, who partnered with local grassroots men's mental health initiative, 'Menfulness,' on a project to remove barriers preventing the young men of the student body from reaching out for mental health support and to facilitate peer support networks within men’s sports teams.
Mentally Fit York has also now pledged to support the Institute of Mental Health Research, the University’s brand new home for the diverse and essential research we have been carrying out in this area for many years. The Institute will bring together ambitious, enquiring academics and students, with partners working at the forefront of mental health, and will allow us to do more by expanding our insights, our reach and facilitating even more collaboration between researchers, frontline professionals and members of the public.
Unlocking future success
As we reach our goal, we know we must continue to look to the future and work together to secure a brighter future for all. We must set bigger, bolder, more transformational ambitions, ambitions which have only been made possible through the achievements of York Unlimited.
We look forward to seeing what we can achieve, together, over the next 60 years and to supporting the next generation of student and academic leaders.