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Money Matters: Issue 50

We are delighted to bring to wider attention Issue 50 of the Alma Mater College's alumni newsletter "Money Matters". Though normally distributed to members of the College only, the Governing Body has decided at this time of greatest need to offer it for broader circulation in a spirit of inclusive generosity and in the hope of "widening the donations net at this difficult time".

We are grateful to the Master and Fellows of Alma Mater College for this opportunity to share their pain and become "part of the solution".

Highlights of the landmark 50th issue of Money Matters include.

The Master writes:

CONTRIK-69 has hit many individuals and many institutions in grievous ways. Perhaps nothing has suffered as tragically, however, as the College's finances. In the otherwise welcome absence of students, revenue from rents on our over-extended property portfolio has fallen dramatically whilst the return on our investment portfolio has also fallen sharply. I have always considered that keeping the College in as healthy and comfortable a financial condition as possible [as well as protecting the Fellows from hardship] to be the hallmark of the success of any Mastership and I hope that, since I shall be leaving in September, alumni will rally round to try to ensure that my Mastership is remembered as the success I deserve it to be. My wife Skycloud joins me in wishing you prosperity and a generous heart. [Fellows are reminded that our weekly virtual drinks party will take place on Thursdays at 6pm. I will begin chanting at 6.15pm sharp.]

The Bursar writes:

As the responsible financial officer, I have always considered the wealth of the College of paramount importance. CONTRIK-69 has hit many individuals and many institutions in grievous ways. Perhaps nothing has suffered as tragically, however, as the College's finances. In the otherwise welcome absence of students, revenue from rents on our over-extended property portfolio has fallen dramatically whilst the return on our investment portfolio has also fallen sharply. As alumni will know, the Master will be leaving in September and I firmly believe that the best way to mark the end of his tenure and show appreciation for his leadership over the last seven years is to restore the value of the College's Endowment and thereby ensure that he leaves with the College's overall finances in as good a shape as he found them. [PLEASE NOTE: The College Accounts which are normally made available to alumni online at this time will not be posted until we have concluded our second attempt to massage the figures. They do not show the operational deficit we need everyone to believe we are currently operating under.]

The Development Director writes:

Alumni will need no reminding of the dramatic impact of CONTRIK-69 on the College's finances as well as on our plans to ensure that when we are allowed to re-open we do so as an efficient fully refurbished, revenue-generating donation-friendly fiscal machine open to all overseas students eligible to pay the higher fee. We all know that it is better to give than to receive and we also know that the College has made a simple pledge to all donors: give and we will receive. You may, therefore, give with complete confidence even in this time of crisis. Anyone in doubt about our commitment to extracting the maximum charitable donations possible despite the current difficulties should visit the A&DO website for details on how we can ease the process of transferring cash, valuables and other major assets from your ownership to ours. We know that many alumni will be disappointed at the cancellation of our Fundraising Reunions in both July and September and we share their sadness at this lost opportunity. However, we are determined to find other ways - through virtual online technology if needs be - of making good any potential loss of revenue and ensuring that no-one is left alone during this crisis [until they have donated]. As we work our way through the current difficulties and learn to be better, smarter and more clinically-extractive we must all remember that social distancing does not mean being ungenerous in our attitude to others. Alma Mater is a caring "family" community and supporting family is key to our collective well-being; so I urge you to put family first and give all you can to our Emergency "Save Your Alma Mater" Disaster Fund Campaign. [PLEASE NOTE: None of the A&DO Staff are currently furloughed - so please keep them busy.]

The Chaplain writes:

I believe it was the Lord Jesus [though it may have been some other apostle] who once reminded the Ishmaelites that St Paul urged us to remember that three things abideth: "Faith, Hope and Charity-giving" and that the greatest of these is "Charity-giving". If , as I write, I mis-remember scripture it is because I am at this moment filled with the presence of the Lord who has shone his greatness upon me and has appeared unto me holding out his hands in supplication, saying "Ask and you shall receive". This is a clear sign, I believe, that, at this great time of need in the College, he wants us all to give all we can - even unto our last shekel - to him [via the College's Alumni and Development Office]. Bless you all and stay safe [enough to get to the Bank, Post Office or local Will-makers Office before the end of the lockdown].

[PS Join me via Zoom for a virtual Sherry and Eucharist Party on Sunday 31st May at 7pm, when we will be raising a glass to the Alumni and Development Office and offering a blessing on their valiant efforts on our behalf. All donations gratefully received: this week's collection is going to The Alma Mater College Fellows Emoluments Emergency Appeal.]

The Senior Tutor writes:

Though my key responsibilities are largely concerned with the academic and pastoral welfare of our students, their continuing absence has allowed me to be seconded to, and to observe the activities of, the Alumni and Development Office. Only now do I appreciate what a terrific job all 55 member of its staff do in extracting money in very difficult circumstances. They are to be congratulated and, I believe, supported in the best and most practical fashion. Please give generously - all of our stipends now depend on it. [Cheques, postal orders, Direct Debit and Standing order Instructions should be sent to the A&DO, Alma Mater College, Cambridge asap. Your donation will be gratefully received but not necessarily acknowledged at this very busy time.]

Other articles:

Page 6: A Research Fellow: Why my urgent research into 17th century Maltese gerunds urgently needs financial support

Page 8: A Librarian: "Supporting the New College Library at this critical time

Page 10: A Catering-Manager "Lockdown recipes that save you money and leave you in a better position to give to your College

Page 15: Fellows News: Barely surviving without High Table; Worse than Drexit: The impact of CONTRIK-69 on the precarious finances of a vulnerable academic; This selfish disease: How CONTRIK-69 has disrupted the grant application process and ruined my cash-flow; Locked-down wine cellar misery; Why not working is alright for some but severely inconveniences me when I need a College servant to do something for me; Bring back bedders, I can't cope with emptying my own waste-paper basket.






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