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President of Fundraising Committee
Claude Bébéar tells us more about the aims of the Campaign and the role of the Committee.
Our aim is to encourage French écoles and universities to get into the habit of asking their former students for financial support, which they can add to their current resources to finance grants for disadvantaged students, research, etc. Given the importance of École Polytechnique, it should act as a model for this type of scheme. If we look at the American example, we can see that, despite the very high cost of studies in the universities, former students see it as their duty to contribute in their own way to the future of their establishment. For example, Harvard has an endowment of over 35 billion dollars!
We're obviously not on the same scale, but we're very optimistic about achieving our goal of 35 million euros. We've already received commitments for nearly 2/3 of that amount. We don't aim to spend all the money we receive; we want to set up a capital sum that will earn interest. We'll then use this income to help develop our plans.
We have set up entities in London and New York to collect funds from former students in the two countries. I'm chairman of the Campaign Committee, which appeals for volunteers to support General Xavier Michel, Managing Director of the École and Marie-Stéphane Maradeix, campaign director, etc, to encourage former students who have donated to go out and find people who can help us; these are our ambassadors. Also, Marie-Stéphane Maradeix is a professional in this type of fundraising activity and is organising the campaign so that we're effective.