Stephen Perse Foundation

Stephen Perse Foundation

Start-up and interim management of a fundraising operation for the Stephen Perse Foundation, a forward-thinking group of independent schools in search of bursaries to help turn their vision into reality


The Stephen Perse Foundation is a group of three schools and a sixth-form college in Cambridge that offers an education for the 21st century. Although independent, the schools are modern, relaxed, down-to-earth and inclusive… hence the commitment to creating generous bursaries and widening access.


The need for bursaries entailed the need to undertake some serious fundraising. But where to start?

Project dates
2010 to 2011

Tricia Kelleher, Principal, says:
“We don’t have alumni who are loaded, but we do have a great story! We’re moving away from facts towards understanding, from traditional education to creating thinking digital citizens for a new world. What Rachel and James did was empower us to use that story to overcome our embarrassment at asking for money… and much more besides.

“We started with visits and advice from Rachel, before James came in on a more permanent basis. He worked roughly half time for several months. He fitted in with us perfectly and set about creating systems, a database, an office and a development committee. Within a year, we had a professional operation up and running. And, though James has moved on, we still feel we can contact him or Rachel for advice any time. The momentum is there!

“Less than two years after looking for a fundraising consultant, we already had results. We’d run a successful telephone campaign to raise awareness. And we’d already received pledges of a quarter of a million pounds, including three 100% bursaries. Perhaps most important of all, fundraising made a huge impact on our PR and marketing. Writing a case for support helped us to crystallise what we’re about and join up our thinking. It raised the bar and made us realise we’re not a parochial little school but an extraordinary institution with a powerful message.”