Appeal for 61 Whitehall

For 190 years we have helped the United Kingdom navigate uncertain times. Now we need help with our own future.

Our history

Founded by the Duke of Wellington in 1831, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) is the world’s oldest and the UK’s leading defence and security think tank. Throughout our long history, we have built a reputation as a trusted authority on defence and security the world over. In recent years, RUSI’s geographical and thematic scope has expanded to reflect the challenges of the twenty-first century – from the changing character of war, to online radicalisation, to the rise of China.

We have always been fiercely independent, because only this can ensure rigorous thinking. But free thinking doesn’t come free. We have not received a core subvention from the UK government since the early 1980s, and depend entirely on independently-raised revenue and philanthropy.

Now we need to realise the potential of RUSI’s crown jewel, our building at 61 Whitehall. We need to make the most of its location, its history, and thus its convening power.

We need to bring ‘home’ RUSI’s research staff and release the money now spent on renting external offices. We need to take RUSI into an even brighter future. And we need your help to do that.

Our impact

Thinking that matters, a voice that is listened to

Our areas of expertise include: military sciences, international security, terrorism and conflict, nuclear proliferation, financial and organised crime and defence industries, acquisition and management.

Our expertise is sought at the highest level in the UK and across the globe, including:

UK government departments and agencies

  • Senior Officials and Ministers in Cabinet Office (including National Security Council and Joint Intelligence Committee), 10 Downing Street, Ministry of Defence, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Department for International Development, Home Office, Department for Exiting the European Union, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
  • UK military services, including British Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Joint Forces Command, as well as Special Forces.
  • Intelligence Services (MI5, MI6, GCHQ, Defence Intelligence)

Parliamentary bodies

  • Defence Committee
  • Foreign Affairs Committee
  • Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy

Multilateral agencies (EU, UN, NATO, OECD, Europol)
Governments and Countries outside Europe
Governments in Europe and further afield

  • United States (National Security Council, State Department, Pentagon, intelligence community)
  • Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Norway and many others

Private sector organisations

  • Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter (lead on the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism), numerous banks, law firms, defence industry, and others.

61 Whitehall

A building worthy of our mission and our visitors is essential

61 Whitehall is a magnificent building, situated next to Banqueting House and the Ministry of Defence, close to Downing Street, and within a stone’s throw of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Houses of Parliament. Combine the proximity and prestige of the location with RUSI’s standing and you have incredible convening power, bringing those working in government, security agencies and the armed forces together with research institutes, the private sector and other professional bodies. But increasingly, the deteriorating fabric of the building has negatively impacted that convening power.

In 2015 we acquired the freehold of 61 Whitehall, and in 2018 received planning permission for the bold, but sympathetic, redevelopment.

The planned renovation will:

  • Restore 61 Whitehall’s original heritage features to a high standard
  • Add state-of-the-art conference, media and meeting rooms
  • Renovate and upgrade the library
  • Add to and extend the space available for learning
  • Redevelop and extend the upper floors of the building

The effect will be to breathe new life into a very special building, allowing us to attract larger numbers of influential people and the public through our doors.

CreditCampbell Architects Ltd
CreditCampbell Architects Ltd

The Appeal

The costs of the redevelopment are £10 million. We invite your support, to help RUSI fill its essential role, which will not only bring immediate benefits to RUSI’s mission, but also strengthen its long-term future. RUSI makes a vital contribution to the world’s security. You can make a vital contribution to RUSI’s future.

Fundraising for the restoration, redevelopment and modernisation of our building at 61 Whitehall, is going well. With the superb leadership of Sir David Lidington, Sir John Scarlett, Sir Mick Davis and Dr Karin von Hippel, to date, just over £9 million has been secured. This includes the largest single gift in RUSI’s history, £2 million from The Exilarch’s Foundation. As a result of the fundraising success to date, building works commenced on site in January 2021 and is scheduled to be completed in Spring 2023.

RUSI is indebted to The Exilarch’s Foundation, The Starr International Foundation, The Law Family Charitable Foundation, Max Kelly, The Garfield Weston Foundation, Sir Mick Davis, Mr Laurence Geller, The Michael and Sarah Spencer Foundation, Hintze Family Charitable Foundation, Google, His Grace the Duke of Wellington, The Rothschild Foundation and many others, for their generous support.

Can you help RUSI with its fundraising?

For more information on how you can assist RUSI raise the remaining £950k, please contact Paul Summerfield.

CreditCampbell Architects Ltd

Donor information

RUSI is a registered charity in the UK – charity number 210639. You can review our annual reports here.

As a registered charity, UK tax payers are welcome to sign a Gift Aid form (which will be provided by RUSI). By signing this form, any donation received will increase by 25% in value at no additional cost to the donor. Higher-rate (40%) and additional-rate (45%) tax payers can claim back the difference between the basic rate of tax (20%) and the rate of tax they paid on the money they earned to make the gift.

You may also wish to consider donating shares, equity or stock to RUSI as this is extraordinarily tax efficient. There is no capital gains tax liability either for the donor(or the charity) and there is no income tax, as the full cost of the shares can be deducted from taxable income when submitting a tax return.

US citizens are welcome to make tax-efficient donations. RUSI is registered in the USA. RUSI’s IRS-approved charitable foundation is a 501(c)(3). It is listed as ‘RUSI US Foundation’ and its registered number is EIN 72-1374719. The address for the RUSI US Foundation is Franklin Square, 1300 I Street NW, Suite 400E, Washington DC 20005

Donor recognition

RUSI is grateful for all donations received. All donations are formally acknowledged, recorded and valued. Donors will receive information on how their donation(s) have been used and RUSI staff will happily make themselves available to talk about their research and work. RUSI’s annual report and financial statements are always available for reading and scrutiny.

Some donors, particularly those who give at a very generous level, may have an interest in naming opportunities. This might be linked to naming RUSI’s building at 61 Whitehall, the prestigious library, the main lecture theatre, the grand committee rooms or one of RUSI’s research programmes. More information about these opportunities is available from Paul Summerfield, RUSI’s Director of Development.

With thanks

Sir David Lidington: Chairman, RUSI
Sir Mick Davis: Campaign Chairman
Sir John Scarlett: Vice-Chairman, RUSI
Dr Karin Von Hippel: Director-General, RUSI