Re: This is nothing new.
I was once called by a student from my old UK college. She said she was part of a new programme to connect students to old alumnuses (or whatever the blighters are called) and asked me for "advice" about life, given that I was an older, more experienced man.
I took the bait like a complete mug, not realising that I was falling for a classic hook and line trick.
Here I was, waxing lyrical about the meaning of life, and she drawing me out further and further, when she turned the conversation smoothly round and said something along the lines of "you know, we want everybody to have the same opportunities as you've had. To achieve this, he college wants to build a theatre and drama centre. Can you make a contribution?".
At this point, you know you've been played a fool, and to avoid feeling ridicule, you would normally offer to make a contribution, and the call being recorded, it would be a firm commitment.
A firm commitment to an academic institution that happens to have an endowment of £250,000,000, not including the priceless grounds, buildings and possessions of the college itself. From someone struggling to make ends meet. For building a "drama centre".