For many parents, the sting of writing that big check this summer to pay for your child’s tuition is still pretty fresh. It won’t be long though until a letter arrives from the school asking you to contribute to the annual fund. Ouch!
If you’re new to the world of a private school, you’ll soon have your first experience with the school’s annual giving campaign. Virtually all private schools have a fund drive that usually kicks off in the fall. New parents are often surprised that contributing to the school’s annual fund is expected…not optional.
Though tuition can be as high as 25K+ at some Dallas private schools, it never covers the full cost of each student’s education. The gap between the actual cost of a student’s education and tuition charged is the amount schools are hoping to recoup. For example, at Jesuit for the ’11-’12 school year, the gap is $1675. Schools rely on the annual fund and funds earned from the endowment to cover anything from library books to teacher’s salaries. Sports equipment, microscope maintenance, and summer grants for teachers are all examples of how your gift may be used.
Here’s the good part
The good news is that while schools may have a target amount they are hoping for, the amount you give is totally up to you. Schools strive for 100% participation from their families both as a vote of confidence for the school and its mission and as a signal to others who are considering making a donation. Corporations and foundations considering a contribution look carefully at the percentage of parents who support the school. Additionally, alumni, board members, teachers, staff, and grandparents are all encouraged to participate in the annual fund.
Equally as important as 100% participation, is increasing your giving every year….even if it’s only by a small amount. Giving levels start at $1 (seriously!) and your contribution will be noted by category, not the exact dollar amount, so give what you can and don’t feel pressured by those around you. Also, unlike tuition, your contribution is tax-deductible. So get out the checkbook one more time and help make the school a better place for your child and others to come. Your contribution will be truly appreciated.
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