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Annual Fund FAQs

Annual Fund

What is the Annual Fund?

The Colorado Springs School’s Annual Fund is the yearly request for financial contributions to the operating budget. The Annual Fund provides the primary source of unrestricted funds to the school, thus allowing the school to apply funds to the areas of greatest need. Funds support the day-to-day operations, programming, and maintenance of the school. The Colorado Springs School relies on its community of parents, grandparents, alumni, past parents, friends, faculty/staff, foundations, and area businesses and corporations to contribute.

Why do we have to raise money in addition to tuition?

The Annual Fund addresses the gap between operating expenses and tuition income. If CSS only relied on tuition and did not conduct fundraisers, tuition would actually be higher. Annual Fund gifts are tax-deductible, whereas tuition dollars are not.

Why doesn't the Board set tuition to cover all costs and eliminate the fund drive?

CSS strives to maintain a socio-economically diverse student body, and the Board wants to keep tuition as reasonable as possible. Gifts to the Annual Fund are tax deductible, and tuition is not. Tax laws are designed to encourage voluntary support of nonprofit groups, including independent institutions like The Colorado Springs School. The current national climate has strong financial incentives to give tax-deductible gifts this year and in Colorado our donors can take advantage of the Colorado Childcare Tax Credit (a 50% tax credit on your Colorado taxes). We encourage you to talk with your accountant, CPA, or financial advisor about your personal situation. Independent schools, colleges and universities rely on Annual Funds, in addition to tuition dollars to deliver their missions.

How much should I give?

It is our hope that The Colorado Springs School will be your family’s top philanthropic priority.

  • Individual gifts to the Annual Fund range from $25 to $25,000 or more.
  • The Claremont Society promotes leadership giving levels of $1,962 (significant to the school’s founding in 1962) or more. In fact, 80-90% of the Annual Fund comes from the generosity of Claremont Society donors each year. Claremont Society donors receive a special recognition in the Spring at the Claremont Society reception.
  • If you are interested in funding the gap for a student, this amount equates to approximately $2,600 per student each year.
  • We simply ask that you give at a level that is meaningful to your family. Donors are recognized in the Honor Roll of Donors at various giving levels and parent participation is reported by grade level.
  • How does CSS determine the amount it asks someone to consider?

It is an art and not a science. In setting the individual ask amounts, like any school, university or other non-profit institution that must raise funds, we make note of relevant information about prospective donors prior to setting our ask amounts. For families who have been at CSS for a year or more, relevant information includes past giving history. We can also draw inferences from the degree to which someone volunteers at CSS. In most organizations there is a direct correlation between volunteerism and increased giving. Our most active volunteers are often among our strongest Annual Fund supporters. For families new to the CSS and for alumni reconnecting with CSS, the information relevant to our ask amounts is not always easy to discern. We consider the number of incomes in the household and look at the nature of the occupations, as well as gifts to other charities. We are aware that we make mistakes in the solicitation process, and we are grateful for the understanding of our prospective donors.

How often will CSS solicit me for a donation?

CSS operates on a fiscal year between July 1 and June 30 of each year. The new Annual Fund coincides with the start of the school year and we continue to solicit funds through June 30, the end of the School’s fiscal year. Once your gift/pledge is made for the school year, you will not be solicited for the Annual Fund for the rest of the current fiscal year.

However, CSS continues to seek financial support and participation through other fundraising activities throughout the year. The Annual Fund is the school’s highest fundraising priority, and we encourage you to similarly prioritize your gift to the Annual Fund. Other fundraising includes: Parents Association’s Fun Run and Carnival, Booster Memberships, Gala & Auction, Capital Priorities, and Planned Giving. Students also initiate grade level fundraisers to support such activities as student-led grant-making (KICS) and prom.

How is the Annual Fund different from the Endowment or the Foundation?

The Annual Fund enhances the current year’s operating budget, while a school’s endowment is its long-term savings account.

Will my donation really make a difference to CSS?

Absolutely! We are all a part of the CSS community. Any gift received, large or small, is greatly appreciated and is acknowledged with enthusiasm and gratitude.

In addition, strong participation in the Annual Fund is key to attracting further philanthropic and corporate funding. Philanthropic organizations look for 100% participation from trustees, faculty/staff and parents when they make grants and gifts. Meeting a 100% parent participation goal is one of the top goals for the Annual Fund! Proudly, each year the Board of Trustees and the Faculty/Staff Annual Fund campaigns reach 100% participation.

My family has a lot of financial obligations. Does the payment have to be made soon?

A pledge made today helps give the Annual Fund momentum and does not have to be paid in full until June 30. Gifts can be made by check, cash, credit card or gifts of stock. Monthly credit card installments are a popular means of payment over the course of the fiscal year. Meeting a 100% parent participation goal is one of the top goals for the Annual Fund!

Why doesn't CSS cut costs?

Annual Fund donations support all aspects of the budget, including the cost of attracting and retaining masterful teachers, offering superior academic programming, and equipping and maintaining our facilities.

We emphasize good stewardship with our resources and have maximized student experiences through difficult economic times. All the while CSS maintains the assets of a 28 acre campus with 9 buildings and the school carries no debt.

We believe that an investment in CSS is an investment in our school’s future, and more importantly, an investment in each individual student’s future.

Is it possible to give a gift in honor or memory of someone?

A contribution made in honor of a faculty/staff member, a friend, or a loved one, is encouraged and replaces your individual recognition. On your pledge form there is a designated place for you to indicate whom you would like to honor. Please be sure to also include the person’s address. A special card will be sent to the recipient announcing that a gift was made to the School. However, no amount will be revealed.

Are gifts accepted anonymously?

Yes. The Colorado Springs School respects any donor’s wish to remain anonymous.

When do I need to send my donation?

A formal solicitation letter will be mailed in the fall with several electronic follow ups generated, and solicitation phone calls made, While we will encourage gifts to be made at the start of the school year, many major gift donors will make final tax-deductible gifts during the close of the tax year.

As soon as you receive your solicitation letter and pledge envelope, you can send in your gift and/or make a pledge that commits you to make a gift by June 30. We encourage families to consider the benefit of an automatic recurring monthly credit card gift to spread out a stretch gift. 

You only need to participate once as a household. When we report parent participation, your household gift applies to all of your children – you need not make multiple gifts per grade level.

For more information about the Annual Fund, please contact:

Jessica L. James
Director of Advancement and Communications
The Colorado Springs School
21 Broadmoor Avenue
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80906
(719) 434-4506 or Cell: (719) 210-3499

The Colorado Springs School’s gift year ends June 30, but you may want to contribute by December 31 to take advantage of current year tax benefits. The Colorado Springs School is a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Federal tax identification number is 84-0517369.

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