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State of the School and Member-Supported Annual Fund Launch

August 27, 2015

Member-Supported Annual Fund Launch

In my recent state of the school presentation, I began with a very simple notion. The Colorado Springs School is an institution that exists solely because the members of its community have, in the past, present, and future, invested their time, talent, and treasure in the school. To borrow a phrase from National Public Radio, we are “member supported.” That community membership, conferred upon a student and their parents with entrance to the school and held for life, can be manifested in many ways from the simple but very important fact that you choose to send your child(ren) to CSS. From there, membership can be amplified through advocacy in the community, volunteerism, and giving to annual and capital funds. Simply put, these tangible measures of your support are what allow us to do the very ambitious and uncommon things we do at our school.

It is our status as an accredited independent school that affords our school the agility and ambition to do things that other larger state and federally-regulated public institutions simply cannot. Our tradition of innovation paves the way for us to think about maximizing our opportunities rather than simply sustaining the protocols of the past. If you are interested in learning more about recent innovations at CSS, please peruse my recent Head’s Blog, review the state of the school presentation (PDF), or watch the vodcast below.

Our Annual Fund is our most important fundraising priority. It is also the most efficient fundraising dollars raised at CSS and offers donors philanthropic and tax-deductible advantages. As we embark upon our fundraising plans for 2015-2016, we wanted to make our initiatives more donor-centric and improve the timing of our most important fundraising events. A strong launch to our Annual Fund in the fall and closing with the Gala and Auction in the spring accomplishes the following:

  • A strong and clear message about the importance of the Annual Fund allows us to build fundraising momentum early in the year. Our goal is to achieve high levels of current parent participation by early October and to position the school to say “yes” to opportunities that will have a high impact on students.
  • Additionally, a strong start and early success in the Annual Fund, allows us to spend more time thanking the supporters of the school and stewarding gifts toward their intended purpose – the creation of a world-class learning environment for our students that is unrivaled locally.
  • In the upcoming week personalized Annual Fund letters will be mailed to current parents and phonathon calls will be made. We invite you to say “yes” to our students through your participation in the Annual Fund. As a community we value an open dialogue and we know you won’t avoid our volunteer or staff calls as we look to gain your commitment. No matter the size, every gift counts. You’ll also see the campus graced with participation signs that celebrate our community’s level of Annual Fund participation and involvement in the Claremont Society challenge.
  • By the end of the tax year when we solicit our broadest group of donors – grandparents, past parents, past faculty/staff and alumni – we will be able to tout the support of our current parents. High parent participation also positively impacts our case for funding from corporations and foundations.

Claremont Challenge Accepted

This year, as in years past, we’ve been lucky enough to secure a challenge fund donor. We’ve been challenged to secure 40 gifts at the Claremont Society level of $1,500 or more by October 5.

In order to meet the challenge, these gifts must be paid in full or coordinated through an automatic recurring monthly payment (e.g. $1,500/10 months = $150 per month) with the Advancement Office. We will celebrate Claremont Society donors at a leadership giving event on Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at The Mining Exchange. The impact of meeting this challenge will result in an additional $10,000 donation being contributed to the Annual Fund for our students.

Gala & Auction

In order to serve as a celebration of a successful year the CSS Gala will be Saturday, April 16, 2016 at The Pinery and feature, in addition to the many exciting offerings, items that display the athletic, artistic and academic accomplishments and creativity of our fine students. We are proud to announce that former Denver Bronco, Reggie Rivers, will serve as the most gracious auctioneer and host of the event. Proceeds from the event will benefit arts and technology – another example of raising dollars that directly impact all of our students.

Say “Yes!” Make a Gift Online Today!

Please take a moment to read our one-page Fundraising Overview and Impact (PDF) or investigate our Annual Fund FAQs on the website if you would like to know more about our fundraising program and our strategy.

Thank you for considering a personally meaningful Annual Fund gift that supports our innovative and high-quality student programs. And thank you for the many ways you will contribute this year toward the success of your child.

All the best,
Aaron Schubach
Head of School