Our Annual Fund campaign for the 2016-17 has begun, and we are already seeing strong support from Westfield families and friends. At our kickoff Friday night, donations and pledges totaled over $27,381 toward this year’s goal of $150,000 including 75 percent of our families participating.
The Annual Fund is the mainstay of our fundraising efforts to support the overall mission of the school. For many years, Westfield families, grandparents, past parents, alumni, and community friends have supported our school in generous ways through the annual fund campaign. Westfield is a better place because of the yearly support and donations through the Annual Fund.
While past Annual Fund revenues often have been used for “gap” funding in the school budget to cover projects that could not be funded by tuition only, the main goal for a school annual fund program is to fund extra projects and programs that support the school’s mission and enhance the overall experience for students. Many schools for many years, including Westfield, have used the Annual Fund to fill the “gap” between tuition revenue and regular ongoing expenditures. While the change from the “gap” mindset to the educational enhancements mindset takes time, and the budgetary planning takes time, we believe this approach is in the best long term interests of the school. In other words, we want normal operating expenses to be covered by tuition and are moving in such a direction.
Hence, we are restructuring this year’s Annual Fund campaign to provide students with tangible resources, programs, and technology above and beyond the normal needs. We are moving away from thinking of the Annual Fund as a program of fundraising that merely supports the general fund. Last year’s annual fund campaign, which totaled over $180,000, funded a new roof for the Lower School, new flooring in several buildings, LED lighting, and HVAC replacements with partial funding for the 1:1 iPad program in the Middle School. While these were significant needs for our school, we want to get to a point where all of the major maintenance projects, such as new roofs and HVAC replacements, are covered in the regular budget and the dollars raised in the annual fund campaign can be used for special programs and projects. Thus, our goal for the 2016-17 annual fund campaign is to transform our Media Centers into spaces that invite and inspire literacy, creativity, and problem solving. We also want to fund further expansion of the technology resources available to the students by introducing a 1:1 laptop initiative for our 9th and 10th graders.
As we move forward in this year’s annual fund campaign and for the future, our goal is to have Board of Trustees members asking fellow Board members for gifts, faculty members asking faculty members for gifts, parents asking parents for gifts, and grandparents asking grandparents. We want our annual fund program to be conducted for the benefit of the children rather than be a fundraiser conducted by the children. We are not asking the students to sell discount cards nor will we provide the students with a prize room or other structure of individual incentives. We will continue to use the discount card as a thank you to each and every donor who gives at any level to the annual fund. And, to reward the entire school community, we will offer some school-wide and classroom based incentives, such as a day off of school in the spring and class pizza parties.
The 2016-2017 annual fund campaign continues through June 30th, and I am a confident with your support Westfield will continue to excel. As we move ahead, I ask each of you prayerfully to consider making a gift to this year’s campaign. Many thanks to those who have already contributed, and special thanks to ComSouth for their generous matching gift offer. We are committed to using these funds in a way that glorifies God and enhances our school community. Thank you again to all of our parents, grandparents, faculty, alumni, and friends for your devotion and support of all things Westfield.
Head of School