The phenomenal results of last year’s annual fund testify to the great strides we have made in building a culture of philanthropy at Walker. Parent participation rose twelve percent (12%) and the total amount raised increased by more than fifty-six percent (56%)! Everyone at Walker is thankful to Lyric Resmondo and her team of parent volunteers who helped spread the word on the importance of a strong annual fund.
Interestingly, though, the success of last year’s annual fund has led to an important question: How does the annual fund positively impact my child’s experience at Walker? It is an excellent question. There are several facets to consider when answering this question.
First, The Walker School’s operating budget is ninety-five percent (95%) dependent on tuition dollars. Without an annual fund, the school would be totally dependent on tuition dollars. The National Association of Independent Schools recommends that schools operate based upon eighty-five to ninety percent (85-90%) tuition revenue. As our annual fund increases, it will have the effect of relieving pressure to increase tuition to cover expenses.
Second, because last year’s annual fund increased at such a dramatic rate, it allowed the school to support the educational program in significant ways:
- the school purchased new buses which alleviated rental costs and actually created more discretionary money in the athletic budget because transportation costs were reduced
- new technology initiatives were funded as the school purchased classroom sets of ipads and tablets as well as a new laptop for each teacher
- school-wide security measures were upgraded and will continue to be so this year
- several programs were expanded, such as the robotics program, flag football, and girls’ lacrosse
- faculty salaries and coaching stipends were increased thanks, in part, to increased annual fund support
Third, because of the success of last year’s annual fund and the anticipated success for this year, our tuition increase was lower. Essentially, the increased amount raised in last year’s annual fund represented more than a one percent (1%) tuition increase. The increase made a significant difference as we planned for this year’s operational budget.
Finally, I would close by noting that a successful annual fund represents a voluntary vote of affirmation by a school’s two most important customers, parents and alumni. When major donors are approached and asked to make a transformational gift to the school, a successful annual fund represents the equivalent of a blue chip stock or a Consumer Report “best buy” rating.
Thank you for investing in The Walker School and for your support of Walker’s Annual Fund.