The following questions are the most frequently asked during the Annual Fund cycle. We hope this information will assist you as you consider your own gift and as you encounter questions from others.
What is the Annual Fund and why is it important?
The Annual Fund is the most important fundraising program at the Montessori School of Columbia. It’s an essential component of the school’s operating budget and supports many critical areas including faculty salaries, professional development, financial assistance, and our enrichment programs. Tuition does not cover all of our operating costs, creating a gap between tuition income and budgeted operating expenses. Annual Fund gifts help us to close this gap and allows for more flexibility in budget setting so that an MSC education is widely accessible to a diversified pool of applicants.
Why can’t tuition cover the school expenses?
It could…. if we raised it high enough. The administration and the Board of Directors consider this option every year when they recommend and set tuition levels. Montessori School of Columbia’s families fall within a wide socio-economic range, and it is important to keep tuition at a reasonable level in order to maintain affordability and to sustain the quality of our teaching staff and educational programs. It is a conscious decision by the Board to trust that our various constituencies will bridge this gap with their Annual Fund contributions. Tax-wise, funding educational expenses partially through charitable donations is certainly more advantageous to our families than simply paying more in tuition.
We pay tuition. How can the school expect us to contribute more?
The education that your child receives at MSC simply costs more than the tuition you pay. Not everyone can make up that gap. Some families can do more and we hope they will. Others can give less and that’s just fine. The important thing is that each family makes a meaningful gift for themselves. Each and every child benefits from the Annual Fund so it is important that every family pitch in to the best of its ability.
Why doesn’t the school simply cut expenses?
MSC is very prudent when it comes to budgeting. Because most of the school’s expenses are in salaries and benefits, we can’t eliminate too many costs without seriously jeopardizing the quality of our programs.
What is an appropriate Annual Fund contribution?
At MSC, Annual Fund gifts range from $20 to more than $5,000. The size of a gift depends on a family’s means, BUT a gift from every parent is our goal. No gift is too small – all gifts are welcome, tax-deductible and make a difference.
Who participates in the Annual Fund?
Each year, all members of the Board of Directors, faculty and staff, current parents and grandparents, alumni/ae parents, alumni/ae and friends of the school are asked to make a contribution to MSC’s Annual Fund.
Why is participation in the Annual Fund so vital?
Each Annual Fund gift inspires giving from other families. Annual Fund participation is also an important measure of our success: if we serve our families by meeting our institutional goals, families will support our efforts. By participating, each family expresses confidence in the school’s mission and helps ensure future prosperity. Everyone’s participation is equally important and helps strengthen and unite our community behind MSC’s mission.
We give a lot of time to the school; do we still need to make a gift?
We are blessed with a community that gives willingly of its time and talent. These commitments are deeply appreciated and vital to our existence, but the school still needs to cover the full cost of each student’s education. We don’t want you to withdraw your support from other programs or events, but we hope that you make giving to the Annual Fund a priority.
Can Annual Fund donations be made anytime during the year?
We welcome contributions to the Annual Fund at any point during the year. Our annual fund runs along with our fiscal year, July 1 through June 30. Many donors choose to make their Annual Fund donation in December – prior to the end of the calendar year.
How are donors recognized?
Unless they choose to remain anonymous, all donors are recognized in MSC’s Annual Report.
Why Annual Fund first?
We make every effort to minimize the number of times during the year that our parents are asked for contributions and hope that our fundraising efforts will be well-supported by our families. We ask, however, that parents make their commitment to the Annual Fund first because we count on these monies to meet our operating expenses throughout the academic year.