Annual Fund

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Annual Fund

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We have just closed a terrific year for the Annual Fund which resulted in $4,893,445 of total giving—more than $375,213 over goal—as well as achieving an impressive 43% alumni participation and 92% current parent participation. Notably, there were some particularly profound displays of generosity and enthusiasm by our young alumni. I know that I speak on behalf of all of Taft in expressing sincere gratitude to our Annual Fund donors for their commitment to sustaining educational excellence, and for the example they set for the rest of our community to follow.

We owe much of the success of this Annual Fund campaign to an incredibly devoted team of volunteers, including the Parents’ Committee; Stuart and Jean Serenbetz P’03, ’06, ’09, Chairs of the Former Parents’ Fund; Joanie Dayton GP’14,’16, ’20, Chair of the Grandparents’ Fund; and hundreds of Class Agents across more than a half-century of class years. I particularly want to take this opportunity to recognize the extraordinary efforts of Marietta Lee and Jeff Keeler P’16, ’18, who are handing over the co-chairmanship of the Parents’ Fund to Sara and Bob Savage, P’18, ’20, after two years of exemplary service. As always, I also want to offer special thanks to the staff of the Alumni and Development Office for keeping the Taft community connected and strong—they work tirelessly and without much fanfare, but their impact is great and deserving of our genuine appreciation. I am truly grateful and humbled to work with such a wonderful group of talented and dedicated people—they are the pride of Taft.

On behalf of Taft, I thank all of the donors who have made this year’s Annual Fund such a success. It takes consistent, deep, and broad support from all corners of our community to build and steward the Taft we know and love, and I look forward to working with many of you to reach higher and achieve even more in the year and years to come.

With my warm regards and thanks,
Dylan Simonds '89 signature
Dylan Simonds ’89, Annual Fund Chair

Highlights of the 2017–18 Annual Fund

The Taft-Hotchkiss Young Alumni Challenge was held in November with the Classes of 2003 to 2017 competing with Hotchkiss to achieve the highest participation in one week. Taft bested Hotchkiss by reaching a participation rate of 19.4% vs. Hotchkiss’s 18.1. It was a fun competition, won with much team effort!

Taft’s Day of Giving on May 1 was a rousing success with 530 gifts totaling $274,005. The classes with the highest participation in their decades were: 2012, 2000, 1999, 1980, 1978, 1961, 1957, and 1946. The Class of 1999 had the overall highest participation rate of 15% from 21 donors. Congratulations to the hardworking class agents and volunteers who helped achieve so much in one day.

The Class of 1998 celebrated their 20th Reunion and reached record highs in both dollars raised and class participation. The class receives the Chairman of the Board Award for raising $419,996 in both annual and capital dollars from 57% of the class. Kudos to the class for their impressive show of school spirit!

2018 Annual Fund Class Agent Awards

What is the Annual Fund?

The Annual Fund is an ongoing fundraising effort managed by Taft’s Alumni & Development team, and realized through the dedication of legions of volunteers and donors. Taft alumni and parent volunteers work with the Alumni Office to secure gifts from the school constituency, including alumni, current parents, past parents, and grandparents.

Annual Fund dollars are used exclusively to support Taft’s operating budget. That means they pay for books in the library; soccer balls, hockey pucks, and baseball bats; a favorite teacher's salary; paint brushes, pianos and pottery clay; petri dishes in the chemistry lab, and microscopes for biology; the budget for The Papyrus; the cost of a DJ for a Saturday night dance; and much, much more.

Tax-deductible Annual Fund giving corresponds with Taft’s fiscal year, not the calendar year. That is, the Annual Fund campaign opens on July 1 of each year and ends on June 30 of the following year. Nearly 10% of the school’s total operating budget came from Annual Fund giving last year.

Why do we need the Annual Fund?

Being an independent school means that we are a nonprofit organization, operating without financial support from local or federal taxes. We rely on tuition income, Annual Fund income, and endowment income to support the day-to-day operation of our school—which comes with an annual price tag of nearly 50 million dollars. Our tuition, which aligns closely with that charged by our peer schools, covers only about 68 percent of what it costs to educate each Taft student. The Annual Fund helps bridge that gap.

What is endowment income?

Endowment funds are like savings accounts that generate income from the investment of the principal. For example, a gift to the Lance Odden Scholarship is put in endowment so that the fund grows and spins off more and more income as years pass. The principal is not touched. A gift to the endowment is NOT a gift to the Annual Fund.

What is a matching gift?

Many companies offer matching gift programs to employees and their families, allowing individual gifts to be doubled, and sometimes tripled. A partial listing of companies offering a matching gift program is available here. If you don't see your company's name, please contact them directly. Matching gift forms are available through participating companies' human resource offices, and should be sent to:

The Taft School
Attn: Anna Kasperuk
110 Woodbury Road
Watertown, CT 06795

All matching gifts are credited directly to you.

What is capital giving?

From time to time, our Board of Trustees identifies projects that require large sums of money to complete; capital funding may support those projects. Bingham Auditorium, HDT dormitory, and the Martin Health Center were all recently renovated thanks to capital giving. Capital gifts may also bolster our endowment, providing meaningful support for academic programs, students, faculty, and staff.

To learn more about capital gift opportunities, please call Chris Latham, director of development, at 800-959-8238.

What is the difference between annual giving and capital and/or endowed giving?

The Annual Fund helps us live; capital funds help us grow. That is, the Annual Fund is used for annual expenses, while capital and endowed gifts are for building and special projects.

2017-18 Annual Fund

Dollars Raised: $4,893,445

Alumni Participation: 43%

Thank you for your dedication to Taft!


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Questions? Call the Alumni Office at 860.945.7900.

In the spirit of fiscal and environmental stewardship, we no longer print the annual donor report. For your privacy, our online report is password protected; the password has been mailed to alumni, parents, grandparents, and friends of the school. Questions? Call the Alumni Office at 860.945.7900.

Leadership Giving Societies

Rhino Club: $250 for young alumni through 10th reunion
1890 Society:
Red & Blue Society: $5,000—$9,999
Non ut Sibi Society: $10,000—$24,999
Winifred T. Taft Society: $25,000—$49,999
Horace D. Taft Society: $50,000—$99,999
Headmaster's Circle: $100,000 and above