2018-19 Annual Fund Results and Awards
Taft’s Annual Fund closed out the 2018-19 fiscal-year with record-setting gift totals from both its alumni and current parent constituencies. Grandparents, former parents, faculty, and friends also gave generously, bringing the total raised between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019, to $4,810,512. All donations directly support Taft’s mission to educate the whole student.
"We’re quite fortunate as a school to have a broad network of generous donors who believe in and support the important work we do at Taft,” says Annual Fund Director Kelsey Kerr. “This year, alumni strengthened their commitment by giving at record levels, with 43% supporting their alma mater with a total of $2,291,955. We are extremely grateful for every gift made at every level—and know that the impact of those gifts will be felt in every corner of our campus.”
Annual Fund dollars make up close to ten percent of the school's operating budget: they pay for books in the library; soccer balls, hockey pucks, and baseball bats; teachers’ innovative programs and salaries; 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. All are educational components that students are grateful for, and the Taft community is proud to support.
"Our current parents are consistently supportive of the work we do, which directly benefits their children in every aspect of their lives at Taft,” notes Parents' Fund Director Amy Gorman. “Their generosity this year, however, reached to new heights. We received gifts from 91% of our current parents, totaling a record $2,057,855. Their gifts represented nearly 43% of total giving this year, which is quite extraordinary. I know I speak for the entire school community when I say we are deeply grateful and humbled by our current parents’ generosity.”
The Annual Fund relies on the year-round efforts of a committed team of volunteers, which includes members of the Parents' Committee, Class Agents, and students. They engage with the community through traditional phone calls, mailings, and texts, but also through fun and creative initiatives like the Young Alumni Taft-Hotchkiss Participation Challenge in November, and Taft's May 1 Day of Giving.
“We’re grateful to all of our volunteers and donors for their dedication to Taft," says Kerr. "Special thanks to Dylan Simonds '89, Annual Fund Chair; Sara and Bob Savage, Parents' Fund Chairs; Jean and Stuart Serenbetz, Former Parents' Fund Chairs; and Joanie Dayton, Grandparents' Fund Chair. Their combined leadership allows us to continue making a significant difference in the lives of our students and faculty."
- What is the Annual Fund?
- Why do we need the Annual Fund?
- What is endowment income?
- What is a matching gift?
- What is capital giving?
- What is the difference between annual giving and capital and/or endowed giving?
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.
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 more than 51 million dollars. Our tuition, which aligns closely with that charged by our peer schools, covers only about 71 percent of what it costs to educate each Taft student. The Annual Fund helps bridge that gap.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Rhino Club: $250 for young alumni through 10th reunion
1890 Society: $1,890—$4,999
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