Rising to the Challenge: 2020-21 Annual Fund Results and Awards
JULY 22, 2021
Taft's Annual Fund is an ongoing fundraising effort managed by the school's Alumni and Development team and realized through the dedication of legions of volunteers and donors. What does that mean? Annual Fund dollars help close the gap between what tuition covers and the true cost of educating a Taft student. During the Annual Fund year running July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021, more than 600 volunteers, donors from 38 countries, 49 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, and alumni, parents, grandparents, faculty, staff, family, and friends came together to raise $5,760,737 in support of the school's operating budget. From infrastructure upgrades, laboratory materials and teacher salaries, to library books, art supplies, and athletic equipment, the Annual Fund gifts impact the experience of every Taft student, each and every day. And for that we are grateful.
With guidance and support from the Alumni and Development team, passionate and dedicated volunteers led Taft's 20-21 Annual Fund efforts. Fund Co-Chairs Dylan Simonds '89 and Tamara Sinclair '05, Parents' Fund Chairs Neile and Chad Messer '90, Grandparents' Fund Chair Joanie Dayton, and Former Parents' Fund Chairs Jean and Stuart Serenbetz rallied their respective constituents in support of Taft's mission. For the 29th consecutive year, at least 90% of current Taft parents made gifts to the school. This year, those gifts totaled $2,614,651, representing 45% of total giving. Alumni gifts, coming from 37% of Taft alumni, added $2,462,380 to the Fund's bottom line. With Taft's operating budget wholly dependent on tuition and philanthropic investment, Annual Fund participation is vital to our school. It is clear that the combined leadership of our volunteers and generosity of our donors continue to make a significant difference in the lives of Taft's students and faculty.
Thank you to all of our volunteers and donors who, during an exceptionally difficult and unusual time continued to "show their love" on Taft's Day of Giving; to the Classes of 2007-20 who reshaped our Young Alumni Challenge this year; to all of the parents who rose to the meet this year's Participation Challenge; and to everyone who gifted our community with their time, talent, or monetary donation large or small during the Annual Fund year. Your dedication and generosity help keep our community strong.
Taft is pleased to announce Neile and Chad Messer as the new chairs of the 2020–21 Parents’ Fund. Chad, Class of 1990, recently celebrated his 30th Taft Reunion.
Neile and Chad are active members of school life, having attended many events both on and off campus over the years. Their older daughter, Hartley ’20, graduated last spring, and Caroline ’22, is in her third year at Taft. They also have a younger daughter, Lindsay.
“We were honored to be asked to chair the Parents’ Fund as we are passionate about Taft and so happy to be able to give back to a school that means so much to our family,” the Messers told the school.
For the past 28 years, parents have shown their generous support of the Parents’ Fund with a participation rate of at least 90 percent.
Before accepting their new roles, Neile and Chad served as members of the Parents’ Committee for two years and spent countless hours volunteering. Chad takes pride in his Taft education and the opportunities it has provided him, and he wants to make sure that stays true for every Taft graduate.
“One of our favorite ways to spend time on campus has been to watch athletic events. We are fortunate to live an hour away from Taft and many of the other Founders League schools. Being on the sidelines is a great place to connect with faculty, classmates, and other parents,” the Messers stated.
“One of our goals as chairs of the Parents’ Fund is to work with Taft to keep parents as engaged as possible.”
We thank the Messers for leading the Parents’ Fund in a year of extraordinary challenges and opportunities.
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 sent to alumni, parents, grandparents, and friends of the school. Questions? Call the Alumni Office at 860.945.7900.
1st-5th Reunion: $250+
6th-10th Reunion: $500+
1890 Society: $1,890—$4,999
Red & Blue Society: $5,000—$9,999
Non ut Sibi Society: $10,000—$24,999
Head of School Society: $25,000—$49,999
Winifred T. Taft Society: $50,000—$99,999
Horace D. Taft Society: $100,000 and above
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