The Spring of 2020 posed unprecedented challenges for Taft, with the campus closing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and instruction very quickly and effectively shifting to a virtual model. The needs of the school changed dramatically, and the full community—alumni, parents, grandparents, faculty, staff, family, and friends— rose to the challenge in every way, including Annual Fund giving. Together, the community raised $5,779,697 during the 2019-20 fiscal year. Of that total, $592,633 was raised for the COVID-19 Financial Impact Fund during
"Annual Fund dollars are used exclusively to support Taft's operating budget," explains Annual Fund Director Kelsey Kerr. "The generosity of our community supports almost everything that keeps Taft running, from salaries and classroom technology to arts and athletics supplies. The COVID-19 Financial Impact Fund is helping Taft cover the unplanned operating expenses that arose as a direct result of the pandemic—things like the infrastructure upgrades and expanded software licenses we needed to support a remote learning model, additional cleaning supplies and protective equipment, and additional aid to Taft students and families who felt the financial impact of COVID-19. The way the full community came together during this very challenging year speaks not only to the depth of the connection that exists throughout the Taft community, but to the value our constituents place on a Taft School education."
Overall, Annual Fund dollars make up close to ten percent of the school's operating budget and touch nearly every component of school life, thereby benefitting each and every Taft student. It is no surprise, then, that Taft parents are pleased and proud to generously support the Annual Fund: for the 28th consecutive year, at least 90% of current Taft parents donated to the Annual Fund.
"Taft parents have always been among the greatest supporters of our school," notes Director of Parent Giving Joyce Romano '92. "This year, parent giving reached $2,656,675 and accounted for 46% of total Annual Fund dollars. It is difficult to measure the impact of such extraordinary generosity, but it can be seen every day in every aspect of school functioning. That was especially true this year as we worked to fully and creatively meet the needs of our school community under exceptionally challenging circumstances."
Alumni giving totaled $2,538,689, during the 2019-20 fiscal year, with 39% of the alumni community coming together to support Taft.
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 emails, phone calls, mailings, and texts, but also through unique initiatives like the Young Alumni Taft-Hotchkiss Participation Challenge and the Show Your Love Day of Giving. Their combined efforts are what keeps the Annual Fund strong.
"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."