Dear St. Michael’s Parents and Families—
It is so good to be back at St. Michael’s after a restful week away. I hope and trust that all of you enjoyed some time together with your family, resting and recharging for the second half of this first trimester. For me and my family, our four-day junket to Flagstaff was a blast. Alison and I and our kids are appreciating more and more with each passing month the treasures and wonders of the Grand Canyon State, our new home. Thank you to all of you who continue to suggest these wonderful places in Arizona (and beyond) to visit.
Tomorrow, October 18th, is Grandparents’ and Grand-Friends’ Day, beginning at 7:30 am for registration in front of church, followed by a short welcome and presentation in the Student Center, and some time with students and teachers in the respective courtyards and classrooms. We look forward to welcoming our grandparents and grand-friends on Friday!
And thank you to those families who were able to attend our New Family Welcome reception the week before break. We are very happy to welcome nearly fifty new students (and close to 40 new families) this year. We give special thanks to those families who are serving, under a new initiative this year, as parent ambassadors for our new families. Dr. Matt Teller, Director of Admissions and Enrollment, and I look forward to finding time with each new family this year, beginning in January, after the Christmas and New Year break. . We want to hear about your St. Michael’s experiences these first six months!
We will be launching very soon, before the end of October, our 2019-2020 Annual Fund campaign (aka The Halo Fund). The Annual Fund (AF) helps generate revenue beyond tuition dollars to meet our annual budgeted FY 2020 needs. I and our Board of Trustees welcome gifts of any size. Last year, the St. Michael’s School community raised close to $120,000 for the Annual Fund, a (new) high mark for our wonderful school. My hope, my goal, my vision for the AF this year is to exceed our benchmark from last year, with the equally important goal of raising the number of gifts over last year.
For the 2018-2019 fiscal year, through June 30, 2019, we had 100% giving from our Board of Trustees; better than 80% from faculty and staff; and close to 60% for families.
Why are the percentages of constituent-group giving so important? Largely because it is a point of pride for our school community to say that we had (as the ideal) 100% giving from all groups—faculty, trustees, and parents. More importantly, however, high percentages of giving within the SMS community reflect very well on us in the eyes of other potential benefactors.
Foundations, especially, will typically require applicants to report those numbers: How many of your teachers give to the Annual Fund? How many families? What about your Board of Trustees? They want to see commitment, buy-in, and broad support at the local level. This is my goal as well: getting our number of Annual Fund gifts up this year, regardless of the size of the gift, as close to 100% for families as we can. If you have any questions about a gift you might be considering, I am more than happy to find time to meet and chat.
With regard to giving and capital gifts, I am very happy to report that a foundation with close ties to St. Michael’s recently pledged the remaining $100,000 needed to complete our Lower School (West Wing) remodel, addition, and air-conditioning project, to begin in December. This is such welcomed news for all of us. A representative from our contractor of record, Cobre Systems, will also attend our Board of Trustees meeting next week to present a broad scope of the work (and cost) to install air-conditioning for the remainder of the campus, including our Student Center. I will provide updates as we move ahead in this process.
As a final note, and one connected directly to our kickoff for the Annual Fund campaign, I am happy to report that we are in the final stages of confirming and announcing the appointment of our new director of philanthropy, after three months of diligent work searching for and interviewing excellent candidates for the position. I look forward to sharing that news with you next week.
In the meantime, you are always welcome to stop and say hello in the mornings and afternoons at drop-off and pick-up, or to arrange time to meet and chat with me, at your convenience, about any questions, concerns, or suggestions you might have.
Thank you, and I look forward to seeing you on campus!
Head of School