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Westerly Annual Fund Frequently Asked Questions

The Annual Fund is your annual opportunity to give back to Westerly School with a tax-deductible gift that keeps our wonderful programs running. Tuition alone does not cover the cost of providing our students with the outstanding programs, faculty and curriculum that Westerly is committed to offering. And while public schools are eligible to receive state and federal funding, Westerly – as an independent school – is not. As such, Westerly must raise the difference through the Annual Fund and the Annual Auction.

The Annual Fund supports our expanding programs in academics, athletics and the arts. It also allows Westerly to recruit and retain the best faculty and provide professional development opportunities for teachers, and facilities enhancements. Funds raised from the Annual Fund are distributed in the year in which they are given, so they support those programs in “real time” for every current child at the school.

Tuition covers about 70 percent of the school budget. Annual giving contributes a critically needed portion of the remainder. A 30 percent increase in tuition (the difference between tuition and actual costs) would seriously limit the number of qualified and deserving students who could afford to attend our school. Although tuition increases do occur, they do not equate to increases in the cost of doing business. And, unlike tuition, Annual Fund contributions are 100 percent tax deductible.

The goal for the Annual Fund changes slightly each year depending on the operating budget. Generally, the goal ranges from $150,000 to $170,000.

The success of the Annual Fund relies not just on hitting the financial goal, but also the more ambitious goal of achieving 100% participation.

First and foremost, full participation helps us meet our development goal. But perhaps just as importantly, it allows us to show strong parent support and engagement when we approach outside sources for contributions. Corporate and outside donors invariably want to know if the parents, alumni and grandparents support the school. Participation in the Annual Fund demonstrates to others that we support our mission and goals. Every gift, no matter the amount, is greatly appreciated and important to our success.

The Board of Trustees’ review of the operating expenses indicates that Westerly is already being run as a “lean” organization. We do a great deal with relatively modest resources. Most of the tuition revenue goes towards salaries, benefits, and fixed costs such as utilities and basic maintenance. Since the school’s strength lies in its extensive programs, small class size, and close personal relationships, any reductions would compromise the mission of the school.

Your gift is a direct investment in your child(ren). Because Westerly is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, your gift to the Annual Fund is 100 percent tax deductible. Think of how few opportunities there are to make a charitable gift that directly benefits your own children. You will be able to see the benefits of your gift every day as your child develops and grows.

We ask that you give proportionately, consistently, unconditionally and unselfishly. In the past, individual gifts have ranged from $5 to $15,000. While leadership gifts of $3,500 are crucial to the financial stability of the school, gifts of all sizes make a difference. All gifts send a message to members of the Westerly community and to outside funding sources that those who benefit most from Westerly support it. 

Yes. Gifts commensurate with each family's financial means are welcome and honored.

Yes. There are some options available which are evaluated on a case by case basis. Visit the Advancement Office for specific details.

Yes! A gift or pledge made early in the school year is a great advantage to the school because it allows us to know how much money will be available to support the budget. Because of this, we ask donors to make pledges by December 31. (Gifts may be paid through May 1.) Once you have made your annual gift or pledge, you will not receive another Annual Fund solicitation until the next school year.

You may write a check payable to Westerly School for the entire amount or you may make a pledge to be paid in full by May 1.  You can also make your contribution by MasterCard or Visa or online through Pay Pal here.