Giving to Independent Schools
A Guide for Giving
For more than 27 years Seacrest Country Day School has enjoyed an environment rich with joy, academics, and educators who lead our students through challenges, all the while letting them know it is okay to fail and to try again. As educators we teach children to hold on to their dreams. How? We push them to dream and to reach for goals. We push them to test limits, seek answers, and think creatively. In doing so, they discover they can suggest solutions and solve problems. Each family at Seacrest Country Day School plays an active role in the school community. Parents share the responsibilities of meeting our goals, both educationally as well as financially. Independent schools such as Seacrest operate differently from public schools. This information will help introduce you to some of the inherent differences and the particular responsibilities of independent school parents.
Q: Why is Seacrest called a private school?
Seacrest, a non-profit organization, designs its own programs and curriculum and operates without the financial support from local or federal taxes. Independent schools rely on tuition, annual funding, and other fundraising activities to survive. Seacrest Country Day School is governed by a Board of Trustees and is independent from the local school board.
Q: Independent schools are expensive. Why must money be raised every year in addition to tuition?
Like most independent schools, Seacrest charges tuition that covers only a portion of the costs of educating each student. Seacrest relies on the Annual Fund to help bridge the gap between tuition and operating expenses. If tuition and fees were raised to cover the gap, it would create a financial hardship for many of our families therefore affecting the economic diversity that we value. Our operating budget's main expenses include faculty salaries and benefits, educational materials, and maintenance.
Q: What is the Annual Appeal?
The Annual Fund is a tax-deductible opportunity for parents, faculty, staff, alumni, and grandparents to support teaching and learning; what goes on in the classroom each and everyday. Each year a Seacrest family takes a leadership role and asks the entire Seacrest community each fall to meet the Annual Fund Giving goals and 100% participation.
Q: How much should I give?
We hope that parents will make Seacrest Country Day School their highest philanthropic priority while their children are students here. Annual Fund gifts range from $5 to $5,000 or more. We ask that each family give as generously as possible within their means. Seacrest needs and appreciates gifts of every size.
Q: What is a matching gift?
Matching gifts are often available through your employer's matching gift program. Please ask your human resources office if your employer has this program.
Q: What is a stock gift?
Gifts of common stock are often donated at calendar year-end, allowing the donor to receive the fair market value of appreciated securities at the time the gift is made while avoiding capital gains tax in the appreciated value of the stock.
Q: What is capital campaign giving?
Periodically the Head of School and the Board of Trustees identify building projects, which require large sums of money for building and capital improvements. In 2004 the Board of Trustees approved a capital campaign and fundraising program, Opening New Windows, which requires $30 million dollars for the construction of the new Seacrest High School, several athletic fields, plus an outdoor learning laboratory and art studios.
Q: How is that different from annual giving?
The Annual Fund is used for the annual expenses of the operating budget. Capital giving is for building. Annual funds help us live. Capital funds help us grow.
Q: What is planned giving?
Strictly speaking, every gift to Seacrest Country Day School is a planned gift. That means that significant thought and consideration is given by the donor to make a contribution that is meaningful to him or her and the school. The term planned giving is defined to mean a major gift that benefits the school over a longer period of time.
Q: What are examples of planned giving?
A planned gift can be a bequest for Seacrest in your will. There are trusts, and gifts of life insurance, retirement plan assets or property. For example a donor might structure a gift that would provide life income, avoid capital gains tax, and pass assets to Seacrest substantially free of taxes.
Q: How does Gala for Treasures help the School?
Seacrest's financial aid program has been supported by Gala for Treasures since 1987. Over the past 18 years, the Gala has raised more than $7.5 million in scholarship funds to benefit academically and motivated children. 30% of our students receive some amount of need-based aid and everyone benefits from the success of this event.
Q: What is an endowment?
Endowment funds are similar to a savings account or other financial assets which generate interest on the principal. Ideally, income from a growing endowment assists the operating budget however; Seacrest's Teaching Endowment helps fund the faculty's desire to enhance the classroom in some way or to further their own education.
The responsibility for the success of these programs and continuing Seacrest's legacy is in the hands of everyone who has benefited from Seacrest's presence in our community. Our ability to serve this community and the educational needs of its children relies on you and your ability to give. Each and every gift is cherished by Seacrest and reminds us all that what matters is not the size of the gift but the spirit in which it is given.
For more information, please contact Karl M. Salathé, Director of Institutional Advancement, KSalathé@seacrest.org .
Remember to consult your attorney or financial advisor before making a decision on making a major gift.