The Impact of Your Support

FAQ

QUESTION

Why does the school ask for money every year when parents pay tuition?

ANSWER

As with most independent schools, tuition only covers 84% of the actual cost of an SPSG education. Income from the Annual Fund, the endowment and other sources covers the difference. Each year, these funds are contributed by alumnae, current parents, parents of alumnae, grandparents, trustees, faculty, friends, foundations and corporations.

QUESTION

Instead of fundraising, why not increase tuition to cover the gap?

ANSWER

St. Paul’s School for Girls is committed to affordability and socioeconomic diversity, and we strive to keep tuition within reach for as many families as possible. Tuition is maintained at levels that are competitive and, at the same time, allow us to attract and retain a wide range of students regardless of family finances. Raising tuition to cover the full cost of an SPSG education would prohibit many families from sending their daughters to SPSG.

QUESTION

Are contributions to the Annual Fund considered charitable donations?

ANSWER

Yes, contributions to the Annual Fund and the endowment are considered charitable donations and are tax-deductible according to IRS guidelines.

QUESTION

What does the Annual Fund pay for?

ANSWER

The Annual Fund provides essential operating support for all areas of the budget, including athletics, arts and theater, chaplaincy and outreach, choral and dance, faculty professional development, financial aid, and technology. Depending on the needs of the school, the money may be used to attract and retain the best faculty with competitive compensation and benefits; fund new supplies, uniforms, and other budgeted programmatic enhancements; purchase computers and other emerging technologies that enhance instruction and learning; strengthen extracurricular programs such as community service, cultural events and field trips; provide additional financial aid funds to assist the school in retaining a qualified and diverse student-body; and maintain the campus.

QUESTION

Does the Annual Fund directly impact students?

ANSWER

Yes. The Annual Fund directly benefits each student by supporting every educational and extracurricular, program the school offers, creating the margin of excellence expected and required by the SPSG community.

QUESTION

Instead of asking parents and alumnae for support, could SPSG ask outside funders to close the gap between tuition and actual expenditures?

ANSWER

Many outside donors make significant contributions to SPSG each year. In fact, giving from foundations and corporations represented more than 21% of contributions to the 2012-2013 Annual Fund. The remaining 79% of funds raised came from alumnae, current parents, parents of alumnae, grandparents, trustees, faculty, and friends of the school. SPSG cannot expect to cover all operating costs through outside funding as it is important that we demonstrate diversity in our funding sources, as well as a commitment within the SPSG community to the success of our students and our school.

QUESTION

Why is it important for parents and alumnae to participate in the Annual Fund?

ANSWER

When we apply for grants and talk to leadership donors, one of the first questions asked is, “Do parents and alumnae support the school?” High levels of participation demonstrate our community's commitment to the school, and prospective funders view this as an indicator of success.

QUESTION

Aren’t the only gifts that matter big gifts?

ANSWER

No. Each year, the majority of philanthropic gifts received by SPSG are for amounts less than $500. In fact, in 2012-2013, more than 600 supporters gave less than $500. It is true that leadership gifts are critical to the school and account for the majority of funds raised, but participation at every level is equally important. Foundations and leadership donors often ask about participation percentages before committing to a large gift. Not being able to show community-wide philanthropic support jeopardizes SPSG’s ability to secure larger gifts. This is why every gift counts!

QUESTION

If I give to an endowed fund, a named scholarship fund, or a special award fund, haven’t I given to the Annual Fund?

ANSWER

No. Endowed funds, scholarship funds, and other named funds do not support the school’s annual operating budget and therefore are not counted in the Annual Fund. While SPSG needs and appreciates contributions to the named funds that make up our endowment, including funded awards given on Class Day, it is important to support the Annual Fund as well. For this reason, some donors choose to divide their annual philanthropic support between a special endowed fund and the Annual Fund. Gifts to the Annual Fund may be designated for unrestricted use or to support athletics, arts and theater programs, chaplaincy and outreach, choral and dance programs, faculty enrichment, financial aid or technology.

QUESTION

Isn’t it true that independent schools have big endowments, so if I don’t give to the Annual Fund SPSG will make up for it that way?

ANSWER

In part because SPSG is a young school, we have by far the smallest endowment in our peer group of Baltimore independent schools. At SPSG, the annual interest from the endowment does not meet the nationally recommended level per student, and it is certainly not sufficient to fund the gap between tuition income and the school’s annual operating cost. As a result, support of the Annual Fund is key.