Philanthropy + Giving
Philanthropy and Giving
The focus of our development is to build a school dedicated to fully realizing our mission- a school that honors adolescence as a critical developmental window for learning essential academic, cognitive, social, and emotional skills, and a school that creates a thriving environment for students through a challenging, authentic curriculum centered on human ecology and engaging experiences designed specifically to promote self-awareness, community responsibility, and a sense of place.
Our goal is to reinvent education for adolescents in the modern world.
At the same time, we are dedicated to creating a business that is dedicated to achieving the triple bottom line, where success is measured by positive social engagement, by environmental stewardship, and by a solid financial foundation. The basic financial goal of The Sage School is to operate a thriving business that is part of a restorative and regenerative local economy. Our financial plan includes focusing our budget on costs, creating diverse income streams, providing a tuition model that increases accessibility, and developing methods of integrating into the local economy through community assets, multi-use facilities, and robust partnerships.
The Sage School is still young. We are building and developing the strength and value of our programs, while constructing a financial model that is based on diversity and a genuine culture of investment. As investors, we want donors to feel connected to the school’s programs and educational mission, to understand how their contributions impact positive social and environmental action, and to see the growth and development of a thriving business model.
Our current major areas of development are:
The Annual FundThe Annual Fund is an investment in the school’s future. It is also a way to support the school and its programs, an opportunity to build a strong school community, and an important way for the school to pay for the operating expenses not covered by tuition (the so-called “tuition gap”). While there are many ways Sage families can support the school, such as by volunteering their time, by advocating for the school in the greater community, and by helping identify and recruit other interested students and their families, the Annual Fund is designed as a fundraising effort. The purpose of the Annual Fund is to help strengthen the school by supporting everything from the curriculum, to technology, to competitive faculty salaries, to the school’s campus.
Fundraising EventsEvents such as Raffles, Auctions, Dancing with the Stars, Marathons, among others, represent different kinds of fundraising events. Ideally, these events raise money, awareness, and “friends” for the school. As a young school, we are still defining our niche, and looking for events that will represent who we are and what we do, while also generating revenue.
GrantsCompetitive Grants exist for everything from classroom materials, to building facilities, and they range from hundreds of dollars to millions. As a competitive process, grants are hardly considered definite money. Nevertheless, these represent an opportunity for support, and an area we actively research and develop.
Social Enterprise and Philanthropic InvestingSocial enterprise uses a traditional business model to support nonprofit ideals. As an organization, The Sage School is developing ventures that raise money to support our social and environmental mission. The best example of this is the school’s greenhouse. Initially funded by $75,000 worth of grants, the greenhouse generated nearly $60,000 worth of revenue by the end of its fourth year of operation. Initial grants not only supported getting the greenhouse started, but also enabled the school to generate more funds annually. This simple philanthropic investment yields an average yearly return of $15,000. As a small pilot program, the greenhouse demonstrates the ability of a facility to teach, to create profit, and to provide outreach to our community. The school will continue to develop social enterprise and philanthropic investment programs that meet these three criteria: they meet the school’s educational mission, they foster community partnerships, and they generate revenue.
EndowmentEndowments come with more mystery and mystique than almost any other part of the operating budget. Sometimes called “the gift that keeps on giving,” an endowment is both difficult to raise money for, and also the bedrock of an institution. The press around endowments usually focuses on places like Harvard, where the endowment topped $34 billion several years ago. Endowments are basically savings accounts schools cannot touch, which generate about 5% interest a year. They provide ongoing stability, and they are often looked at as funds that require a significant amount of money to generate real budget relief. As with most financial elements, every small source of revenue helps, and over the next couple of years we plan to build an endowment.
The continued support of parents, grandparents, and friends sustains the Sage experience and preserves choice in education within the Wood River Valley. Ultimately, The Sage School represents a blended value investment, which yields living social and environmental returns. With a mission focused on adolescence, with programs dedicated to relevant and meaningful experiences, and with community action and involvement central to our beliefs, The Sage School is designed both to engage students fully in their learning and in their communities, and also to be a model for positive change.
Giving to The Sage School is an investment in our children’s education, and in our social and environmental well-being. No gift is too small, and we appreciate participation at any level.