2013 Annual Fund: Celebrating our Teachers
by Jenny Smith and Robyn Ostrander
2013 Annual Fund co-chairs
With anticipation we reach out today to you, our fellow Hilltop parents. Take a minute from your busy day, take a breath, and think about Hilltop. What does it mean to your child? What amazing futures are unfolding right here?
Hilltop is beautiful, with indoor and outdoor learning environments balanced to provide a practically ideal setting for learning, independent thinking, peer collaboration and social responsibility. But our teachers make it all happen. Their deep knowledge of Montessori methods and materials and their incredible dedication to your child create the growth you see each year, perhaps each day! Look at their commitment: Cheryl, Sarah, Melissa, Ellie, and Mariam: 68 years at Hilltop. Kerstin, Patrick, Connie, Tom, Dan, and Jen: 58 years. Paul, Finn, Nora and Ilene: 34 years. Ben and Jay: 26 years! To our teachers and to their 186 (!) years with Hilltop, we dedicate the 2013 Annual Fund.
2013 Annual Fund: Celebrating our Teachers
The Annual Fund keeps Hilltop more diverse and representative of our community. A Hilltop Montessori education is possible for many of us because the school keeps tuition as low as possible, and an increasing percentage of families rely on financial aid to keep Hilltop within reach. On average, there is a $1,000 gap per child between tuition revenue and actual cost of educating each student. This practice is standard among independent schools: we fundraise to make up the difference. This way, instead of asking you to pay more tuition, you can choose the level of tax-deductible contribution in keeping with your financial situation.
Annual Giving is ultimately a measure of a school’s excellence. Donations of all sizes from every family do more than support education costs. Your gift demonstrates our community’s delight and satisfaction in Hilltop, its mission and values. It also sends this message of inspiration to the philanthropic organizations offering major grants: our school is so beloved and supported by its community that Hilltop simply shines. 100% generous participation makes this possible.
This year, Annual Fund Week starts with a bang! Celebrate with us at the kick-off carnival this Friday. Then, each day next week a Hilltop family will offer a challenge gift to keep us moving toward our $18,000 goal for board, staff and families. By the end of October, we can celebrate having completed this vital and significant annual achievement. Please join us in honoring Hilltop’s teachers by participating in this year’s Annual Fund.
Jenny Smith and Robyn Ostrander
2013 Annual Fund co-chairs
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Annual Fund?
Hilltop Montessori School educates, nurtures and develops critical thinkers and responsibly independent students who soar to great heights as they advance through their academic careers, and into adulthood. None of this would be possible without our Annual Fund, which bolsters every aspect of our program.
Do you expect to raise all your Annual Fund contributions in one week?
No. The Annual Fund campaign runs throughout the year and we ask all of Hilltop’s extended community to help us meet our goal. But Annual Fund week in October is specifically geared toward current parents. It’s part fundraiser, part celebration and we generally raise half of all Annual Fund gifts in one amazing week!
What are Annual Fund contributions used for?
Your gift benefits every student and every classroom. The Annual Fund supports:
● Financial aid – currently 38% of Hilltop families receive assistance
● Salaries and benefits for our exceptional and dedicated teachers
● Music, PE and art enrichment programs, performances and supplies
● Quality learning materials and our inspiring classroom environments
● Field trips and community learning opportunities
● Visiting artists, authors, poets and musicians
● Maintenance of our beautiful 43-acre campus
● Technology, software and computing resources for students and staff
The Annual Fund dollars are a crucial component of the school’s operating budget.
Who gives to the Annual Fund?
Parents, grandparents, faculty, staff, alumni, alumni families, and Board members – in short, all members of the Hilltop community who believe in our mission.
If Hilltop needs more money, why don’t we just raise the tuition?
If tuition were increased to cover the actual cost of our programs, most families could not afford to send their children to Hilltop. By supporting a portion of our operating budget through voluntary contributions, each family can give according to their own financial ability. In addition, Annual Fund gifts are tax deductible while tuition is not.
Why is 100% participation so important?
100% participation by all our families demonstrates the dedication and vitality of the school community, and inspires larger donors and foundations to invest in Hilltop.
How much should I give?
Over the past five years, Annual Fund gifts from current parents have ranged from $5 to $1500, with the average gift being about $285. We respectfully ask every Hilltop family to participate in the Annual Fund Campaign each year at a level that is personally significant.
I volunteer many hours at the school. Does that ‘count,’ or should I also make a donation to the Annual Fund?
Yes, and yes! One of the best features of Hilltop Montessori is our dedicated parent community. We deeply appreciate, and rely upon, your volunteer hours. At the same time, we need all our families to support Hilltop by participating in the Annual Fund.
If I give money to the Annual Fund now, will I be asked to give again?
Hilltop will thank you profusely, and you will not be asked to give to the Annual Fund until next year.
Is a gift to the Annual Fund tax deductible?
Yes! As allowed by the IRS, all charitable gifts are tax-deductible. Hilltop Montessori School is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
Will the amount my family gives be made public?
We publicly acknowledge all our donors in a list of names published in the monthly newsletter and the Annual Report, but we will not share the specific dollar amount of contributions. Your gift may be completely anonymous if you would prefer – just let us know.
Why can’t I earmark my Annual Fund contribution for a specific project?
One of the most valuable aspects of the Annual Fund is its flexibility. Annual Fund contributions, like tuition payments, go into the general operating budget. This system allows us to set budgetary priorities and to react quickly to opportunities and needs as they arise.
I’d like to make a significant one-time gift to Hilltop. How can I do that?
Endowment gifts, financial aid support, and contributions to the Keystone Capital Campaign for the final phase of our campus improvement are different ways to create a lasting legacy at Hilltop. Contact Amelia Farnum or stop by her office to discuss.
I’m ready to make my Annual Fund Contribution. How do I do that?
■ You can make your gift online on our secure website, using a PayPal account or a major credit card.
■ You can mail in a check to: Hilltop Montessori School, 120 Summit Circle, Brattleboro, VT 05301.
■ You can drop off a check at the front desk.
■ You can set up a monthly payment plan, either online or with a pledge card, This is a great way to maximize your gift. For example, one payment of $500 might be out of the question for your family, while 10 payments of $50 may be quite possible.
Will the Annual Fund help renovate the ‘Barn’ and improve the playgrounds and soccer field?
No. Financing for those renovations is part of the current Keystone Capital Campaign. A Capital Campaign is a major one-time fundraising effort spread over 2-3 years to raise significant capital for a special project. In contrast, the Annual Fund is money raised each and every year, to offset the annual expenses of the school. The Annual Fund helps Hilltop survive and thrive while our Capital Campaign helps us grow.
I’d like more information. Can I talk to someone directly?
Yes! Please contact Tamara Mount, Head of School, or Amelia Farnum, Director of Development with any questions. Please stop by, call or email Tamara or Amelia and they will do their best to answer your questions.