In the few short months that Head of School Mr. Mark Turner has been at SMUS, he’s seen firsthand how great an impact the Annual Appeal has on the school. Just days after arriving, he opened the long-anticipated Sun Centre – a construction project funded by donations.
“Many people made generous donations to that project, whatever their circumstances. Some major donors have given hugely generous gifts, but many others with more modest means also contribute to our school and made an impact,” he says. “Every little bit helps. It’s about building a connection with the school, creating a team culture and encouraging a spirit of philanthropy across our whole school community.”
Building new facilities like the Sun Centre is just one of many areas of the school that the Annual Appeal supports. The Annual Appeal touches every student’s life and helps support them in every opportunity. Academics, sports, travel, arts, music and athletics all benefit from contributions to the Annual Appeal.
For donors, Mark says the way to make the largest impact with the Annual Appeal is by supporting the Head of School Initiatives fund. Head of School Initiatives is an area of donation that allows our Head of School, Senior Leadership Team and Board of Governors flexibility to use the money where it’s needed most.
“What we try to do is be balanced across our Junior, Middle and Senior Schools, and respond to what we think is the most urgent need for the students. Having the freedom and flexibility to allocate these funds allows us to do that,” he says.
Mark adds that donations to Head of School Initiatives are particularly meaningful because they send a message of trust that we strive to earn as a school.
“They’re giving us a vote of confidence that the school is providing a good education and they’re grateful for it,” he says. “To make a donation shows us there’s a trust that says, ‘I support the philosophy of this school and what it’s trying to do.’ That’s a tremendously positive message. And for those of us who work hard within the school, I think it makes you step up and work even harder when you know that we have supporters who are that generous and believe in us to make the best choices for their donation.”
Looking forward, St. Michaels University School is on the path to creating a new strategic plan, to be completed in early 2020. Mark says that supporting Head of School Initiatives is the best way to ensure that the strategic priorities we set as a community are met.
“As we begin to develop ambitious targets for our strategic plan, there will be further opportunities to get behind it and support it through the Annual Appeal,” he says. “Looking forward, strategically, there are so many exciting opportunities that, if we have the funds available, I’d love to be able to unlock.”
He hopes that all members of our community recognize the importance of building a culture of philanthropy at the school to support current and future students. It comes back to building a meaningful connection with the school and between all members of our community, Mark says.
“By giving, you are more cemented in your relationships. I know from my own personal giving there is a feel-good factor by knowing that something that you’ve earned and given away is doing good work for other people,” he says. “It’s also important to think about generational equity at a school like ours. When you or your child was at the school the programs and facilities were great, and those were only there because people 10, 20, 30 years ago gave to the school. I think it’s fair to give back so that the next 20, 30, 40, 50 years of students as they come through our school have the same great opportunities.”
Every Student, Every Opportunity
Every day, students are encouraged to explore a vast range of opportunities available to them in arts, athletics, academics, outdoor education, learning and service. We are a community that supports our students in every aspect of their SMUS journey. “Every Student, Every Opportunity” reflects our mission of seeking the excellence in all of us.
Please join us in supporting our Annual Appeal and help us give every student every opportunity to realize their potential today and for years to come.
Donate by December 31 to receive a 2018 charitable tax receipt.