The Renewal of Education Fund
Why an endowment?
Aurora Waldorf School’s Renewal of Education Fund exists to honor the legacy of our school founders by supporting generations of students to come by providing a long-term source of funding.
Endowments are permanent funds in which the principal is held in perpetuity and a portion of the investment income is expended annually (normally 3-5%). Like other independent schools, we rely on donations in addition to tuition to secure our financial operations.
Donors consist of alum, parents, grandparents and friends who have made a commitment to a Waldorf Education through direct and deferred giving. Planned giving options include bequests, insurance policies, charitable lead trusts, charitable remainder trusts, charitable gift annuities and beneficiary designations.
One of Aurora Waldorf School’s four strategic pillars focuses on financial sustainability and exploring alternative funding. Our budget relies heavily on tuition and various fundraisers, including an annual giving fund, auction, raffle, etc.; this income typically covers operating expenses. An endowment - where we invest the funds and only use the income generated - is a permanent, self-sustaining pool of money that provides a steady and secure source of revenue and a cushion in case of unexpected need. An endowment fund ensures the school’s viability for the future.
Who would contribute?
Supporters (alums, alum parents, trustees, former trustees, former teachers, members of the community who value Waldorf education) who wish to help ensure the long-term viability of AWS. We prioritize foundations that support independent education, particularly where underserved students. These donors appreciate the enduring quality of an endowment, the gift that keeps on giving! There is also a significant tax benefit to donors: those who have to take a distribution from a retirement account, for example, or who wish to donate shares of stock.
Why don’t these donors give to the Annual Giving Fund?
Some prospective donors have stated that they would prefer to support a particular aspect of the school rather than contribute to general operating expenses, which is where all annual giving fund proceeds go.
How would the endowment income be used?
- Financial support for teachers and staff (boosting current below-market salaries), continuing education, and bonuses
- Building and grounds upkeep (roof, boilers, and windows are 60 years old; building requires ongoing maintenance and eventually replacement expenditures)
- Student scholarships (providing this education for those who otherwise couldn’t afford it has been a priority since the school’s founding), Linda Hoeg Memorial Scholarship for BIPOC students
What is the Endowment Campaign’s Goal?
It is currently under consideration, possibly between $1 and 2 million. At a 5% annual return, one million would make $50,000 available yearly.
Recognition and Stewardship
The AWS Endowment Team is considering the recognition of donors in multiple ways, including naming opportunities for school areas or programs, donor recognition plaques in the school lobby, and acknowledgment in school newsletters. Also in consideration is a donor recognition lunch or other event featuring student work.
"“One of the biggest benefits from Waldorf background is you’re going to get kids that are more independent minded, think independently and take initiative on their won. A lot of my Waldorf friends have some sort of small business…anyone would love to have a self-starter, creative thinker working for them."
– Peter Mandych, AWS Alum, Entrepreneur, owner of Country Mile Vermont