Inside SFS

Advancement Office Announces Mission-Aligned Fundraising and Community Building

Moving Away from the Auction

This semester, the SFS Advancement Office announced its commitment to fundraising and community building in a way that ensures that the community experience aligns with the principles of anti-racism, social justice, inclusion, and belonging. Please read the letter to the community describing the thought and intention behind this shift in the School’s philanthropic program.

February 16, 2022

Mission-Aligned Fundraising and Mission-Aligned Community Building
The San Francisco School is committed to ensuring that our community experience aligns with the principles of anti-racism, social justice, inclusion, and belonging. Since our last Auction for Tuition Assistance two years ago, the Advancement Office and the Board’s Committee on Advancement have been critically re-examining the School’s practices in philanthropy and fundraising. As a result of this reflection, we are announcing some changes to our annual fundraising approach and activities. Though fundraising is necessary for the day-to-day running of the school as well as meeting strategic goals, we aim to ensure that our fundraising is mission-aligned and events are inclusive experiences for all members of our community.

As with all change, this means saying goodbye to some traditions while we create new ones. Of course, change is both exciting and hard!

Celebrations for All
The SFS Advancement Office is pleased to announce that the School will host a free spring gathering for community members to attend in lieu of the Auction for Tuition Assistance. We look forward to a fun, inclusive opportunity to meet, socialize, and celebrate our community.

In this transitional year, we will host a family-friendly, school-wide event on Saturday, April 30 at a neighboring park in partnership with the Family Association. Future events may be occasions for adults only, but this spring we really want to celebrate being able to gather again with all of our families. Please save the date!

Letting Go of the Auction 
We are letting go of the Auction, but not the fun. The Auction has been a longstanding tradition enjoyed by many of our community members. However, an event where the goal of raising as much money as possible has not been inclusive for all and uncomfortable for some bidders and non-bidders alike.

We have imagined a way to continue the tradition of small gatherings hosted by community members for community members that will strengthen relationships and facilitate cross-grade socializing such as progressive dinners, group activities, and cultural celebrations. SFS will facilitate opportunities for families to share their talents, skills, and hospitality in a way that is accessible to all, beginning in the 2022-23 school year.

Funding Indexed Tuition
In the past, the profits from the Auction were specifically used to fund the Indexed Tuition (IT) program. The Board of Trustees and the Committee on Advancement accept the challenge of finding alternate ways to fund the IT program, which is critical to ensuring the socio-economic diversity of our student body and currently helps more than a quarter of SFS families meet the cost of tuition.

Philanthropy Benefits Everyone
At SFS, every philanthropic contribution is an investment in our community that benefits every member. Like most independent schools, we rely on gifts to provide revenue beyond tuition to meet our annual budgetary needs. In recent years, donations have funded approximately 7% of our annual budget. In our future fundraising practices, we hope to ask for donations only one time each year, through the Annual Fund campaign. This approach to philanthropy will allow all families to better plan their giving and participate at a level that works best for them.

Without the Auction, we will be hard at work for the remainder of this school year to close the gap to reach our fundraising goal. If you were already planning to donate to the Auction, we would still very much welcome your contribution to Tuition Assistance. We hope you are as excited about this mission-aligned shift in our philanthropic program as we are, and as always, we are grateful for your support.

On behalf of the Advancement Committee,

Jenn Keese-Powell, Director of Advancement
Dave Whitelaw, Advancement Committee Chair
Steve Morris, Head of School

Posted February 16, 2022