Givers and Investors
By Dr. Summerhill
Do you like it when people ask you for money, or call you on the phone soliciting your support? I don’t. That’s why I always have second thoughts about sending letters like the one coming your way this week. My many years in the school business have taught me this important lesson: people NEVER give their money away, but they will invest it in those causes that resonate with their interests and priorities.
Why do I think people are investors more than givers? Human nature teaches us that people rarely give anything to anyone without expecting something in return. Even birthday and Christmas gifts come with the implied expectation that someone will either thank us or give us a gift of equal or greater value. In the same way, schools don’t give scholarships, even to top athletes. Every college acceptance and financial award is an investment, not a gift. Schools make their scholarship offers with the expectation that these promising high school grads will become successful students who turn into generous alums. And every athletic scholarship is an investment given in the hope that it will bring victories and championships which, in turn, will generate alumni support and media mega-contracts.
So when I ask you to join me and the members of our Board and faculty in giving to our school through our 20th anniversary Annual Fund, I am not playing upon your benevolent spirit to give us a gift. I am, instead, counting on how much you value what Ascension Academy has meant to you and your child, and how much you would like to see other families, and other children, benefit from Ascension too.
The plain fact is Ascension is a non-profit, charitable organization. We receive no tax revenues nor government support as do public schools. Every dollar spent in our budget goes to the education of our children. There is no profit sharing nor end-of-the-year bonuses. Our tuition is set by local market realities, not by our actual costs, which this year run just over $14,000 per child. That means tuition covers roughly 60% of our needs, the rest coming from fundraising events and from those, like you, who love and support our school.
Every dollar we receive is, therefore, an investment in the worth, importance and future vitality of the school. And what does that investment make possible? Faculty salaries, teaching resources, sports equipment, instruments and music, insurances, utilities, vehicles—in short, everything that keeps our doors open and makes Ascension so distinctively good and worthwhile.
When you get my letter this week please know how much I am counting on you to help underwrite the people and programs of this remarkable school, not as a gift, but as an investment in the life-changing opportunity that is, Ascension Academy.