OVERVIEW OF GIVING

At West Side Montessori School, a deep wellspring of generosity of spirit has sustained us from our earliest beginnings and enriches us to this day. We have a long tradition of counting on our community, including current families, alumni and alumni families, grandparents, and friends. WSMS relies on two annual fundraising efforts to help us accomplish our goals: the Annual Fund, which runs through June 30th each year, and the winter Auction event.

Contributions to the Annual Fund provide crucial unrestricted support that can be used to finance such priorities as program enhancements, teacher salaries and professional development, and facility upkeep and improvement.

The Auction event, hosted to benefit the WSMS Financial Aid Program, harnesses the collaborative power and generosity of our community. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the Auction help to provide tuition assistance to nearly 40 families, and empower WSMS to maintain the diversity and cultural dynamics of the community that we love and value.

In celebration of our 50th anniversary, the WSMS Board of Trustees designated an endowed fund of $1,000,000 named the Founders Fund for Financial Aid. In honor of the five founding families, this fund ensures that WSMS will continue to provide one out of every five students with financial assistance in order to continue the economic, social, and cultural diversity that is key to the school’s mission.

THE WEST SIDE MONTESSORI SCHOOL ANNUAL FUND

The Annual Fund is the foundation of the school’s fundraising efforts. All contributions are utilized immediately to ensure significant improvements to the school’s programming and facilities, as well as to achieve a balanced budget for the year. All contributions to the Annual Fund are fully tax deductible.

ANNUAL FUND FAQ

What are the goals of the WSMS Annual Fund?

Our goals are twofold:

  • $300,000 in funds raised
  • 100% participation by the entire WSMS community

Are there any concrete examples of the Annual Fund dollars being put to use?

  • the comprehensive renovation of the gym in 2015
  • hiring an expert on Dual Language Learners in 2015 who is working with teachers to enhance their support of children whose family language is other than English*
  • the Kindness Curriculum that was designed and launched by former WSMS teacher Cara Zelas in 2015*
  • a series of workshops in partnership with the Network for Schools that Heal that teachers attended in 2014*
  • hiring a nutritionist who created healthy snack and meal options for WSMS children in 2013*
  • the creation of our new Parents Room/Library in 2011
  • the installation of new Snug Play equipment in our rooftop play space in 2011
  • the creation of a faculty incentive program for excellence in teaching in 2011
  • hiring a music specialist working with teachers to expand their repertoires in 2010*
  • the “green” renovation of our eight classrooms and our kitchen in 2009

*As a result of the Annual Fund-supported Visiting Scholar Program that was launched in 2009

Is there a minimum dollar amount that I am required to give?

There is no minimum contribution that is required from anyone. In fact, the motto of the Annual Fund is Give from the Heart, Give What You Can. The warmth and generosity of the WSMS community is a defining characteristic of our school. We are profoundly grateful for the wellspring of support we have received from our current and alumni families, grandparents, friends, trustees, faculty, and staff. Whatever form this support takes—monetary donations, gifts in kind, contributions of time and talent—each gift, each donor, and each volunteer is vital in helping us to sustain and enhance the exceptional level of education that we offer our students.

Why is 100% participation a key goal for the Annual Fund?

Participation is an important measure of the strength of the school community. It is an indication that we as a group are committed to building a strong and healthy future for the school. Achieving as high a participation percentage as we possibly can builds a strong culture of giving in which everyone shares in the satisfaction of supporting the whole. It also sends a powerful and positive message to prospective families and potential donors that our mission is compelling and worthy of their support. Relying on just a few donors who give large dollar amounts while the remaining families do not participate is neither consistent with the spirit of the school nor is it a sustainable strategy.

Children at WSMS pay substantial tuition to study here. Why does the school still need to solicit contributions for the Annual Fund?

Like all non-profit independent schools, we depend on a combination of tuition revenue, interest income on reserve funds, and charitable gifts from parents, alumni, and friends to support our ongoing operations and our priorities. None of these sources alone would be sufficient to deliver the quality of early childhood education that WSMS is known for while also ensuring the longer-term stability of the school as an institution.

A WSMS parent put it well by saying, “The tuition makes the school as good as it has been, while the fund helps the school to achieve something even greater; tuition is what we ‘have to pay’, but the Fund represents what we love to contribute.”

What is the difference between the Annual Fund, the Financial Aid Program, and the Auction?

  • Contributions to the Annual Fund are utilized for improvements to, and maintenance of, the physical space that our children come to every day. Among other things, it is also used to attract and retain our excellent faculty with competitive compensation and benefits and provide it with exceptional professional development opportunities that enhance the teaching practice at WSMS. If needed, some funds may even be used to provide financial aid to deserving families. Most importantly, the Annual Fund ensures that WSMS has healthy financial reserves to deal with any unforeseen negative events.
  • The Auction is the anchor event to benefit the Financial Aid Program only. Contributions to the Financial Aid Program are distributed exclusively to provide support to families who may need it and are not used for any other purpose.

What about the money that is raised at the Fall Festival – does that count towards the Annual Fund?

No. The Fall Festival is the first major community-building event held at WSMS. It is a ‘friend-raiser’ instead of a fund-raiser. In fact, after deducting all the costs of putting up what is always a really fun time for the whole family, the Fall Festival barely breaks even each year.

How can I give to the Annual Fund?

Please visit wsmsnyc.org/home/Giving/How-to-Make-a-Gift for details on the many ways in which you can give. In the meantime, here is a short primer on giving:

  • Credit Cards/Personal Checks/Pledges for Future Gifts: Please donate online at wsmsnyc.org/givingform or fill out a donation form available at the front desk.
  • Securities: Please contact seson@wsmsnyc.org.
  • Corporate Matching Program: Many employers will match monetary contributions made by their employees to eligible non-profit organizations. WSMS is one of those organizations. In order to find out whether your employer has such a matching program in place, please visit matchinggifts.com/wsmsnyc.org.

Does WSMS have an anchor event, like the Auction, to benefit the Annual Fund? Is there a preferred time to give to the Annual Fund during the year?

No. We welcome contributions at any time of the year. However, for planning purposes it is preferable that the Annual Fund receive funds as early in the school year as possible. It is also important to note that the fiscal year end (as well as the school year-end) at WSMS is June 30th, not December 31st.

  • Providing guitar lessons for teachers to expand their repertoires in 2016

  • The comprehensive renovation of the gym in 2015

  • Hiring an expert on Dual Language Learners in 2015 who is working with teachers to enhance their support of children whose family language is other than English

  • The Kindness Curriculum that was designed and launched by former WSMS teacher Cara Zelas in 2015

  • A series of workshops in partnership with the Network for Schools that Heal that teachers attended in 2014

  • Hiring a nutritionist who created healthy snack and meal options for WSMS children in 2013

  • The creation of our new Parents Room/Library in 2011

  • The installation of new Snug Play equipment in our rooftop play space in 2011

  • The creation of a faculty incentive program for excellence in teaching in 2011

  • The “green” renovation of our eight classrooms and our kitchen in 2009

THE FOUNDERS FUND FOR FINANCIAL AID

Inspired by the outpouring of generosity on the part of the WSMS community in celebration of our 50th anniversary, the West Side Montessori School Board of Trustees established our first-ever endowed fund with an initial allocation of $1,000,000 from 50th anniversary fundraising and reserve funds. The endowment was named the Founders Fund for Financial Aid in honor of the five founding families who made economic, social, and cultural diversity a key element in the school’s mission. Since our inception in 1963, WSMS has provided one out of every five students with financial assistance.

MATCHING GIFTS

Many employers sponsor matching gift programs and will match any charitable contributions or volunteer hours made by their employees. Click below to find out if your company has a matching gift program

MORE WAYS TO GIVE

Pledges

You may make a pledge for a future donation by clicking here. Please note that all pledges must be completed by June 30 to be included in the Annual Report of Giving for the current year.

Gifts of Securities

Please click here for specific instructions and consult your tax advisor for information about potential tax advantages to you. Contact seson@wsmsnyc.org if you need assistance.

Planned Giving

With planned giving, you can play a vital and lasting role in the future of our school while improving your own financial and tax situation. Planned gifts are a viable and attractive option for everyone because, depending on how your gift is structured, it can mean no cost to you during your lifetime, or guaranteed lifetime income for you, as well as long-term support for WSMS. In other words, planned gifts make it possible for you to give to WSMS without affecting your current cash flow and financial planning.

Individuals may make a planned gift to WSMS through bequests, retirement plans, charitable trusts, life insurance, real estate, or other means, all of which carry tax benefits to you. Your support will ensure the unparalleled education WSMS offers for future generations.

We are happy to explain the many options available to you and to work with you to develop a strategy for planned giving. Please contact annualfund@wsmsnyc.org

Grants from Private Foundations

Please contact annualfund@wsmsnyc.org to discuss this option.

Volunteer

We are in awe of the amount of time, talent, and goodwill bestowed so freely by our parent community. The PA co-presidents set the tone by assembling an energetic, creative, and hardworking group of committee chairs and class representatives. To inquire about volunteering, please email the PA co-chairs. Click here to find out if your employer will match your volunteer hours.

CONTACT

Please contact us with any questions you may have about ways to support West Side Montessori School. We are deeply grateful for your continuing generosity.

Annual Fund, annualfund@wsmsnyc.org
Sarah Eson, seson@wsmsnyc.org

West Side Montessori School
309 West 92nd Street
New York, NY 10025
212-662-8000