WSMS GIVES FUNDRAISING FAQ
What is WSMS Gives?
WSMS fundraising has been consolidated into one campaign, WSMS Gives. WSMS Gives has two fundraising initiatives, (1) the Annual Fund and (2) the Auction.
What are the Annual Fund and Auction?
The Annual Fund provides an opportunity for the WSMS community to come together to support the school and help fill the gap between revenues and operating expenses. The goal of the Annual Fund is 100% parent participation.
The Auction is usually an annual Gala. It is an opportunity for the WSMS community to celebrate together and help raise crucial funds for WSMS Gives. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, in 2020 the Auction took place in April and we could not have a large Gala as in prior years. But nothing stops our WSMS parents and instead parents participated in a highly successful week-long “Magical Spring Event” that included an online auction and an in-person outdoor event. This year we anticipate that the Auction will be similar to last year’s event.
For examples of how these crucial unrestricted funds have been utilized in the past, please see the next FAQ tab “Are there any concrete examples of fundraising dollars being put to use?”
What is the goal of the Annual Fund?
The goal of the Annual Fund is 100% participation by our parent community. 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.
What is the goal of the Auction?
The goal of the Auction is to raise funds for WSMS Gives by bringing the parent community together. No auction would be successful without the generous participation of our parent community. We aim to maximize parent participation whether it be through your time, talents or treasures.
If I give to the Auction, does that count towards my Annual Fund participation?
No, only gifts to the Annual Fund count towards our goal of 100% participation.
Are there any concrete examples of fundraising dollars being put to use?
- More than $1.2 million in financial aid is awarded to WSMS families annually, so that between 20-25% of families have financial assistance.
- Hiring Martha Haakmat, an expert consultant and educator, to a multi-year Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) initiative to engage WSMS parents, teachers, administrators and board members in the important work of advancing equity in early childhood education.
- $12,000 of books purchased annually (ongoing).
- Annual stipends to teachers who are working towards a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education (ongoing).
- Installation of MERV rated air filters to all classrooms and common areas in 2020.
- Gym conversion into two beautiful classrooms during the 2020-2021 school year.
- The design and installation of a new traverse climbing wall in our gym in 2019.
- Expanding our home to include beautiful renovated classroom space at 302 West 91st Street for our Twos Program in 2018.
- Beginning a scholarship program for WSMS-TEP (West Side Montessori School Teacher Education Program)
- Enhancing parent education with the addition of a monthly speaker series, beginning in 2017.
- Hiring an occupational therapist to work in classrooms with teachers, beginning in 2017*
- Formation of the faculty Diversity Council in 2017, including the hiring of a diversity practitioner.
- Powerful Interactions coaching for teachers with Judy Jablon, beginning 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*.
- New open-ended gym equipment installed 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 WSMS Gives 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.
All contributions to the Annual Fund are fully tax deductible.
Children at WSMS pay substantial tuition to study here. Why does the school need to solicit contributions for WSMS Gives?
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. We also benefit from revenue generated through our Teacher Education Program (TEP). 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 fundraising helps the school to achieve something even greater; tuition is what we ‘have to pay,’ but the fundraising represents what we love to contribute.”
How can I contribute to WSMS Gives Annual Fund?
There are many ways you can make your contribution:
- Credit Cards/ACH Bank Account: Please donate online at wsmsnyc.org/givingform; WSMS utilizes Moonclerk to process credit card payments and Moonclerk & Plaid to process ACH payments via a bank account. Plaid acts as a verification system that Moonclerk uses to streamline the ACH payment process and almost all banks participate.
- Personal Checks: Please make your check payable to “West Side Montessori School” and indicate on the envelope that it is a donation. Send your check by mail or drop it off during dismissal or arrival.
- Pledges for Future Gifts: You may make a pledge for a future donation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 email@example.com if you need assistance.
- 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.
- All contributions are fully tax deductible.
Is there a preferred time to give during the year?
We welcome contributions at any time of the year. However, for planning purposes, it is preferable that we 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.
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.
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
You may make a pledge for a future donation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that all pledges must be completed by June 30 to be included in the Annual Report of Giving for the current year.
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 email@example.com
Grants from Private Foundations
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss this option.
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-presidents at email@example.com .Click here to find out if your employer will match your volunteer hours.