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 annual fundraising efforts, which run through June 30th each year, to help us accomplish our goals. In past years, fundraising has fallen into two buckets: the WSMS Annual Fund, and the Auction event. For the 2020-2021 school year, we have consolidated fundraising efforts under one theme, “WSMS Gives,” a reflection of the generosity of our community.
WSMS, like all non-profit independent schools, depends on a combination of tuition revenue, grants, interest income on reserve funds, and charitable gifts to support our ongoing operations and our priorities. WSMS Gives helps to close the gap between tuition revenue and the operating expenses the school incurs annually.
Proceeds from WSMS Gives will help to provide tuition assistance to nearly 40 families (between 20% and 25% of families), and empower WSMS to maintain the diversity and cultural dynamics of the community that we love and value through the DEI — Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion — initiative. This is a multi-year initiative for the entire community (teachers, admin, board, parents) to take a keen look at, and implement improvements in, our programs: teacher development, TEP (Teacher Education Program) scholarships, classroom materials, and experiences. We want to ensure that we are reducing bias and prejudice in our society and our community.
These contributions also 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 construction of the Twos program, modernization of our library catalog, and the speaker series are but a few examples of these dollars being put to work. (See the FAQs below for a more exhaustive list.) 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.”
Additionally, in celebration of our 50th anniversary in 2013, 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.
WSMS GIVES: GIVING AT WEST SIDE MONTESSORI SCHOOL
WSMS Gives encompasses all of the school’s fundraising efforts. All contributions are utilized immediately to support the WSMS Financial Aid Program, or to ensure significant improvements to the school’s programming, such as implementation of our DEI — Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion — initiatives. Funds also support facility upgrades, as well as help to achieve a balanced budget for the year. Read on below for a detailed list! All contributions are fully tax deductible.
What are the goals of WSMS Gives?
Our goals are twofold:
$650,000 in funds raised
100% participation by the entire WSMS community
What happened to the WSMS Annual Fund and Auction?
For 2020-2021, fundraising has been consolidated into one campaign, WSMS Gives. Funds raised through this campaign will support both the WSMS Financial Aid Program, and DEI — Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion — initiatives, in addition to program enhancements, professional development, and facility upgrades.
Are there any concrete examples of the fundraising dollars being put to use?
More than $1.2 million in financial aid awarded to WSMS families annually, so that that between 20-25% of families have financial assistance.
Hiring Martha Haakmat, an expert consultant and educator, to engage WSMS parents, teachers, administrators and board members in the important work of advancing equity in early childhood education.
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.
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.
$10,000 of books purchased annually (ongoing).
Annual stipends to teachers who are working towards a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education (ongoing).
*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.
Why is 100% participation the goal of WSMS Gives?
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 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. 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?
There are many ways you can make your contribution:
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.
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.
Does WSMS have an anchor event, like the Auction, to benefit WSMS Gives?
This year Covid-19 restrictions prohibit holding our annual Auction. Historically, the Auction was an opportunity to celebrate our community in an inclusive, joyful evening, while the proceeds supported the Financial Aid Fund .
Is there a preferred time to give to 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 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
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
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.