Year in Review

Development & Alumni Relations

By Daniel Jamieson, Associate Headmaster for Development and Alumni Relations

On June 30, we closed the $50 million STRIVE Campaign with a total of $50.9 million—a remarkable achievement—and a fitting climax to Headmaster Wilson’s tenure, which also included the $82 million Centennial Campaign. Annual Giving, at $2.64 million, had another terrific year. The campaign also surpassed its goals for scholarships and faculty salaries—with a cumulative total of $11 million of new endowment. Especially noteworthy was the nearly $2 million raised for a scholarship to honor Vance Wilson. For the year, new gifts and pledges totaled $8.4 million; in addition, we received $2.2 million in pledge payments.

In STRIVE's final year, 2,855 alumni, parents, faculty, parents of alumni, staff, grandparents, and friends contributed $2,639,650 to Annual Giving, surpassing our $2.45 million budget by 8%! This is only the second time in our history that Annual Giving exceeded $2.6 million—a tremendous accomplishment.
Such outstanding results were made possible thanks to the efforts of hundreds of volunteers who, under the leadership of Chair Patrick Bracewell ’98 and Vice Chair Jon Nobil ’02, devoted countless hours to securing the support of friends and peers. Volunteer outreach was particularly important to sustaining our tradition of broad community participation. An impressive 43% of alumni and 94% of current families made gifts in 2017-18, results that once again rank us at the top of peer schools.

Current families, who already do so much for the school, gave $1.3 million to Annual Giving—a 2.4% increase from the previous record-setting year and a new record for total parent contributions. More than one hundred active parent volunteers were critical players in rallying peer support. A special recognition to the Class of 2025 on hitting 100% participation for a second straight year!

We are incredibly grateful to every member of our all-star parent volunteer team. We salute our division chairs, Gabi Koeppel and Aaron Velli for the Upper School, and Richard and Sara Schaberg for the Lower School. Their leadership, especially at year-end, helped to clinch another year of 94% participation. Bravo!
Alumni spanning nine decades, from the Class of 1936 to 2018, contributed a record $1.1 million—sustaining an impressive 43% participation. Securing these superb results was the work of more than volunteers. Whether calling classmates at phonathon events held in October, February, and June, or serving as a class agent or Reunion Committee member, alumni volunteers played an indispensable role.

Alumni celebrating a reunion were, once again, instrumental to our success. This year’s milestone group of classes collectively raised almost 30% more than they had in their last reunion, while garnering 42% participation. The Classes of 1993, 1973 and 1998 led the way, the former for total class dollars raised ($67,000) and the latter two classes for participation (a tie for 56%). Results in this year’s Race for the Cups may be found online. There were noteworthy accomplishments in every reunion class, from the fifth to the seventieth, all of which were made possible because committed alumni leaders worked hard to increase both class participation and total class contributions.

On the personnel front, we welcome Sharon Gibson as our new director of parent annual & leadership giving. Sharon previously held senior fundraising positions at Georgetown University and Sidwell Friends. In addition, kudos to Dave Steadman, who is transitioning from his previous role as executive director of Annual Giving & Alumni Relations, now assumed by Bobby Cpin, to take on the director of major gifts position. Congratulations to all!

In the coming year, we will look to build on the gains made in Annual Giving over the course of the STRIVE Campaign and continue to broaden participation. We do so because the funds raised are fundamental for St. Albans’ operations and because the process of giving back is a connecting and unifying force for generations of Bulldogs.

A strong second year under Alumni Board President Brendan Sullivan ’93 saw the continuing success of three signature events: a well-attended Homecoming (with a tented pre-game lunch for alums on Pilgrim Road), our Alumni Dinner (at which The Hon. James E. “Jeb” Boasberg ’81 informed and entertained the throng) and Reunions 2018—the 13-class collective Reunion Weekend in May (with the Friday evening barbecue held jointly with NCS) and the more intimate 50th Reunion in June, held in conjunction with Commencement.

New events and initiatives are gaining momentum. The Off-The-Close (OTC) Networking series—now in its fourth year—included three additional events: October’s Public Service in President Trump’s Washington, with former White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten ’72 (and held at his Capitol Hill Business Roundtable office), Michael Leiter P ’21 and moderator Teddy Downey ’00; and Privacy in the Age of Facebook, held at the VIRTRU offices of John Ackerly ’93, with Michael Hansen (Upper School Math and Computer Science teacher) and moderator Jon Edwards ’03. A second event was held in New York with entrepreneurs Mike Dee ’09, Ted Sullivan ’95, and Dennis Paul ’91 at Paul’s office. Our fourth pre-Lessons and Carols Alumni Office Open House reception again featured faculty hosts Donna Denizé and Ted Eagles ’54 welcoming alumni and friends; our promotion among alumni of live-streamed varsity soccer, football, lacrosse, and baseball games has generated a great deal of interest, as has social-media sharing of the crew team’s head races and regattas; and lastly, our monthly enewsletters have seen an increase in click rates (1K readers monthly).
As for other established events: the 28th Annual Vernon W. Holleman Jr. ’54 Bulldog Golf Tourney was held on a spectacular October afternoon, with seventy-two avid golfers at a beautiful new location: the Members Club at Four Streams, in Poolesville (generously provided by our Wohlstadter family). Our annual baseball outing to Nationals Park in June again featured a pre-game reception catered by the David Scribner ’86 and his restaurant Surfside. The STA-NCS BOLD Thanksgiving Friday Event—with more than two hundred in attendance—is twenty-five years old and counting.

Headmaster Vance Wilson’s “Thank You Tour” began in October at the Harvard Club of Boston. A commanding view of Boston harbor was a draw, but it was the chance to connect with their headmaster, Mr. Wilson, that brought out a large number of younger alumni. Other events at which the headmaster graciously acted as cohost included a trip to Florida in January, as Dick Bodman ’56 welcomed alumni, former faculty, and friends into his Naples home for lunch, and Zach Shipley ’70 hosted a lunch in Palm Beach; a trip over spring break in March to visit the West Coast (an evening reception in Seattle, with co-hosts Jairus Stratton ’71 and John Siegler ’73; Palo Alto’s Il Fiorno for a seated luncheon; an evening reception at San Francisco’s Olympic Club, with Richard Chow ’79 cohosting; and a Los Angeles-area evening gathering at the Manhattan Beach home of Brent Taylor ’65). A reception at the Yale Club in April concluded the Thank You Tour. (Additionally a grassroots effort by Alex Arensburg ’03 to gather alums for a happy hour garnered substantial interest in Denver last September).

Other areas drawing our attention were our Headmaster’s Counselors, with enthusiastic and tireless leadership under Caton Burwell ’95 and Paul Cromelin ’72. Excellent attendance at the fall meeting (held over Homecoming) reflects the vigor of this important advisory body. At the spring luncheon meeting, Cromelin “retired” and new co-chairs Bob Gabriel ’80 and Doug Selin ’81, joined Burwell in planning a welcome for eighth headmaster Jason Robinson this fall. Our eighth annual Bishop Walker Tournament in December was among our strongest, raising record funds and remarkable goodwill. The Cornerstone Garden also falls under our purview, and we work in conjunction with the Chaplain’s Office to arrange for the interment of St. Albans family and friends in this lovely sanctuary.

The department enjoyed a successful and busy 2017-2018 school year, led by Special Events Manager Kari Wade and Director of Development Operations Catherine Carman. Highlights include our Homecoming Weekend and Reunion Weekend barbecues, numerous regional gatherings to bid farewell to Headmaster Wilson, including New York City, the West Coast, and Florida; several iterations of our Off the Close networking receptions; a series of intimate dinners to introduce incoming Headmaster Jason Robinson and his wife Olinda; and a tented celebration of Vance Wilson’s nineteen year career at St. Albans, with more than eight hundred alumni, parents, current students, and friends. Annual events, such as our early-October Headmaster's Associates Reception, the Parent Dinner in January, the Alumni Meeting and Dinner in March, and April’s Grandparents and Special Friends Day, all saw excellent attendance. Our department also ran a number of small-scale events designed to steward the philanthropy and honor the service of our parents and alumni, as well as to celebrate our faculty.

During fiscal year 2018, Development Information Systems processed and acknowledged 5,587 gifts, pledges, and payments, totaling just over $10.7 million. The department also successfully made the transition of its main database software to a cloud-based solution: the Raiser’s Edge NXT. Front-line fundraisers now have direct access on any device from any location, enabling better stewardship and fundraising through secure, 24/7 access to the data. After more than a decade of exceptional service to St. Albans in Development Information Systems, Amy Aronstamn left to pursue a master of social work degree at the University of Maryland. Fortunately, St. Albans welcomed Preston Meche as the manager of development information systems in July. Preston will take over as the point person for managing donations, data, research, and maintaining all of St. Albans School’s Development Information Systems.

While the “departmental” reports above commend our wonderful—and indispensable—volunteers, we cannot thank them enough. St. Albans alumnus, parent, and Governing Board member Rob Carter ’80 completed his tenth year on the Governing Board, chairing the Development Committee, as well as co-chairing the STR!VE Campaign. Rob’s fellow co-chairs, Gina Coburn P ’21, ’23, Ben Guill ’69, Anne Large P ’16, ’18, and Jun Makihara ’75, P ’13 deserve huge applause for their continued dedicated work—and for leading the campaign past the finish line!

June 30 marked the end of the Annual Giving year, as well as Patrick Bracewell’s second and final year as Annual Giving Chair. We are grateful for his thoughtful leadership and great work alongside the hundreds of other Annual Giving volunteers who helped deliver another terrific year.

Thanks to Alumni Association President Brendan Sullivan ’93, Vice President Carter DeLorme ’88, P ’20, and Secretary Carter Mitchell ’93, P ’27—and to all Alumni Association Board members—for their dedicated help and enthusiasm for alumni events in Washington and around the country.

Paul Cunningham P ’06, ’09, continued his good and patient work on Community Relations, aided by Director of Communications Molly Meinhardt, and Associate Headmaster David Baad ’83.

The Headmaster’s Counselors, co-chaired by Paul Cromelin ’72 and Caton Burwell ’95, convened one of their largest gatherings ever in October of 2017, and met again in May for its final meeting with Headmaster Wilson. This group of leaders from across the country continues to provide invaluable advice on a number of school issues, and we continue to rely on them (working with the Alumni Board) to strengthen connections with alumni nationally and internationally.

As always, the St. Albans community was strengthened immeasurably by a dedicated Parents’ Association, led this year by Chris Grigorian and the executive committee of Krissy Benner, Mary Ruppe Nash, Kim Summerville, and Linda Willard. The Christmas House Tour continues to draw together the St. Albans community while providing invaluable gifts to the School. We were blessed by a great team of co­ chairs: Mary Geffroy, Aimee Irwin, Allison Jackson, Tricia Karppi, Mimi Kneuer, Susan Harreld, Jennie McDonnell, Amy Murphy, Gabi Koeppel, and Cema Siegel. Thanks also to Mae and Ande Grennan, who hosted a wonderful party for the House Tour patrons.
Located in Washington D.C.,  St. Albans School is a private, all boys day and boarding school. For more than a century, St. Albans has offered a distinctive educational experience for young men in grades 4 through 12. While our students reach exceptional academic goals and exhibit first-rate athletic and artistic achievements, as an Episcopal school we place equal emphasis upon moral and spiritual education.