By Daniel Jamieson, Associate Headmaster for Development and Alumni Relations
Led by Annual Giving—which set a record for a fourth consecutive year—the $50 million STRIVE Campaign made excellent progress this past year. At the June 30 fiscal year end, STRIVE totaled $43.4 million. Aided by a Governing Board Challenge Fund and a wonderful response from parents and alumni, we completed—and exceeded—our $20 million goal for the athletic fields. We also made progress towards our endowment goals, highlighted by a new Chair in Chaplaincy and Religious Studies, along with new funds for scholarships and faculty support. For the year, new gifts and pledges totaled $8.8 million; in addition, we received $3.9 million in pledge payments.
In STRIVE’s penultimate year, 2,904 alumni, parents, faculty, parents of alumni, staff, grandparents, and friends contributed $2,763,807 to Annual Giving, surpassing our $2.4 million budget by 15% and setting an all-time single-year record for total donors and total dollars.
Such outstanding results were made possible thanks to the efforts of hundreds of volunteers who, under the first-year leadership of Annual Giving Chair Patrick Bracewell ’98, 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 44% of alumni and 95% of current families made gifts in 2016-17, results that once again rank us at the top of peer schools.
Nearly a third of this year’s donors (31%) participated in the final six weeks of the fiscal year (May 16-June 30) as part of our Because of St. Albans giving initiative, sponsored by a generous anonymous alumnus. In all, 890 donor contributed during this opportunity, which set a record for fiscal year-end philanthropy and helped to activate $50,000 in challenge funds.
Current families, who already do so much for the school, gave $1.28 million to Annual Giving—a 7% increase from the previous year and a new record for total parent contributions. One hundred twelve active parent volunteers—from 14% of current families—were critical players in rallying peer support. Congratulations to the Class of 2019 for once again taking top Upper School honors by achieving 100% participation. Two Lower School classes (2024 and 2025) attained 100% as well. Kudos to the Class of 2025 on hitting this impressive mark and sustaining the 100% C Form tradition!
We are incredibly grateful to every member of our all-star parent volunteer team. As we say farewell to our “graduating” Form VI volunteers, we salute our outgoing Division Chairs, Catherine and Teddy Kaplan ’92 for the Lower School and Allan and Vivian Moore for the Upper School. Their leadership, especially at year-end, helped to clinch another year of 95% participation. Bravo!
For the first time in Annual Giving history, alumni contributions surpassed those from current families. Alumni spanning nine decades, from the Class of 1936 to the Class of 2017, contributed a record $1.3 million—an incredible 23% increase from last year. And a record number of alumni donors (1,882 to be precise) helped increase participation to 44%. Securing these superb results was the work of 200-plus volunteers. Their efforts helped set a new paradigm and raised the average gift to a record $689. Whether calling classmates at phonathons 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 garnered a collective 47% participation rate and raised $464,497 (accounting for 36% of all alumni contributions). The Classes of 1992 and 1997 set new 25th and 20th Reunion records, the former for total class dollars raised ($118,727) and the latter for class participation (59%). Click here for the results in this year’s Race for the Cups
. There were noteworthy accomplishments in every class, from the 5th to the 70th, all made possible because committed alumni leaders worked hard to increase both class participation and total class contributions.
On the personnel front, we are proud to have two of our colleagues acknowledged for their exemplary work. Kavon Akhtar, who joined St. Albans in 2015, was promoted to the role of director of young alumni giving, and Bobby Cpin, who came to us in 2013, added the title of director of alumni giving to his portfolio of responsibilities. Our thanks and congratulations to both!
As we enter the final year of STRIVE and begin to look beyond the campaign, we will look to build on the gains made in Annual Giving over the last four years and broaden community 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 first year of leadership under Alumni Association president Brendan Sullivan ’93 helped the Alumni Office to boost event attendance. Participation was up an impressive 13%, evident in the continued success of three signature events: Homecoming (with a tented pre-game lunch for alumni on Pilgrim Road), the Alumni Dinner (at which futurist and author Steven Johnson ’86 informed and entertained) and Reunions 2017—the 13-class gathering in May (with the Friday evening barbecue back on Senior Circle) and the more intimate 50th Reunion in June, during Commencement.
New events and initiatives continued to gain momentum. Our third Alumni Open House in December (held immediately before the Lessons and Carols service) had twice the number of attendees as its second year as faculty hosts Donna Denize and Ted Eagles ’54 welcomed alumni and friends; a biennial alumni tent at the away Landon football matchup (hosted by Alumni Office personnel and featuring snack, beverages and spirit giveaway items) was well received; a Homecoming post-game reception at Town Hall in Glover Park drew a new demographic; promotion to alumni of livestreamed varsity soccer, football, lacrosse, and baseball games generated a great deal of interest, as did social media sharing of the crew team’s head races and regattas; and lastly, readership of our revamped monthly e-newsletter has continued to grow, with interactive links, trivia, quizzes and an array of monthly features.
Our Off-the-Close networking events continued to be widely popular. In October, we extended OTC to NYC, as Ted Sullivan ’95 hosted and interviewed classmate Connor Schell ’95, ESPN’s senior vp and executive producer for films and original content, at Ted’s GameChanger offices in Manhattan. Then in December, 80 alumni and friends gathered to hear Washington Post sports reporter Gene Wang ’87 interview classmate Don Fishman, Washington Capitals assistant general manager and director of legal affairs, at the OPTORO offices of Toby Moore ’00 and Adam Vitarello ’00. And in April, more than 100 Bulldogs assembled to hear from a panel of commercial real estate experts (Chris Gladstone ’75, John Gerber ’80, Willy Walker ’85, former mayor Adrian Fenty—moderated by Jason Cross ’95) on a Shaw rooftop provided by Marcus Goodwin ’07. We are planning to expand the OTC events in D.C. and nationally.
The 28th Annual Vernon W. Holleman Jr. ’54 Bulldog Golf Tournament was held on a spectacular October afternoon, with 72 avid golfers participating (the 29th tourney is scheduled for Monday, October 23, 2017, at a new location: Four Streams near Poolesville, Md.). The STA-NCS BOLD Thanksgiving Friday party—with over 200 in attendance—is 24 years and counting (older than many of the attendees)!
Out-of-town events at which the headmaster graciously acted as co-host included
- an August reception for over 40 alumni and friends at the home of Rob Petty ’79 on Nantucket included a seven-decade span between youngest and oldest alumni attendees.
- a September reception hosted by John Chadwick ’57 in Greenwich.
- a three-day Orlando weekend in March honoring Brooks Johnson, organized by 24 members of his ’60s and ’70s track and football teams, with Skip Grant as a guest.
- a spring break West Coast tour in March with NCS (and their Head of School Kathy Jamieson)
- Seattle with John Siegler ’73 co-hosting (18 STA alumni)
- Palo Alto, with Chris Cummings ’79 co-hosting (STA only) (25)
- San Francisco, with J.J. Millard ’87 cohosting (46)
- Los Angeles-Beverly Hills All Saints Rectory, with the Rev. Will Billow as cohost (37)
Additionally, at a November’s 12 annual Harvard-Yale pre-game reception in Cambridge, 30-plus-year C Form Master Tim Brockway acted as co-host with Alumni Director Lanier Frank ’79; and Lanier joined NCS’s Richard Hastings in New York to cohost the joint NCS-STA Chorale concert at the Cathedral of St. John, to which all area alumni were invited.
In September, a dedicated alumnus enlisted Alumni Office assistance to coordinate with the American Veterans Center and the Washington Nationals for Jimmie Trimble ’43 Day, which included the National Anthem performance by the 40-person NCS-STA Madrigal Singers. The evening’s benefactor sponsored tickets for 100 guests, as well as a giveaway hat especially designed for the occasion. Making the night all the more special: Jimmie’s classmate, Earle Elliott ’43, threw the first pitch, aided to the mound by his late classmates’ sons, Don Swagart ’76 and Paul Cromelin ’72. This was our second baseball outing of the year, as 80 friends joined us for our annual alumni night at Nats Park in July, which began, as is tradition, with a pregame reception.
Other areas drawing our attention were our Headmaster’s Counselors, enthusiastically and tirelessly led by Caton Burwell ’95 and Paul Cromelin ’72. Excellent attendance at the fall meeting in late October reflects the vigor of this important advisory body. The counselors also met in March to discuss the head of school search process. Our seventh annual Bishop Walker Basketball Tournament in December was among the best ever, raising a record $42,000.
In the fourth public year of the STRIVE Campaign, the Individual Giving team, with the help of the Development Committee and Headmaster Wilson, raised $5.9 million in new gifts. Highlights include completing fundraising for the fields, as well as raising $3.5 million of new endowment. Special thanks to the members of the Development Committee, who gave, helped open doors and solicited their peers. And, of course, we are most grateful to the parents and alumni who continue to give so generously. The Individual Giving team also continued to provide fundraising support for the St. Albans School of Public Service. Under the outstanding leadership of board chair Jim Rowe ’69, P ’06, SPS raised over $90,000 in operating support for financial aid.
As the year ended, we said goodbye to David Shepard, who served St. Albans eleven years admirably as Director of Annual Giving, and then Director of Individual Giving and STRIVE Campaign manager. We will miss David but are delighted that he will continue his great work in independent schools—as director of development for the Bishop Walker School.
The department enjoyed a successful and busy 2016-2017 school year. Special Events Manager Kari Wade, working with Director of Development Operations Catherine Carman, managed nearly 60 separate events. Highlights included Homecoming Weekend and an “away game” alumni tent at the Landon football game; well-attended alumni gatherings in Nantucket, New York, Greenwich, Seattle, San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Los Angeles; three more receptions in our series of "Off-the-Close" networking events; and our annual Headmaster’s Associates Reception. Our January Parent Dinner saw 290 guests in attendance; we hosted over 230 alumni at the Annual Dinner in the Cafritz Refectory; welcomed more than 200 grandparents for the revamped Lower School Grandparents and Special Friends Day; and ran a number of small-scale events designed to steward the philanthropy and service of our parents and alumni.
DEVELOPMENT INFORMATION SYSTEMS
Development Information Systems (DIS) processed and acknowledged 6,436 gifts, pledges, and payments, totaling just over $11.5 million during FY 2017. With Graham Getty moving into school-wide data systems support, long-time DIS Associate Director Amy Aronstamn became our new director. Amy remains the department’s key resource for everything from prospect screening, analytics, reporting, and gift processing. During the staff changes, we are grateful to Robin Boswell, who helped provide additional support at calendar and fiscal year-end. DIS also researched and began preparing for a significant software upgrade for Blackbaud’s fundraising software, to be tested and implemented during the 2017-18 academic year. During the year, DIS encountered new auditor requests and protocols pertaining to constituent and gift data. Lastly, with the school’s move into multiple data systems, DIS also serves as the central resource to ensure data integrity and synchronization among the school’s key data 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 continued to chair the Development Committee, as well as co-chairing the STRIVE Campaign. Rob’s fellow co-chairs, Gina Coburn P ’21, ’23, Ben Guill ’69, Anne Large P ’16, ’18, and Jun Makihara ’75 and P ’13, continued their dedicated work leading the Campaign Committee and the campaign.
June 30 marked the end of the Annual Giving year, as well as Patrick Bracewell’s first year as Annual Giving Chair. We are grateful for his cheerful leadership and good work alongside the hundreds of other Annual Giving volunteers who helped deliver a record-breaking year.
Thanks to Alumni Association President Brendan Sullivan ’93, vice president Carter DeLorme ’88, and secretary Carter Mitchell ’93—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, 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 2016 and met again in March to assist the head of school search committee in their efforts. 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 Althea Harlin and the executive committee of Chris Grigorian, Lee Koch, Kim Summerville, and Mary Preston. 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 cochairs: Mayra Addison, Irina Gabidullina, Allison Jackson, Tricia Karppi, Ellie Khosravi, Lydia La Ferla, Jennie McDonnell, Ashley Shaw, Maggie Sheedy, Jacqueline Tate, and Christine Terrell. Thanks also to Ambassador Joe Hockey and Melissa Babbage-who co-hosted a wonderful party for the House Tour patrons.