Led by Annual Giving—which set a record for a third consecutive year—the $50 million STRIVE Campaign made excellent progress. At the June 30 fiscal year end, the campaign totaled $35.4 million. Fundraising for the athletic fields continued strong: new gifts brought the total raised to $18.5 million towards the $20 million goal. We celebrated our new fields each season of the year with “opening” events, culminating with a major celebration with donors on April 15. While our efforts were mainly towards the fields and its construction budget, we also made progress towards our endowment goals, with $2.2 million in new funds for scholarships and faculty support. For the year, new gifts and pledges totaled $7.1 million; in addition, we received $3.9 million in pledge payments.
Our sustained effort to coordinate the work of Annual Giving and Alumni Relations continues to pay dividends for St. Albans. The move, instituted three years ago, capitalizes on the natural affinities between the two groups and allows us to expand the depth and breadth of activities as well as better leverage our limited staff and budgetary resources.
2015-16 Annual Giving
Annual Giving remains the foundation of St. Albans’ fundraising program. Gifts to Annual Giving go directly to the operating budget and are used immediately to support the school’s greatest areas of need—financial aid and faculty salaries most notably.
In the campaign’s third year, 2,869 alumni, parents, faculty, parents of alumni, staff, grandparents, and friends contributed a total of $2,597,167 to Annual Giving, surpassing our $2.4 million goal by 8% and setting a new one-year record. To everyone who participated, we extend a heartfelt thanks.
Essential to such magnificent results were the tenacious efforts of our hundreds of volunteers who, under the leadership of Annual Giving Chair Blake Sparrow ’00, devoted countless hours to securing the support of friends and peers. Volunteer outreach was particularly important to sustaining strong participation across the school community. An impressive 43% of alumni and 95% of current families participated in 2015-16, results that once again put us in the top 1% of peer schools nationally.
Roughly 25% of all donors participated through one of the three special Annual Giving initiatives in 2015-16. Giving Tuesday, the Leap Year Challenge, and STA Giving Day provided special opportunities to highlight Annual Giving’s impact and garnered the support of nearly 700 donors. Leadership by Governing Board and Development Committee members, as well as volunteers, was key to the success of each of the initiatives.
Current families, who already do so much for STA, contributed nearly half of all Annual Giving ($1.2 million), setting a new record in total parent giving. Ninety-eight parents, representing nearly 20% of current families, served as volunteers and helped to rally the support of their peers. The Class of 2019 took top participation honors in the Upper School with 98%. And in an unprecedented outcome, in part to honor Mr. Herman’s final year as head of Lower School, all five of the Lower School forms (2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024) achieved perfect 100% participation.
We are incredibly grateful to our team of all-star parent volunteers. Their dedicated service is largely responsible for the record-setting results. As we bid a fond farewell to our Form VI volunteers, we salute our outgoing Lower School Division Chairs, Michael Kelley and Gladys Sanglade-Kelley, whose exceptional work has set a new benchmark for Lower School Annual Giving—100% or bust! We are glad to welcome as new Lower School Chairs Catherine and Teddy Kaplan’92, who have led the Class of 2023 to 100% participation for the past two years. And we are so grateful that Allan and Vivian Moore will continue their great service as Upper School chairs.
Alumni also set a new record of $1.17 million, with sustained strong support across the decades. One thousand eight hundred and seventeen alumni contributed for an overall participation rate of 43%. A battalion of more than 200 volunteers helped secure these excellent results which, in addition to an increase in total giving, raised the average alumni gift to $643, the highest in eight years. Whether lending a hand at Phonathon in October, February, and June, or serving as a class agent or Reunion Committee member, all our alumni volunteers were indispensable.
Reunion classes were instrumental to our overall alumni success, with classes celebrating a milestone garnering 48% participation and raising $352,816 (30% of all alumni contributions). The Class of 1956 set a new all-time
record, achieving a remarkable 100% participation, as well as a new 65th Reunion Giving record of $44,284. And the Class of 1946 set a new standard for 70th Reunion Giving, especially as theirs was the inaugural 70th Reunion celebration! The reunion Race for the Cups
had remarkable results. There are notable accomplishments in every class, 5th to the 70th, all of which were made possible because dedicated alumni volunteers took the lead and worked hard to increase their class’s participation, total contributions, and, in many cases, both.
On the personnel front, the Annual Giving office was glad to welcome Kavon Akhtar as associate director of Annual Giving in August of 2015. Previously serving as director of alumni relations at Flint Hill School in Oakton, Va. (his alma mater), Kavon has been a terrific addition to the team.
June 30, 2016, marked the end of the Annual Giving year, as well as the end of Blake Sparrow’s term as Annual Giving Chair. From 2014 to 2016, whether making calls at Phonathon, providing insight to staff, or signing any number of emails and letters, Blake led the charge. His dedicated service was a model for volunteers and inspiration to donors. We are deeply grateful to Blake for his leadership. As he steps back, we are excited that Patrick Bracewell ’98 has agreed to take the helm of Annual Giving for the next two years.
We will continue to focus our work around sustaining and steadily growing Annual Giving throughout the remainder of STRIVE and beyond. We do so because the funds are absolutely essential to the school’s operation and because the process of giving back unites generations of Bulldogs.
Alumni Relations Highlights from 2015-16
A strong second year of leadership under Alumni Board President Michael Caskin ’84 saw the continuing success of our signature events: a new-fields Homecoming (with a pre-game tented lunch for alums in a new location along Pilgrim Road), a well-attended Alumni Dinner (at which current parent David Gardner ’84, co-founder of Motley Fool informed and entertained the throng), and sturdy numbers returning for Reunions 2016 (featuring a first-ever 70th Reunion class, with many events to celebrate).
Our fledgling events—those in their second year or so—included two additional iterations of our Off-the-Close gatherings (self-funded networking events arranged by the Executive Committee). In November, 80 alums and friends gathered to hear Austin Branson ’00 speak on his needlepoint accessory entrepreneurial enterprise, which was moderated by radio personality and comedian Danny Rouhier ’97 and hosted by Brendan Sullivan ’93 at his Headfirst offices in Woodley Park. Then in April, 65 alums and friends grouped to hear Geoff Dawson ’79 and Mark Handwerger ’81 talk about their partnership at Buffalo Billiards off DuPont Circle.
Our Alumni Office Open House in December (a reception to piggyback on the Lessons & Carols service immediately following) had twice the number of attendees in its second year, and featured faculty hosts Donna Denizé and Ted Eagles ’54 on hand to help welcome alumni and friends. Our Landon Game football weekend had both a pre-game cookout and post-game reception in the Manger Trophy Room. Additionally, Jonathan Ogden ’92 presented a “golden” football to the headmaster(s) at halftime—with eight present and former coaches looking on. Our BOLD group (Bulldogs of Last Decades) gathered over the summer at Roofer’s Union, an Adams-Morgan venue with STA connections. One event that is not new (23 years and going) is worth noting here: the STA-NCS BOLD Thanksgiving Friday Event on Dupont Circle, which had over 100 in attendance (both schools).
Out-of-town events included the 27th annual Holleman Bulldog Golf tourney in October; November’s 11th annual Harvard-Yale Pre-game Reception in New Haven (Strive Co-chair Anne Large P’15 acted as co-host with the alumni director); an October reception in Chicago (held jointly with NCS); a February San Francisco event with the headmaster at Presidio Golf Club (joint with NCS); a Boston harbor-view reception with the headmaster at the offices of Bill Asher ’66 in March; and an April Manhattan reception with the headmaster at the Cornell Club. All of these events were extremely well attended and, with the exception of the Chicago and New Haven events, had appropriate registration fees to help offset our expenses.
Other areas drawing our attention were our Headmaster’s Counselors group, with motivated new leadership under Caton Burwell ’95 and Paul Cromelin ’72. Excellent attendance at both the more substantial fall meeting held over Homecoming and the spring luncheon update over reunion weekend reflect the renewed vigor of this important advisory body. Our sixth annual Bishop Walker Tournament in December was among our strongest. Our stalwart Bulldog squad played well, only to fall in the finals. In all $36,000 was raised, and our largest brochure to date included a center-spread tribute to the late Ian McDonald ’86 by 17 of his classmates. The Cornerstone Garden (the remembrance and interment area adjacent to the Little Sanctuary and Lane-Johnston buildings, a gift of Carol and Leonard Steuart ’53) also falls under our purview; new marketing materials and an updated web page led to an increased interest in this lovely oasis of quiet reflection.
In the third public year of the STRIVE Campaign, the Individual Giving team, with the help of the Development Committee and Headmaster Wilson, raised $4.5 million in new gifts for the school. The bulk of the efforts went towards raising money for the spectacular Athletic Fields, which we celebrated throughout the year. We offer grateful thanks to the donors who met with us and gave of their time and resources to make this renovation possible. Special thanks to the members of the Development Committee, who gave, helped open doors and solicited their peers for support. 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 $95,000 in operating support for financial aid.
The Special Events department enjoyed a successful and busy 2015-16 school year. Special Events Manager Kari Wade, working with Director of Development Operations Catherine Carman, managed over 60 events. Highlights included Homecoming Weekend and the Landon football game and cookout on the new athletic fields, well-attended alumni gatherings in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, two more in our series of “Off-the-Close” networking events, our annual Headmaster’s Associates Reception, and a wonderful tented reception in the spring celebrating donors to the STRIVE Campaign. Though our annual January Parents Dinner was cancelled because of snow, we hosted over 230 alumni at the March Alumni Dinner in the Refectory, welcomed more than 200 grandparents for Lower School Grandparents 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 successfully supported all school departments by configuring the new “Blackbaud ON Platform” with core data for all current students, parents, faculty, and staff. Additionally, DIS built recurring procedures to enable continual data refreshes to keep all systems synchronized for billing, fundraising, and communication. In December DIS, created a new electronic version of pledge reminders for capital and annual pledges to send reminders via the school’s email vendor, Mailchimp. The remainder of the year focused on key development tasks with over 10,000 prospect screenings and updates, core gift processing, reporting and acknowledgements.
While the “departmental” reports above commend our wonderful volunteers, we cannot thank them enough. They are, quite simply, indispensable! 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, Ben Guill ’69, and Anne Large P’16, ’18, continued their dedicated work leading the Campaign Committee and the campaign.
Our thanks to Blake Sparrow ’00 for leading Annual Giving. In his second year as national chair, Blake worked cheerfully and tirelessly with hundreds of volunteers to help set a new Annual Giving record.
We are grateful to Alumni Association president Michael Caskin ’84, vice president Brendan Sullivan ’93, and secretary Carter Delorme ’88—and to all those members of the Alumni Association Board who tirelessly worked on (and at) alumni events in Washington and around the country. Paul Cunningham P’ 06, ’09 continued his wise leadership of the Community Relations Subcommittee. Countless others assisted with Homecoming events, young alumni gatherings, the annual Alumni Dinner, Grandparents Day, and reunions.
The Headmaster’s Counselors, led by co-chairs Paul Cromelin ’72 and Caton Burwell ‘95, convened in November and May. This group of alumni from across the country 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 David Schauer and the executive committee of Althea Harlin, Melissa Swensrud, Rosy Khanna, 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 co-chairs: Rita Roy, Krista Schauer, Melanie Gilbert, Mike Mullen, Nell Shapiro, Allison Jackson, Shelia Matini, Angela Montez, and Heidi Curley Kline, Thanks also to Gina and Brooke Coburn—who co-hosted a wonderful party for the House Tour patrons.
Associate Headmaster for Development and Alumni Relations