Achieving the Vision: The Campaign for Whitfield
In June of 2018, Whitfield completed a historic fundraising campaign. Achieving the Vision: The Campaign for Whitfield, marked unprecedented support of the school, its faculty and staff, and its students. The campaign surpassed its $10,000,000 goal through charitable gifts in support of three critical areas: Need-Based Tuition Assistance, Eliminating Capital Debt, and Faculty Compensation and Benefits.
Collectively, gifts made by individuals and foundations had an immediate and profound impact on all who walk the halls of Whitfield, and will continue to impact our students, our alumni and our faculty for years to come. As a school and as a community we are stronger because of the generosity of so many.
On September 20, 2018, we celebrated the Campaign’s success at an intimate dinner for its leadership donors. At the event, three current students shared how Whitfield has impacted their lives. Their inspirational speeches are embedded below.
Need-Based Tuition Assistance
A robust tuition assistance program is an investment in the immeasurable potential of children. It is critical for both the success of our school and the fulfillment of our mission.
Practically speaking, enrollment has steadily grown at Whitfield over the past several years—a net increase of 43 students in just five years. We welcomed 440 students this August. Increasing the amount of financial aid that we offer to families has played a significant role in this enrollment growth.
Of course, providing need-based tuition assistance is so much more than the numbers. It allows us to create a school community that is reflective of our commitment to diversity—in all aspects of the word. Funds raised through the Campaign allow Whitfield to enroll students who are diverse in religion, ethnicity, areas of interest, and economic status. This diverse community enhances the experience for all of our students: it creates strong bonds among students of vastly different backgrounds; broadens the perspectives and experiences shared in class discussions; and, prepares Whitfield students for the global realities they will face in college and beyond.
The Steward Scholars Program is an example of how Campaign support of financial aid is strengthening the Whitfield community. Established by the family of David and Thelma Steward, and daughter Kimberly ’99, it provides more than just tuition assistance to the 10 student participants. It provides 1:1 mentoring by Whitfield faculty, connections to influential members of our community and those around the country, community service opportunities, and life-changing travel. This program provides every kind of support needed for the Steward Scholars to thrive during their Whitfield years and beyond. The program opens their eyes to all the possibilities their futures hold, then helps them build the skills and connections to realize their enormous potential.
Eliminating Capital Debt
In 2002 Whitfield completed a much-needed expansion of the school’s physical plant. This expansion bestowed invaluable benefits, but also incurred costs. While we have significantly reduced debt since 2002, the lingering financial obligation diverts valuable resources from our operating budget every year.
Gifts to the Campaign have put a serious dent in the amount that we owe, and will continue to as pledge payments are received. By eliminating our existing debt we can invest in the people and programs that define Whitfield’s unique student experience and secure our long-term institutional health. We’ve felt the impact already.
Since 2014 we’ve added five staff positions to our team: Ginny Fendell, Director of Health & Wellness; Emily Klimek, Director of Institutional Advancement; Megan Campos, Director of Alumni Relations; Anna Warbelow, Director of Equity and Inclusion; and Sara Rodney who oversees the International Student Program.
As we eliminate our debt, we are investing in people. And, people are the heart and soul of Whitfield.
Faculty Compensation and Benefits
Passionate and thoughtful teachers are at the core of the Whitfield experience. These exceptional educators dedicate their days, evenings, and weekends to foster growth, resilience and mastery in our students. Recruiting and retaining faculty of the highest caliber is vital to Whitfield’s student-centered educational experience.
Gifts to Achieving the Vision: The Campaign for Whitfield allowed us to increase our endowment to provide competitive compensation and benefits for faculty that is commensurate with their value in our community.
In practice, this year we’ve increased the retirement match for all our faculty and staff from 4 to 5 percent, and the budget projection plans for additional increases to this benefit. In this way, we uplift and celebrate every teacher in our building and set them up for long-term financial stability.
Of course, we know that Whitfield faculty are not driven by their paycheck. They are driven by the opportunity to impact lives, to educate, to mentor. They are driven by the opportunity to cultivate the special strengths in our students and help them grow as ethical, confident, successful students.