Featured Column: What's Developing in Development?

November 12, 2013

The Development Office is a busy place this time of year. If you are a parent of the school, you should have received a letter in the mail asking you to make a gift to the CMS Fund. Each year, the Development Office asks folks connected to Cambridge Montessori to consider a gift to the school’s annual fund (aptly named the CMS Fund). The CMS Fund is an integral part of the school’s fundraising efforts, as it supports all aspects of the school’s daily functions. The primary beneficiaries being, of course, the students! Last year, the school raised $185,000 for the CMS Fund. This year, our goal is $220,000. The CMS Fund helps to offset costs in the school’s overall operating budget and as such, we ask that those who are considering a gift remember all the ways that the operating budget helps students and teachers reach their goals each year. In order to keep tuition increases low, the CMS Fund helps to fund the true cost of a student’s education at Cambridge Montessori. This includes providing beautiful and functional materials in classrooms and offering extracurricular programs to students including the arts and music. In addition, our teachers and staff benefit with robust professional development to keep everyone in our community learning and renewing best practices. The school could not do what it does each and every day without the help of generous monetary gifts as well as gifts of time by our countless volunteers.

Below are some answers to a few frequently asked questions about fundraising at Cambridge Montessori. Have more questions? Do not hesitate to contact Kyla in the Development Office. She wants to know!

What is the CMS Fund?

The CMS Fund is Cambridge Montessori School’s Annual Fund. The CMS Fund revenue is unrestricted, which means it may be used for the operating budget. This type of giving is ideal because it allows CMS the flexibility to address current programmatic and facilities needs, and seize future opportunities when they arise without restrictions. As with all successful independent schools, CMS relies on its annual giving program to enrich the experience of all students.

I am already paying tuition, so why does the school ask me to give more?

In order to keep tuition increases as low as possible, the school relies on the CMS Fund to help provide a dynamic education to our students each day.  The actual cost of a CMS education is higher than what families pay in tuition and in order to provide the best education possible, the funds we raise help to make our programs even better than what a CMS tuition can provide.

Does Cambridge Montessori School have an endowment? If not, why not?

Cambridge Montessori does not have an endowment. In many cases, it takes a lot of money (millions) in order to make an endowment worth the time invested in it. Often, endowments are set up like trust funds, and the only usable money is that which is collected from returns. For Cambridge Montessori School, it is the usable money that counts and is a necessary part of how our school, and how many other independent schools operate. Not having an endowment is not necessarily negative. Because endowment monies tend to be restricted and tied up in investments, schools without endowments have much more freedom in how they use the money that is donated. 

My family receives financial aid. Is it ok to give to the CMS Fund even though we received support from the school?

Yes! Participation in the CMS Fund is just as important. Each year, we strive to receive gifts from 100% of our current parent population. This participation percentage speaks volumes to other folks in and out of our immediate community, and inspires others to give as well. Last year (the 2012-2013 school year), we had 80% of parents participate in the CMS Fund, 100% Board of Trustees participation and 100% faculty/staff participation. This year, we hope to gain 100% participation for all three groups.

I can only give a small amount. Does it really make a difference?

No matter what the amount, it’s important to give. As seen above, percent of participation is as important a number as the total amount given. This year, it is increasingly important, as we are working to garner support from local corporations and foundations. These groups often will ask about percentage of participation, and your gift, no matter the amount will make a difference in our participation reports.

How are gifts to the CMS Fund used?

The CMS Fund is an integral part of the school’s fundraising efforts, as it supports all aspects of the school’s daily functions. The primary beneficiaries being, of course, the students! Last year, the school raised $185,000 for the CMS Fund. This year, our goal is $220,000. Basically, the CMS Fund helps to offset costs in the school’s overall operating budget. Although this may not seem a compelling argument, we ask that those who are considering a gift remember all the ways that the school’s overall operating budget helps students and teachers reach their goals each year. In order to keep tuition increases low, the CMS Fund helps to fund the true cost of a student’s education at Cambridge Montessori. This includes providing beautiful and functional materials in classrooms, offering extracurricular programs to students including the arts and music. In addition, our teachers and staff benefit with robust professional development to keep everyone in our community learning and renewing best practices.

Is my gift tax deductible?

Yes! Once your gift is made, the Development Office will send you a receipt for your tax documentation. 

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to ask.  You can call or email Kyla or stop by the Development Office in the Toddler/Primary Building.

 
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