November at CMS - Celebrating the Generosity of Our Community

November 04, 2014

November is one of my favorite months: Sweaters, boots, winter ales, holiday gift guides (seriously, they’re the best), corduroy, tweed, and dogs wearing clothes. November is also a time to slow down, to consciously practice gratitude on a daily basis, and to contemplate ways to give back. As we think about institutions that make a difference in our own lives and in others’ lives, I hope that you will join me in giving Cambridge Montessori School a prominent place on your list. I believe strongly in what we do here every day and, since November marks the launch of the CMS Fund Fall Appeal, this year I pledge to make Cambridge Montessori School my top philanthropic commitment.

Last Thursday, my colleagues and I put the finishing touches on CMS’ 2013-2014 Annual Report, a digest of the past year, highlighting our accomplishments, donors, and tireless volunteers. This week, you will all receive a copy in the mail and, invariably, after casually flipping through the glossy colored pages, admiring the photographs of smiling students and reading through the names of our supporters, many of you will ask each other the same question: “Why is there a need to fundraise despite the seemingly high cost of tuition?”

I would like to take this opportunity to shed some light on the subject, because it is often so poorly understood.

Demystifying the CMS Fund

The largest part of Cambridge Montessori School’s operating budget is covered by tuition. While one might expect that tuition would cover all of the operating expenses, it does not. The school deliberately sets tuition below full cost in order to keep the school more affordable to a wider range of students. This allows us to maintain a culturally and socio-economically diverse community, which is so important to all of us, and to provide community members with opportunities to support the school with tax-deductible, philanthropic commitments. This practice is typical of most independent schools. In fact, when granting accreditations, the National Association of Independent Schools frowns upon any applicant institution that is unable to acquire 100% community participation for their Annual Fund.

Are families receiving financial aid expected to participate in the Annual Fund?

Yes. Every family is asked to give every year. Gifts commensurate with each family’s financial means are welcome and honored.

Is 100% parent and community participation really that important?

YES! Getting 100% participation in the Annual Fund is just as important as meeting our overall financial goal. Completion of a successful Annual Fund campaign each year shows that the entire community – current families, Board members, faculty and staff, grandparents, and even alumni families – are supporters of the school. When everyone contributes to the school’s shared mission, no matter the level, it demonstrates what it truly means to be a community. It also provides an excellent example to our students of the importance of giving back.

To submit a pledge or make an online donation please click here or wait for your pledge form to arrive in the mail within the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, enjoy the month of November, as I do: gazing on the beautiful frosted grass, drinking lots of hot chocolate, watching all the Back-to-the-Futures in a row, and admiring the 70’s TV-presenter moustaches appearing everywhere. When you feel you are losing the spirit, getting caught up in to-do-lists and shopping crowds, remember to beat the stress with the endorphin boost of giving to the CMS Fund.


Christine Kahvejian

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