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Philanthropy at Mark Day School

Philanthropy at Mark Day School
Sophie Shulman

Take a moment and think about hearing the entire student body call out Mark Day School is always ready! during assembly in our beautiful amphitheater. Or standing on the sidelines of the gym and watching a group of 8th graders work as a team to earn a victory. Consider the diverse community we get to call our friends and our family, and the research that shows the many layers of benefits that diversity brings to every Mark Day student and family. These are just some of the joys we experience because of the generosity of our current community and those who came before us.

From the school’s founding in 1980, philanthropy has been part of the fabric of Mark Day School. Philanthropy is an important element of every great school and provides the opportunity to grow, expand, and improve—in ways that impact us in the short- and long-term. We’ve had five multi-year capital campaigns that built the gym and the arts/science building, supported financial access to a Mark Day education, provided teachers with more professional development and higher salaries, and constructed our Learning Commons, Creativity Lab, amphitheater, and quad. And, primarily through the annual fund, philanthropy contributes to helping run the school on a daily basis.

Did you know that tuition doesn’t cover the full cost of educating each child at Mark Day? There is approximately a $4,300 gap per student between tuition at the top of the index and the actual cost of educating a child. “In a sense, we all pay below the top of the index,” says Wendy Levine ‘89, Director of Development. “Every year we rely on the generosity of families and friends of the school to cover the gap and ensure each student receives a world-class education.”

There are a variety of ways in which philanthropy matters each year. The school’s annual fund, called The Mark Day Fund, is the primary means of fundraising. And what matters most is participation. “We strive for one-hundred percent participation from our families,” says Wendy. “It’s not about the amount, but demonstrating a belief in the work of the school and a commitment to education. And support at any level can also help inspire gifts from others.” If you haven’t already, mark your calendars for Giving Day on November 15! It’s an exciting day on campus that is full of generosity and gratitude. 

The Family Association also holds events and activities throughout the year to raise additional money. The contributions from The Mark Day Fund and the Family Association support the school’s operating budget each year. 

More specifically, where do donation dollars go? Contributions that are made to the school, if unrestricted, are deployed in the same way that tuition dollars are allocated—with almost three-quarters covering the costs of our faculty and staff. Keep an eye out for the annual report landing in your mailbox in the next couple of weeks with more information.

Another form of philanthropy is making a contribution to the school’s endowment, which supports Mark Day School students in perpetuity. This past year, the endowment contributed about $400,000 to the school’s operating budget—that’s more than $1,000 per student. We are excited to be embarking on our next endowment campaign, which is currently in its initial stages. Starting in 2019, the Board of Trustees thoughtfully began examining the next priorities for the school. We also surveyed faculty about compensation and benefits to learn what matters most to these amazing educators. In 2020, the Board voted to move forward with an endowment campaign dedicated to supporting faculty compensation, professional development, an intern teacher program, and more. Stay tuned for more to come in 2023.

There are a variety of ways to give to support Mark Day School, including cash, gifts of stock, matching gifts, planned gifts, life insurance, gifts in kind, multi-year pledges for major gifts, and restricted and unrestricted gifts. You may also dedicate your gift to a specific program like the garden, technology, or Indexed Tuition.

We are so grateful to our generous community for their commitment to philanthropy. We truly couldn’t offer all of the incredible programs at Mark Day School without you.