November 1, 2011


“Why would anyone want to give money to a school?”

Members of the Board of Trustees and I had just completed a presentation to a gathering of parents regarding plans for Tower’s Centennial.  Among those plans is that we will seek to raise substantial funds to boost Tower’s endowment and to take additional steps to complete the school’s facility master plan.  Fund-raising, or philanthropy, was on the mind.

Let’s rephrase the question: “Why does an independent school like Tower seek voluntary contributions to support operating budget and other expenses?”  Or: “Why doesn’t Tower just go ahead and charge as tuition the full cost of enrolling a student at the school?”

Before we consider the central philosophic question, a few practical points:

  • Like other independent schools and colleges around the nation, Tower is a non-profit organization.  Gifts made to the school are tax-deductible.  Gifts are a tax-advantaged way to support the school’s financial model.
  • Alumni, grandparents, parents of alumni, friends, and charitable foundations join current parents in making philanthropic donations to the school.  Last year, 6.56% of our operating budget came from donations to our annual Tower Fund drive.
  • Tower’s endowment and our facilities were all donated to the school by past generations of voluntary supporters.  New gifts continue this tradition of providing for the education of future students.

Altogether, Tower is therefore like other charitable institutions that count on voluntary financial support as a part of their financial model.  We are like hospitals, religious institutions, museums, performing arts organizations, social welfare organizations, etc. – all of which rely upon philanthropic support.

So, why give money to a school when there are so many other worthwhile causes?

Philanthropic support for education is the ultimate investment in the future.  Gifts to schools are a sort of venture capital – they serve to incubate the start up venture that is the vast potential of each young student.

I asked one of our eighth graders this fall if he had any specific plans or ambitions for his future.  Without pause, he replied: “I want to develop an alternative source of energy.”  Support education with your philanthropy so that boy pursues his dream.

Invest in education because Tower:

  • Nurtures the next generation of physicians who will discover new health-care solutions.
  • Develops future leaders for industry and government.
  • Inspires visionary entrepreneurs.
  • Kindles the creative talents of future artists – painters and sculptors, musicians and actors, poets and novelists.

Give money to this school because we build future citizens who understand the importance of decency and good will.  We believe in the importance of strong character.

Why would anyone give money to a school?  For those who believe in the future, there is no better focus for your philanthropic support.

About Tower School, Marblehead MA 01945

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