Darlington School: Darlington’s Annual Fund has record-breaking year

Darlington’s Annual Fund has record-breaking year

June 16, 2017 | 1825 views
Parents for Purple Annual Fund volunteers Ed Watters ('83), Lauren Ledbetter, Wayne Robinson and Kathleen (Smith) Hughes ('84) talk with families during car line.

Darlington School is pleased to announce that the 2016-17 Annual Fund has met its cash goal of $1.25 million thanks to the generous contributions of 1,716 donors. 
“I couldn’t be more proud to have reached our goal, which was aggressive at 15 percent over the previous year,” said Julius Shaw (’72), Annual Fund and Advancement Committee chair. “Darlington’s advancement staff was wonderful to work with, and I was proud to work with our student volunteers who were instrumental in calling alumni for support.”
The Annual Fund campaign is a year-long effort that runs during the school’s fiscal year, June 1 through May 31. Tax-deductible gifts to the Annual Fund help bridge the gap between tuition income and the school’s operating expenses as well as provide for innovative and challenging academic, athletic, and arts programs; increased leadership opportunities for students; and recruitment and retention of highly talented faculty and staff. 
“The Annual Fund is one of many ways that people give back to Darlington,” said Brent Bell, head of school. “The success of this year’s campaign can be attributed to the leadership early on by both the Board of Trustees and the faculty and staff in pledging 100 percent. This set a great tone for the year and tangibly shows the level of commitment and affection that there is for Darlington.”
Also pledging 100 percent participation were all members of the Alumni Council as well as the most recent graduating class.
“It is our incredible volunteers who have made this year’s Annual Fund the success that it was,” said Julie (Wilson) Lucas (’97), chief advancement officer. “They have worked hard to make connections and let donors know why their support is so vital to our teachers and students. They are able to tell the Darlington story better than we ever could, and we are grateful for their work.”
New to the Annual Fund campaign this year was Parents for Purple, a peer-to-peer fundraising initiative designed to strengthen the participation and engagement of the families of students currently attending Darlington.
“It has been exciting to see our parents get more involved this year,” said Lucas. “This has absolutely been a milestone year for them, and has been their highest level of participation ever.” 

Overall, parent participation was 64 percent with the Pre-K to 8 division achieving an incredible 86 percent participation.
“I was particularly proud of our parents, who helped us reach record parent participation. Parents for Purple was a great driver behind their involvement,” Shaw said. “I’m also grateful to our faithful alumni, many of whom give year after year and are extremely loyal and generous to the school.” 
Lucas said she is blown away each year by the philanthropy demonstrated by the Darlington Community. “Our donors extend themselves, reach, and support Darlington in many ways so that we can continue having amazing programs and opportunities for our students,” she said. “It is because of this that we are able to recruit high-quality faculty and staff that will innovate and inspire our students, while continuing the Darlington traditions that we know and love.”
The 2016-17 Honor Roll of Donors will be published in the summer issue of Darlington Magazine, which will be mailed in August, and will also be available on the Darlington School website.  
“The Annual Fund is essential to the financial well-being of the school and I want to congratulate and thank the entire Darlington Community for supporting the Annual Fund this year,” said Linda (Grizzard) Owens (‘79), chair of Darlington’s Board of Trustees. “Hitting the increased goal is something we can all be proud of.”