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The Annual Fund


Wildwood's unique community is a dynamic blend of challenging programs and diverse people. We rely on that community—current parents, alumni, alumni parents, grandparents, faculty, staff and friends—every year during our Annual Fund campaign to help ensure our ability to offer an exceptional education to all of our students. Contributions to the Annual Fund touch every aspect of the school, from financial aid to professional development, technology to the arts, athletics, musical programs, and college counseling.

On an annual basis, your tax-deductible gift to the Annual Fund helps us apply financial resources to the areas of greatest need. Your participation ensures the school's solid financial future and inspires outside financial institutions with the confidence to invest in Wildwood. Below are common questions and answers about the Annual Fund. For more information, please contact Barbara Kackley, director of development, at bkackley@wildwood.org or (310) 806-4525.

What is the Annual Fund?
The Annual Fund is Wildwood’s top annual fundraising priority. Each year, all members of our community (parents, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni, grandparents and friends) are asked to make a tax-deductible gift to Wildwood. The 8% or more of our budget revenues raised through the Annual Fund ensures our school has all of the necessary resources (faculty, facilities, financial aid, technology, and program support) to provide your child with the exceptional Wildwood education that you expect.

Do all independent schools fundraise?
Yes, all independent schools fundraise. Tuition is the "price tag" for an independent school education, but it is not the true cost.

Why is the Annual Fund so important? What does it fund?
Tuition covers about 92% of the school’s annual budget; Annual Fund gifts pay for the essentials needed for excellence.

The Annual Fund impacts every part of our community—faculty and staff recruitment and retention, academic programming, technology, athletics, visual and performing arts and music, the unique socio-economic diversity of our community, and more.

Why doesn’t Wildwood simply raise tuition to cover the true cost of a Wildwood education?
Annual Fund donations are tax-deductible, while tuition is not. Families who are able to bridge the shortfall between tuition and the true cost of a Wildwood education are able to receive a significant tax benefit.

Keeping tuition rates as affordable as possible, without compromising the quality of our educational program, is an important core value of Wildwood.

Why am I asked to increase my gift each year?
Each year it costs more to run the school, particularly to attract and retain our outstanding faculty and staff. Annual Fund revenues represent a set percentage of the budget, so they must increase as well.

How much am I expected to give?
Our request is that you make Wildwood your primary philanthropic priority. We ask that you contribute at a level that is personally meaningful and that makes sense for your family, keeping in mind the number of children you have at Wildwood and the per-student goal each year. The annual goal ranges from $2,700 to $3,500 per student and Annual Fund gifts range from $20 to $50,000. Every gift is greatly valued and deeply appreciated.

Why is the school asking for pledges to be received by Dec. 31?
The School’s budget (and tuition) for the upcoming year is set in January. Receiving Annual Fund pledges by Dec. 31 allows us to predict next year’s totals with confidence and set the budget accordingly.

If I make a pledge by Dec. 31, may I pay later?
Absolutely. You have until June 1 to make your pledge payment.

May I make pledge payments over time to maximize my family’s gift?
Yes. Please contact director of development, Barbara Kackley, at (310) 806-4525 or bkackley@wildwood.org to arrange a personalized payment schedule.

Why is 100% participation so important?
It is a vote of confidence in our school, our faculty, and our educational mission.

Not everyone is able to contribute the per-student goal, so by achieving 100% participation, everyone shares in the effort. This supports our philosophy that as a community we must all work together to provide our children with the best possible education.

High Annual Fund participation is a benchmark used by foundations and outside funders when deciding which of the many worthwhile schools will receive their financial support. 

Who is asked to give to the Annual Fund?
All members of our extended community are asked to participate each year. Wildwood enjoys 100% participation from faculty and staff and the Board of Trustees. Historically, participation by current parents reaches 94-95% which is significantly above the national average for K-12 independent schools. As a relatively young school, a growing number of our alumni, parents of alumni, and grandparents contribute to the Annual Fund each year.


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