Letter from Walter Landberg on the 100% Club January 2012
Dear IACS Parent,
Happy New Year to everyone! At the beginning of this New Year, we celebrate some of our school's successes with the release of the first edition of our IACS magazine, Outcomes. (If you have not yet received it in the mail, I've attached a PDF version to this email. I have a limited number of hard copies, so let me know if you didn't get one and want one!)
If you have received the magazine, and you have had some time to give it a read, I am certain you will agree that the work we are doing here at IACS is second to none in 5-12 education in the Merrimack Valley.
As a parent of a student at IACS, you must be feeling particularly good about your choice to send your child to Innovation Academy and, if this is the case, I think it would be a great time to make your contribution to the 100% Club in the greatest possible amount you can make.
We ask for donations because, as a charter school we are not eligible for the school building assistance funds that traditional public schools receive -- as a result, the funding for our facilities comes right off the top of our program budget. Roughly speaking, this is about $500,000 a year that we pay toward our facility loan...
Imagine what we could do programmatically with an additional $ 500,000 in our budget!!!!
While over the past five years, we've done amazing work in growing our programs with very minimal fundraising, one thing is VERY clear from my numerous coffee hour meetings and other conversations with parents and community members this fall, and that is that everyone has an interest in seeing increased programming at IACS in the coming years, and in many different areas.
Here are a few of the areas that consistently come up (in no particular order): - People want to see more science lab equipment. - People want to see increased elective course opportunities at the high school, including additional languages, college courses and study abroad opportunities. - People want enhanced technology resources and would like us to explore virtual school options. - People want to see the Fine, Musical and Dramatic Arts continue to grow and flourish here at IACS. - People want to see the library grow and expand. - People want athletic facilities and continued athletic program expansion -- including, but not limited to a track and field and a gymnasium (while we've begun our work on this and we're working toward a potential goal of a 2012-2013 ribbon cutting , we actually need to raise money for this!). - People want us to continue to retain and attract our committed and talented teaching staff.
If we want to see all of this happen (and we do!), one thing is for certain – we will need to raise serious funds from within our community.
The bottom line is that families want more from Innovation Academy Charter School and to do the more that families want is going to require families to make greater financial contributions to the school in the coming years. I want to begin this effort now!
Everything that has happened, thus far, in all of the above categories has come as a result of some significant creativity on the part of IACS staff who have stretched budgets, worked more hours and for less money than they would in a traditional public school and, often times, doing "double duty" (two jobs at once!). While I would never want to see the amazing esprit de corps of our staff disappear, working together and sacrificing themselves on behalf of the kids and families, the reality is that we can only go so far with what we currently receive for gifts to the school.
Our success in these areas also has much to do with the efforts of many volunteers and the support of the members of our community association, who have put in countless hours of unpaid time and shared their expertise for free to help the school shine. Additionally, I fully anticipate and hope that our volunteer efforts continue into the future, as I feel this is part of what makes the IACS community so special -- I just don't want us to be dependent on volunteers to do what WE ALL KNOW OUR KIDS DESERVE IN THEIR EDUCATION.
To give our kids exactly what we want for them in the years to come and into the future, I propose an aggressive effort to fundraise as much as we can in 2012!
A fundraising effort where not only EVERYONE gives, but an effort where everyone gives AS MUCH AS THEY CAN.
While any amount helps us toward our goal of 100% participation, I would like your family to consider stretching your capacity for the school that makes a HUGE difference for your child and for your family. I want you to look at the following chart and "see where you fit" -- times are tough for many right now, I know, but if there is one thing I hope everyone can agree on is that the education of our kids is of greatest importance. I've set the chart at $550,000 total, but that doesn't mean we can't raise more!
Where are you on this table?
I’ve developed this table to show how we can raise $550,000 together, through both larger and smaller gifts, in order to offset the yearly cost of our facility and put that money right back into the program. Look at this chart and figure out at what level you can give!
Gift Size Number of Gifts $100,000 1 $50,000 2 $25,000 3 $15,000 3 $10,000 6 $5,000 10 $2,500 15 $1,000 25 $500 50 $250 75 $100 100 $50 200
Total Amount To Raise: $550,000 Total # of Gifts: 490
In the end, I understand everyone has a unique situation, but I want you to be fully honest with yourself about what you can afford to give your child’s school. What kind of sacrifice can you make to help us do a better job for the kids of IACS? Maybe you can scale back the daily Dunkin’ Donuts stop (that would be tough for me!!!)? Maybe you’ve been meaning to scale back the cable television package (this is on my list!)? Maybe it is something that the family can decide to curtail together in the name of supporting your school!
Note: If the chart is unclear on your email, feel free to download the PDF version of this letter which is attached to this email.
How do you give? Here are some of the ways that you can give and some ideas for you to consider:
Monthly Allotment: You can pledge to give an allotment each month. Just think, if all 490 families were to give $100 a month for a year, we’ll instantly meet our goal. What do you spend $100 a month on, every month, that you'd consider sacrificing – is it as important as your child getting the very best education they can get?
Just email me and send or drop off a check: You can write me an email telling me what you want to give and just send the check, addressed to me here at the school.
Get your company to do a MATCHING GIFT: If you work at a local company, they may have a matching gift program. Some of the companies that match gifts in the region include the following: BAE Systems, Ratheyon, Mitre. I'm certain there are many more!
Get the Grandparents or supportive aunts and uncles Involved: You can direct extended family members to give through any of the above mechanisms and their gift will count toward your family contribution.
I hope you will join me in my effort in leading our school community to truly support the kids by giving a donation at the highest level possible for the 2012 year. As a charter school supporter and parent, you have made a great choice to send your child to a school that does so much more than what is typical in a public school -- please make a financial gift to the school to ensure that we can continue in this tradition and continue to grow and improve on our programs for your kids.
A final, and I think IMPORTANT, point to make before I “sign off” for the moment is to tell you that one of the areas where we have intentionally decided (at least for the moment) not to spend money is in the area of fundraising and development. Many charter schools and all private/independent schools have well staffed development offices of anywhere from 3-10 people, depending on the size of the school, costing the organization upwards of $100,000 – $500,000, just in staffing! While it may become necessary in the future for us to hire a fundraiser or similar to assist me as we grow, I would like to try to minimize the size of our fundraising office and the best way to do that is to get each of you to respond immediately to the request I’ve made in this letter and make the largest donation you possibly can to IACS, right now. Every cent you give goes directly into the program – there is no development staff to pay before we count the money raised and, if possible, I’d like to keep it that way. Please help me to channel as much of the funding support you can offer directly to kids in the classroom and make your best donation now!
Thank you so much for reading all of this – I recognize this is a long letter, but I feel it important to share as much as I can with you as I ask you to give up your hard earned dollars to support Innovation Academy Charter School. Believe me, if I didn’t feel it was necessary to ask for the long-term success of the school and your satisfaction, I wouldn’t do it. Now is the time!
As always, feel free to contact me with questions, ideas or thoughts. My mission is to support the kids and families of IACS to the best of my ability, so I am open to feedback on how I might be able to do this better. Today, I ask you to help me to achieve my mission which is to help you and your family by continuing to provide an ever progressing and impressive educational program for the kids of IACS. Here's to an exciting and impressive year of growth at IACS in 2012!
Yours, Walter Landberg Executive Director -- Walter Landberg Executive Director Innovation Academy Charter School 978-649-0432, extension 2217 firstname.lastname@example.org