The Harker community’s efforts to meet a $10 million matching gift challenge to build a new events center are coming to a head, with the Oct. 12 deadline for donations fast approaching.
Last May, Jeff and Marieke Rothschild (Isaac ’14; Jackiel, grade 11) made a matching gift challenge that will, dollar-for-dollar, match all pledges to the capital campaign up to $10 million until the Oct. 12 deadline, though actual payment can be made through 2016.
To maintain Harker’s critical annual giving campaign during the Rothschilds’ challenge, the Board of Trustees and Board of Fellows will match up to $5 million in annual giving donations, but the boards’ matching funds from that effort will be directed toward the events center. This ensures academic programming doesn’t suffer while still adding to the events center challenge.
All Harker families will benefit from the new facility. Current students will be able to play or perform in the events center, while alumni and their families will return to campus to enjoy shows and games in the state-of-the-art spaces. The hope is that each family will contribute to the challenge, which will double their contribution and ensure the facility is built as soon as possible. Expected benefits from the new gathering spaces include increased attendance at games and performances, since it will be located in the center of the upper school campus, and thus augment school spirit and pride.
“As an athlete, having new facilities kind of motivates you a little bit more,” noted alumna Daniza Rodriguez ’13. “There is another place that you want to be and that just gets people excited.”
“It is always wonderful to have a dream,” said Gabrielle De Mers ’03, now an opera singer. “The idea of being able to go on to that next level – ‘I finally get to perform on stage in a real theater’ — that’s a really big deal.”
“Nothing would make a stronger statement to our community about our commitment to the whole child than the completion of the gym and theater complex,” noted Chris Nikoloff, head of school.
In the best-case fundraising scenario, the facility will be open to students as soon as fall 2016, a full year earlier than the best case before the match was proposed. Students will find the state-of-the-art theater and sports facility a huge step up from current facilities, several of which are located at Harker’s other campuses, requiring transportation just to reach them.
Pledges must meet the following criteria: first, pledges must be made between April 21 and Oct. 12, 2014; and second, pledge payments must be made in the years 2014, 2015 or 2016.
“Marieke and I looked at the Harker community [and] what the school has meant to our children,” said Mr. Rothschild when he and his wife made the gift.
The Rothschilds previously had made a $1 million gift to the school to help with the purchase of the Union Avenue campus. They decided to contribute again because they recognize the impact the events center will have on the entire Harker community, and the value in funding and starting work as soon as possible.
Not only will the events center have a direct impact on athletes and performers, but also numerous other classes, activities and events will take place in the center, freeing up space in other buildings.
Donors who rise to the challenge and make a capital gift during the match period will be recognized as a member of the Partners’ Circle, with their name added to an inaugural plaque in the atrium of the events center. With only three weeks left to secure the $10 million in matching gift pledges, Joe Rosenthal, executive director of advancement, quoted the Rothschilds’ statement when the gift was made: “Together we can all make this happen. The sooner, the better.”
“Harker provides an exceptional setting where kids can unfold their potential and reach for the stars,” said Alex Franz and Keiko Horiguchi (Kai, grade 7; Maya, grade 5; Nina, grade 3). “We can see the strategic importance of the theater and gymnasium project for all of Harker, so we wanted to join the campaign to support this construction. The amazingly generous matching grant, which lets us double our contribution, led us to donate before the beginning of the next school year, and we wanted to support the best-case construction schedule, so we just decided to make the donation right away.”
Those interested in learning more about the proposed events center can visit www.harker.org/eventscenter to review the “Case for Supporting the Events Center” booklet. A video featuring a virtual tour and several members of the Harker community – students, parents and teachers – sharing the impact they envision the new building will have on the Harker community is also available on the website, alongside Harker’s Vision Statement, which illustrates how the construction of the events center is aligned with Harker’s overall strategic plan through 2020.
Those wishing to pledge now can visit the Giving Online page or contact Joe Rosenthal directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-345-9266. The deadline is coming fast, so make the best use of your money now and double it by pledging prior to Oct. 12!