This article was originally published in the summer 2013 Harker Quarterly. Read the complete issue at http://bit.ly/10W17nX.
With Harker applying for a $5 million grant from the Valley Foundation to support its capital campaign for a performing arts and gymnasium complex, the school launched an end of the year appeal called “5-for-5,” asking those who had not yet contributed to Harker’s annual campaign to donate $5, $50, $500 or $5,000 to help secure the $5 million.
For a number of years Harker’s advancement team has sought to emphasize how important it is for schools seeking financial support from foundations to have a high percentage of participation from parents contributing to annual operations via the annual giving campaign – the amount of the donation is not as important as the commitment to donate.
This year, the message really got out and now just over 80 percent of Harker parents are contributing to the annual fund. “I think the word spread because we were able to be very specific about exactly which foundation we were applying to and the large amount of money that we are seeking. That made it very real for people,” said Joe Rosenthal, executive director of advancement.
“Response was tremendous, with hundreds of gifts coming in during the last week of the fiscal year,” reported Melinda Gonzales, managing director of advancement, of the temporary fundraising drive. “Even a five-dollar gift from a family helps increase our parental participation level,” she said.
Although the appeal was aimed at parents, the 5-for-5 campaign attracted the attention of grade 3 student Daniel Wu, who donated money he had won in a piano recital to the cause.
“I participated in a piano competition and won $200! I practiced hard for about two years and decided to donate half my prize money to Harker because it is and always will be my favorite school,” said Wu, adding that he loves all the fun activities at Harker such as the picnic and fashion show.“I want to contribute to the 5-for-5 program to make Harker even more successful.”
“What an incredible third grader, to be thinking about giving back at such a young age!” noted Elise Robichaud, who teaches grade 3 language arts, voicing how proud she was to be his teacher.