A week from today is July 1, an uneventful turn of the calendar that marks the true start of summer for many. For all of us at Proctor, it is the start of a new fiscal year. Proctor's June 30 fiscal year end marks the end of the 2021-2022 annual giving cycle. We don't talk often about school finances, but as a 501(c)3 non-profit, Proctor relies on tax-deductible donations to meet its operating budget, a budget that unlocks a world of opportunities for our students.
Proctor’s financial model is complex and requires a roughly $23,000,000 operating budget each year. As is the case with most tuition-driven independent schools (like Proctor), tuition only covers a portion of total costs required to deliver our educational model, and, in turn, we rely on the generosity and commitment of donors to bridge this gap between tuition revenue and operating expenses. With an unrestricted annual giving goal of $1,600,000 for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, the Proctor Fund represents roughly 7% of the school’s overall operating budget.
At this point in the summer, we have decompressed a bit from the school year, allowing us to think critically about why we do what we do as educators and independent school employees. Why have we committed our lives to working at a boarding school? Why have our parents chosen to entrust their children to us at Proctor? Why did our students fall in love with this school in the first place? The answers to these questions find common ground in the unique way Proctor seeks to fulfill its mission: through relationships with each other.
These relationships sit at the core of our work fundraising for Proctor. We know that most people do not just give for the sake of giving, but give because of a relationship they have or an impact they have experienced. The breakdown of donors to the Proctor Fund each year speaks to the depth of impact Proctor has on its families as roughly a third of all support comes from alumni, a third from parents of alumni, and a third from current parents. Each constituency connects to Proctor in a unique way. Each desires to give back to the programs, people, and sense of place that shaped their connection.
The Proctor Magic is present in every conversation a teacher has with students in the classroom, is present at every Sunday night dorm meeting, and inspires the pre-game pep talk each Wednesday afternoon. It is a magic that is hard to articulate on a website or in a blog post like this, but is deeply felt when you engage in the hard work of building community alongside one another. It is also a magic that does not just "happen", but requires investment from those who believe in its power.
Every gift matters, and we don’t just say that to boost our numbers. Without a wide base of support (we will have over 1,300 donors to the Proctor Fund this year), the work we seek to accomplish with our students is simply not possible. Whether you are able to give $5 or $5,000, your generosity and commitment to Proctor matters. Consider a gift to the Proctor Fund if you have not yet given this year. It will make a difference.