A seemingly uneventful turn of the calendar to July next week is actually quite significant for those of us who work on the “business” side of Proctor’s operations. Like many academic institutions, Proctor's June 30 fiscal year end marks the end of the 2020-2021 annual giving cycle. We do not 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.
During the busyness of the academic year, we crave the pause offered during Winter Break where campus is quiet and we can refocus on the 30,000 foot perspective of why we exist as a school. We know our daily work is valuable, we see incremental progress toward our goals, and we see tangible student growth, but without moments of reflection, the context and "why" of this work can too easily be lost.
Early snowfall in central New Hampshire and cold November nights has allowed Garry George '78 and his crew at the Proctor Ski Area to create amazing early season conditions on alpine and Nordic trails. A favorite run of mine, even in the winter months, reaches the halfway point after climbing the 600 vertical feet up the backside of the Proctor Ski Area. As you emerge from the double track access road to the top of Proctor’s little big mountain, heart racing from the climb, your eyes peer out over Proctor’s campus and the village of Andover. For so many of us in the Proctor community, this view never gets old. Nor does the feeling of a change in perspective it provides.
As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Proctor Academy relies on the support of generous donors each year in order to offer the breadth of programs that distinguish Proctor as a leader in experiential learning, integrated academic support, and transformative off-campus programs. Underlying each of these programmatic differentiators is a community of faculty and staff dedicated to the individual growth of each of Proctor's 370 students. We believe our educational model is the best there is, but it requires on-going support of generous donors.
For stretches, long stretches at times, travel for the school takes me out of New Hampshire and across the country: last week, DC; this week, NYC. I meet alumni from different moments in Proctor’s history like the graduate from the late 80’s who worked for Newsweek and now is a chef; the entrepreneur who graduated in the 90’s and works out of a Manhattan shared space office; the parent who is watching their child slowly build executive functions.
Now in its fourth year, #GivingTuesday is a global day of giving following Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. Our celebration of #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season of giving. But before you jump online and press the “Give” button to support Proctor, we want to make sure you understand why your gift matters.
My 106 classmates and I have just a few days remaining in our Proctor experience. Collectively, our families will have paid almost $20 million in tuition to Proctor over the past four years. Staggering, I know. Before beginning my communications internship with Scott Allemby I had little exposure to the financial model of independent schools like Proctor Academy. I thought our school must have money to burn and I know my classmates share that assumption.