A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF
INVEST IN EXCELLENCE: FRONT & CENTER
June 30 marked the end of a banner year for Walnut Hill's comprehensive campaign, Invest in Excellence: Front & Center, and we'd like to thank you for your role in making that possible! We witnessed a dramatic change in the campus landscape with the highly anticipated opening of the Delbridge Family Center for the Arts, the first new dedicated arts building in the School's history. We took our campaign public last fall, and visited with more than 300 alumni, parents, and friends during the course of the year. By the end of June, thanks to your generous participation, we had received $2.6 million in charitable gifts for the School, with $1.1 million allocated to the Annual Fund. Even more remarkable, the campaign has now raised $14.4 million, and we are well positioned to exceed our $15 million goal as we enter the final year of this comprehensive fundraising effort. It's been a great year, made possible by your investment in the School we all love, and we want to extend our deepest appreciation to you. Please read on for the highlights.
Chief Advancement Officer
UNVEILING A NEW ARTS CENTER
On September 8, the Walnut Hill community celebrated the official opening of the Delbridge Family Center for the Arts with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. During the 2016–2017 school year, this new building, designed for maximum artistic flexibility, hosted more than 40 performances, concerts, recitals, exhibitions, and receptions. It inspired collaboration, enabled innovation, fostered community, and served as the backdrop for Class Night and Prom. The Woodside Gallery, a contemporary lobby that doubles as exhibition space, is now home to the Circle Harp, a long string resonator created and donated by Luke Rothschild '89, and unveiled during Reunion Weekend. Throughout the year, we've often wondered how we managed without this new venue!
We kicked off the public phase of Invest in Excellence: Front & Center with the Campaign Launch and Opening Celebration on October 15. Guests enjoyed cocktails, dinner, and student performances representing all five art majors throughout the building, named in honor of longtime Trustee Sandra Delbridge P'00/'05 and her family.
Many donors chose to support our capital fundraising efforts by sponsoring a seat in the Mollie T. and John Byrnes Performance Studio. As of June 30, 2017, we had commitments for 61 seat sponsorships. Each sponsorship is $5,000 and is payable over multiple years. It's not too late to reserve your seat!
On Saturday, June 17, the acclaimed concert pianist George Li '13 returned to the Hill to give a benefit concert in the Delbridge Center. In addition to raising funds for the campaign, the concert marked the first time a Walnut Hill alumnus performed in the new arts center. We look forward to hosting more of our talented alumni on campus in the years ahead.
MAINTAINING A STRONG ANNUAL FUND
This past year, we raised $1.1 million in unrestricted, current use gifts from nearly 1,100 donors to enhance the student experience, invest in our faculty, support financial aid, and more. We gratefully acknowledge the generosity of 295 parents (both current and past), 77 faculty and staff members, 129 students (including all of our most recent graduating class), 145 friends, and 432 alumni, representing the Classes from 1940 to 2016. Unrestricted funds give Walnut Hill the opportunity to recruit and retain phenomenal faculty members who bring their expertise to our classrooms and studios as they mentor and teach our students. The Annual Fund also supports our $3.9 million financial aid budget, which helps us attract and enroll promising young artists who would not otherwise have the financial resources to attend the School.
Highlights from the year included our third annual Holiday Telethon in December, which featured webcast performances from the most erudite to the sublime in raising a record $74,000, and Give Day, a one-day giving campaign on May 23 that inspired 367 donors in 24 hours to make a gift, far exceeding our goal of 300 gifts.
We have been struck again and again by the extraordinary generosity of the Walnut Hill community and are pleased to report that 100% of Board of Trustees members, 81% of faculty and staff, 50% of our current parents, 100% of the senior class, and 12% of alumni gave a charitable gift to the School in the past fiscal year. Thank you all!
GROWING THE ENDOWMENT
At $16 million, the size of Walnut Hill's endowment falls below the 25th percentile of 243 boarding schools in the United States, Canada, and abroad, according to self-reported data from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS). Growing Walnut Hill's endowment is a key priority of the campaign, as a larger endowment allows us to achieve long-term financial stability and to secure our promise to future students. This past year, we received two significant bequests: a $300,000 gift from the estate of Lueza Thirkield Gelb '48, and a $144,000 gift from the estate of Mary Bartlett Reynolds '48. We are incredibly grateful to these two women—and to so many others who came before them—who were thoughtful enough to remember the School in their estate plans and whose extraordinary gifts create a lasting legacy on the Hill for generations to come. We also welcomed 22 new members to the Beatrice J. Edgerly Ellison Circle, our legacy-giving society. In the year ahead, we invite you to talk with us about ways to leave your own mark on Walnut Hill with a bequest, beneficiary designation, trust, or other planned gift.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR INVESTMENT IN WALNUT HILL—YOUR SUPPORT ENSURES THAT THE EDUCATION OF YOUNG ARTISTS REMAINS
"FRONT & CENTER."