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Giving FAQs

Francis Parker School encourages philanthropic support so that each student's experience truly reflects our mission and values. Every gift of any size matters. Thank you in advance for your support and interest in learning more about how your gifts make a difference at the School.

1. Why should I give?
Your gift(s) advances the mission of the School, supports our culture of diversity and inclusion, ensures the best academic experience for each student and helps us bridge the gap between tuition and the cost of a Parker education. Your support matters!

2. Why doesn't tuition cover the cost of a Parker education?
The School's policy is to keep tuition increases low so a Parker education is accessible to a broad range of families. The School's financial discipline and award-winning governance ensure an exceptional education. But tuition falls short of the true cost of a Parker education, covering 91 percent. Every student at Parker is subsidized, even students who do not receive financial assistance. The gap between revenues and full cost is approximately $1,000 a student. Enhancements to educational offerings, facilities and financial assistance expand the gap.

3. Why is a culture of philanthropy important at Parker?
A strong culture of philanthropy is essential to Parker's success in its second century and beyond. This means the entire Parker community — including families receiving financial assistance — understands and acts on their responsibility to support Parker through giving.

The 2011-2012 accreditation by the California Association of Independent Schools/Western Association of Schools and Colleges urged Parker to increase philanthropic support. During this six-year accreditation term, Parker is committed to raising the number of loyal donors and strengthening the culture of philanthropy.

4. Who gives to Parker? Are students and faculty asked to give?
Parents, students, alumni, grandparents, parents of alumni, faculty and staff give generously each year, along with friends of the School. A senior-class campaign educates our students on the importance of supporting their soon-to-be alma mater. We also do a special drive among faculty/staff, and their participation rates are among the highest. Both campaigns are met with excitement, and participation has grown the past two years.

5. What is Parker's annual giving goal?
Our goal is 100 percent giving participation by current families, and faculty and staff. We are also focused on increasing support from alumni and grandparents. Another aim is to increase the School's endowment every fiscal year by over $5 million.

6. How much should I give?
We urge you to make Parker your philanthropic priority. Strong parent and alumni participation makes a powerful statement to our internal and external community. Please give what you can.

7. If I can't make a large gift, does a small gift really make a difference?
Yes! The School values every gift. This collective investment ensures excellence in the educational program. In the 2014-2015 fiscal year, 900 donors made gifts of up to $500 to be recognized in the School's Teal Society.

8. What does Parker recognize as a gift?
A donation can be recognized as either a gift or enrichment. A donation is a gift when it is recognized by the Advancement Office with a tax receipt (Gifts to Parker below). A donation is an enrichment when it enhances the Parker experience and program but is not recognized by the Advancement Office with a tax receipt (Enrichments to Parker below). For more information, visit ways to give.

Gifts to Parker

  • Cash/credit card (to Advancement Office)
  • Stock/wire transfer (to Advancement Office)
  • Irrevocable planned gift (complying with the School's Gift Acceptance Policy)
  • Fund a scholarship
  • Fund a fellowship
  • Gala event underwriting/sponsorship/unrestricted support

Enrichments to Parker

  • Silent/live auction Item (donated or bought)
  • Athletic/program goods
  • Used uniforms for Parent Association sale
  • Community service project goods
  • Hosted event (at home, work or dedicated space)
  • Classroom goods

Please note: Parker doesn't set a value on donated items or say which contributions are tax-deductible. We advise donors consult their tax advisers.

9. What can my gift support?
Parker, like other independent schools, seeks support for three purposes: 1) long-term investment and program development through gifts to the endowment, 2) operating needs through current-use gifts to the Gala and 3) improvements in physical plant through capital gifts.

The majority of gifts are invested in the School's endowment — Parker's permanent invested capital. The endowment, now over $23 million, is our financial foundation — a stable, permanent source of annual funding.

Parker's single largest fundraising event, the annual Parents Association Gala, also seeks current-use operating gifts to support student scholarships, faculty fellowships and the School's most critical needs. Since 2013, the Gala has raised over $500,000 through auctions, event sponsorships and underwriting. 

Capital gifts, solicited in accordance with Parker's Campaign efforts, fund physical improvements. For information on capital needs, please contact the Advancement Office.

10. Can I choose where to designate my gift?
Donors may designate gifts to different funds, all of which support Parker's mission:

General endowment (unrestricted): A majority of the gifts are designated to this fund, our largest. We encourage donors to select this fund since it allows the School to use the investment returns for its greatest needs.

Other endowments: These are designated, restricted funds for faculty professional development, financial assistance and program endowment. They include many named funds within restricted and general endowments.

Gala event: Contributions and sponsorships are designated to the current-use operating funds.

Donors sometimes designate gifts to specific programs, teams, activities and school divisions. For fairness and equity, we encourage supporting the general endowment to leverage the collective power of everyone's giving.

10a. Let me ask it another way....I want to support students, faculty or programs. Where do I give?

We'll show you! Click here for CHART.

11. How do I create a named endowed fund?
Named endowed funds, which add to the power of Parker’s growing endowment, reflect investment levels of $50,000 and above. Your gift to establish a named fund will help Parker continue to offer a balanced, challenging and integrated educational program from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12. Please contact the Advancement Office at 858 / 569-7900 if you are interested in creating a giving legacy at the School.

12. How many times will I be asked to give?
Families are asked to support Parker a few times a year:

  • Once is during the first half of the fiscal year (July-December) and for those who haven't yet contributed, again in the last quarter of the fiscal year (May-June). We seek 100 percent parent giving participation. Each family is asked to make a gift of any amount.
  • Another is during the second half of the fiscal year (January-June) to support current-use operations through the Gala. Those who attend the Gala or seek to support it in others ways, such as corporate sponsorships or buying an auction item, are encouraged to take part.

The Gala is a great way to meet other parents, faculty and staff, grandparents, alumni and friends of Parker. Besides the social benefits is a chance to see firsthand the impact of a Parker education on our alumni.

13. What is the matching gift program?
Many corporations and organizations match charitable gifts made by their employees. If your employer offers a matching gift program, you may be able to double or even triple your gift to Parker! Contact your human resources office to see if your organization matches charitable gifts. Please send the forms they provide to the Advancement Office, Francis Parker School, 6501 Linda Vista Road, San Diego, CA 92111.

14. Can I make a pledge to the School?
Gifts of $5,000 or more can be pledged over a period of up to five years with a fully executed gift agreement between the School and donor(s). The School has a Gift Acceptance Policy that details pledges and other gifts to Parker.

15. How do I make my gift?
The easiest and quickest way is to use our secure giving form at here For more details, including how to make gifts of stock or where to learn more about putting Parker in your will, please visit ways to give. If you prefer to write a check, make it out to "Francis Parker School," and in the memo section indicate where you want to gift to go. Send gifts to the Advancement Office, Francis Parker School, 6501 Linda Vista Road, San Diego, CA 92111. Parker's tax ID number is 95-1696720.

16. When should I make my gift? What is Parker's fiscal year?
The fiscal year is July 1 to June 30. The annual giving campaign coincides with the School's fiscal year; solicitations begin in August and continue throughout the fiscal year.

17. How are donors recognized?
Donors who make a gift to Parker during the fiscal year are listed in Parker's annual Report on Philanthropy; if a donor wishes to remain anonymous, his/her gift is listed as anonymous.

18. How do I get involved in the annual giving campaign?
Parker re-launched the annual giving volunteer program in 2014-2015 to stimulate the culture of philanthropy. The volunteers team up with the Advancement Office to encourage parents, grandparents, alumni, parents of alumni and friends to support the School.

19. What is Parker's endowment? How does giving to it differ from other types of gifts?

Endowment gifts provide a source of perpetual support for Parker. All funds held in the endowment are invested in accordance with the Investment Policy Statement (IPS) approved by the Board of Trustees. The accumulated investment earnings from these investments are available to support the School's operating needs, subject to the purposes specified by donors. Without the donor's consent, the School is legally prevented from depleting the original value of an endowed gift. Included in the IPS is the School's spending rate, the amount of investment earnings the School is authorized to release each year from the endowment to support the School's operating needs. The spending rate is now 3.5 percent of the endowment fund's average value at the end of December in each of the three preceding calendar years. This means an endowment with a $20 million average balance would provide $700,000 of funding to support the School each year.

20. Why does Parker need to grow its endowment now?
So we can:

  • Support long-term financial health
  • Sustain educational excellence
  • And honor our commitment to access and affordability through financial assistance.
  • Help control tuition increases
  • Attract and retain the very best faculty and students
  • Increase the total amount in the endowment fund on a per-student basis. Parker's ratio is well below many of our Best in California (BIC) peers. At the end of the 2012-2013 fiscal year, Parker's ratio was about $14,000 per student compared to an average of $46,000 per student among our BIC peers (Campbell-Hall, Harvard-Westlake School, La Jolla Country Day School, Marlborough School).
  • Preserve and develop programs that meet the needs of our students, now and in the future

21. Does income from the endowment have a significant impact on the School's budget?
Yes. In 2014-2015, the endowment spend rate contributed to 1.5 percent to Parker's budget. Without a stable and growing source of annual endowment income, the School would need to impose higher tuition increases or cut back on programs. As the endowment grows, so will the School's ability to sustain exceptional programs while minimizing tuition increases.

22. Can endowment gifts support any type of program need at the School?
Yes. The School's endowment is made up of smaller endowments that support financial assistance for students or provide funding for faculty and programs. Endowment for financial assistance helps Parker attract the best students from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds. The School aims to grow the amount of tuition revenue designated to financial assistance from 13 percent to 15 percent over the next three years.

Endowment gifts also support the development of new academic and co-curricular initiatives, expand our library resources and fund professional development to ensure that Parker's teachers utilize the latest and best teaching practices and technologies. The majority of gifts to Parker's endowment are unrestricted, allowing the School to direct proceeds to areas of greatest need.

23. The current endowment spend rate is 3.5 percent of endowment income. What if the endowment earns more than 3.5 percent? Why should I make a gift to Parker's endowment when I could invest it for a higher return and then give the School the earnings each year?
The annual payout from the endowment is not the same as its return on investments. Earnings in excess of the payout (3.5 percent) are returned to the endowment to preserve its purchasing power against inflation, providing a cushion for periods of poor market performance and allowing for modest growth over time. Most important, gifts to the endowment provide a stronger and more stable financial base that the School can count on when planning for future programs, regardless of how the market is performing.

24. What is the endowment investment strategy, and how has it changed in recent years?
Because the endowment is Parker's financial foundation, investments are chosen with long-term growth and stability in mind. Parker's Board of Trustees oversees the Investment Committee, which reviews the investment policy each year and provides oversight of the investment firm. Our portfolio is diversified with a healthy exposure to risk. It has flexibility to capitalize on changing market conditions and growth areas.

25. Who manages Parker's endowment investments? What are the investment fees?
The endowment is managed pursuant to the Investment Policy Statement that is reviewed and approved annually by the Board of Trustees. Primary oversight of the endowment portfolio comes from the Investment Committee, under the board's Finance Committee. In July 2013, as part of a decision to adopt a more passive investment management approach, Parker transferred its endowment portfolio into broadly diversified funds across different asset classes through Dimensional Fund Advisors, an investment firm with more than $280 billion of assets under management. As a result of this decision, investment fees were about 29 basis points for the year ended June 30, 2014, compared with more than 67 basis points in previous years.

26. How has the endowment performed recently?
At the end of the 2012-2013 fiscal year, the balance in Parker's endowment fund was about $16 million. At the end of the 2013-2014 fiscal year, the balance was about $20 million. Investment returns over this period were about 16 percent and outperformed Parker's benchmark indices by about 2 percentage points.

27. How can I get more information about giving to Parker?
Contact the Advancement Office at 858 / 569-7900 or advancement@francisparker.org.

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© 2015 Francis Parker School
Mission Hills Campus
Lower School
4201 Randolph Street
San Diego, CA 92103
619 / 298-9110
Linda Vista Campus
Middle/Upper School
6501 Linda Vista Road
San Diego, CA 92111
858 / 569-7900
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