Giving Frequently Asked Questions

Why Should I Give?

Your gift 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!

Who Gives to Parker? Are Students and Faculty Asked to Give?

Parents, students, alumni, grandparents, parents of alumni, and 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 and staff, and their participation rates are among the highest. Both campaigns are met with excitement, and participation has grown steadily over the years.

What Can my Gift Support?
Parker seeks support for three purposes:
1) Long-term investment in the School (arts, academics, and athletics) through annual gifts to the endowment
2) Student financial assistance through current-use gifts at the Gala
3) Faculty professional development through current-use gifts on the Day of Giving

There are times when the School seeks philanthropic support for strategic initiatives and priorities, such as the Head of School Scholarship Program which ensures qualified students have access to a Parker education. 
Can I Choose Where I 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: Contributions and sponsorships are designated to the current-use fund for student financial assistance.
Day of Giving: Contributions are designated to the current-use fund for faculty professional development and salaries. 

Alumni Giving Day: Contributions are designated to the Alumni Impact Fund, which supports Parker's greatest needs.

Donors sometimes designate gifts to specific programs, teams, activities, and school divisions. For fairness and equity, we encourage supporting Parker's endowment to leverage the collective power of everyone's giving or current-use funds for students and faculty. 
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.

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.

Why Doesn't Tuition Cover the Cost of 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 $2,450 a student. Enhancements to educational offerings, facilities, and financial assistance expand the gap.

What is Parker's Annual Giving Goal?

Our annual goal is to raise more than $2 million to support Parker's endowment and current-use funds through the Gala, Day of Giving, and Alumni Giving Day. Additionally, 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.

How Many Times Will I Be Asked to Give?

Families are asked to support Parker a few times a year:

  • Twice during the first half of the fiscal year (July-December), once for annual giving for endowment and once for the current-use fund for faculty professional development through the Day of Giving. For those who haven't yet contributed by mid-Spring, they will be asked 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 ask is during the second half of the fiscal year (January-June) to support the current-use fund for student financial assistance through the Gala. Those who attend the Gala or seek to support it in other ways, such as corporate sponsorships or buying an auction item, are encouraged to take part.

If you are an alumnus/na, you will be asked during Alumni Giving Day to support the greatest needs of the School. 

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.

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.

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 (current-use fund for student financial assistance/Gala)
  • Fund a fellowship (current-use fund for faculty professional development/Day of Giving)
  • 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.
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.
In the Report, Parker recognizes annual donors in the following gift levels:
Founders Circle: $25,000 and above
Centennial Circle: $10,000-$24,999
Head of School Circle: $5,000-$9,999
Window Society: $2,500-$4,999
Lancer Society: $1,000-$2,499
Brown and Gold Society: $500-$999
Teal Society: up to $499
In addition, Parker also recognizes donors in special cumulative and loyalty giving societies. 
How Do I Make My Gift?

The easiest and quickest way is to go through our website: 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.

How Do I Create a Named Endowment 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.

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.

How Do I Get Involved in the Annual Giving Campaign?

Email Volunteers team up with the Advancement Office to encourage parents, grandparents, alumni, parents of alumni, and friends to support the School.

Can I Make a Pledge To The School?

Gifts of $2,500-$4,999 or more can be pledged over a period of up to three years and gifts of $5,000 and above can be pledged over a period of up to five years; all pledges must have 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.

What is Parker's Endowment? How Does Giving To It Differ From Other Types of Giving?

Endowment gifts provide a source of perpetual support for Parker. All funds held in the endowment are invested in accordance with Parker's Investment Policy Statement (IPS), which is approved annually by the Board of Trustees. The accumulated investment earnings from these investments are available to support Parker's operating needs, subject to the purposes specified by donors. Without the donor's consent, the original value of an endowed gift may not be depleted. Included in the IPS is Parker's spending rate, the amount of investment earnings Parker is authorized to release each year from the endowment to support its operating needs. The spending rate is currently 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 over a three-year period provides $700,000 of funding support each year.

Why Does Parker Need To Grow Its Endowment Now?
So we can:
  • Support long-term financial health;
  • Sustain educational excellence;
  • Honor our commitment to make Parker accessible and affordable through financial assistance;
  • Help minimize 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) peer schools. At the end of the 2018-2019 fiscal year, Parker's ratio was about $25,000 per student compared to an average of $50,000 per student among BIC peer schools (e.g., Campbell-Hall School, Harvard-Westlake School, Marlborough School); and
  • Preserve and develop programs that meet the needs of our students, now and in the future.
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 funding from the endowment spending rate is not the same as the return on investments held in the endowment. Investment earnings in excess of the spending rate (3.5-percent) are kept in the endowment to preserve its purchasing power against inflation, to provide a cushion for periods of poor market performance, and to accelerate growth over time. Most importantly, gifts to the endowment provide a reliable financial base that Parker can count on when planning for future programs, regardless of how the market is performing.

What is The Endowment Investment Strategy, and How Has it Changed?

In July 2013, Parker adopted a more passive investment management approach under which its endowment assets are invested in broadly diversified funds across different assets classes. Asset allocation decisions are made by the Investment Committee, a subcommittee of the Finance Committee, within ranges set forth in Parker's Investment Policy Statement (IPS). This approach gives Parker the flexibility to react to changing market conditions while also ensuring that the endowment is appropriately diversified across different asset classes.    

Who Manages Parker's Endowment Investments? What Are the Investment Fees?

Primary oversight of the endowment portfolio comes from the Investment Committee. In addition to monitoring the endowment portfolio, the Investment Committee reviews the performance of the endowment annually with the Finance Committee and Board of Trustees. In July 2013, as part of a decision to adopt a more passive investment management approach, Parker transferred its endowment portfolio to Dimensional Fund Advisors, an investment firm with more than $400 billion under management. As a result of this decision, investment fees are about 25 basis points compared to 67 basis points before this change.

How Has the Endowment Performed Recently?

At the end of June 2013, the balance in Parker's endowment fund was approximately $16 million. At the end of June 2019, the balance was more than $33 million. Investment returns over this period averaged approximately 5.5 percent per year, about the same rate of return as the benchmark indices Parker uses to measure investment performance.

Does Income From the Endowment Budget Have a Significant Impact on The School's Budget?

Yes. In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, funding from the endowment spend rate contributed about two-percent to Parker's budget. Without the endowment as a stable and growing source of income, Parker would need to impose higher tuition increases or cut back on programs. As the endowment grows, so will Parker's ability to sustain exceptional programs while minimizing tuition increases.

Can The Endowment Gifts Support Any Type of Program Need At The School?
Yes. Parker'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. Parker has increased the amount of tuition revenue designated for financial assistance from 13 percent to 15.5 percent over the last four 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. Many gifts to Parker's endowment are unrestricted, allowing the School to direct proceeds to areas of greatest need.
How Can I Get More Information About Giving To Parker?
Contact the Advancement Office at 858-569-7900 or