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.

List of 27 frequently asked questions.

  • Q. 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!
  • Q. 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.
  • Q. 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.
  • Q. 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.
  • Q. 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.
  • Q. 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. 
  • Q. 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.
  • Q. What is Parker's annual giving goal?

    Our goal is for 2016-2017 is to raise $3.5 million to support the Heart of Campus, endowment and current-use operating funds through the Gala and Day of Giving. 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. 
  • Q. 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.
  • Q. 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.
  • Q. 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.
  • Q. 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.
  • Q. 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.
  • Q. How do I make my gift?

    The easiest and quickest way is to go through our website: www.francisparker.org/givenow. 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.
  • Q. 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.
  • Q. 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.
  • Q. How do I get involved in the annual giving campaign?

    Email advancement@francisparker.org. Volunteers team up with the Advancement Office to encourage parents, grandparents, alumni, parents of alumni and friends to support the School.
  • Q. 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.
  • Q. 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 2015-2016 fiscal year, Parker's ratio was about $19,000 per student compared to an average of $46,000 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.
  • Q. 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.
  • Q. What is the endowment investment strategy, and how has it changed in recent years?

    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.     
  • Q. 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 29 basis points compared to 67 basis points before this change.
  • Q. 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 2016, the balance was more than $23 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.
  • Q. How can I get more information about giving to Parker?

    Contact the Advancement Office at 858 / 569-7900 or advancement@francisparker.org.
  • Q. 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 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.
  • Q. Does income from the endowment have a significant impact on the School's budget?

    Yes. In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, funding from the endowment spend rate contributed to 1.8 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.
  • Q. Can 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 percent over the last 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. Many gifts to Parker's endowment are unrestricted, allowing the School to direct proceeds to areas of greatest need.
Francis Parker School is a private, independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12 from across San Diego County. Founded in 1912, the Lower School is located on the Mission Hills Campus with the Upper and Middle Schools on the Linda Vista Campus. Parker's mission is to inspire a diverse community of independent thinkers whose academic excellence, global perspective and strength of character prepare them to make a meaningful difference in the world.

Mission Hills Campus Lower School

4201 Randolph Street
San Diego, CA 92103
 

Linda Vista Campus Middle/Upper School

6501 Linda Vista Road
San Diego, CA 92111
858 / 569-7900