- Buzz From The Hive
Participation Matters: The Continuing Legacy of St. Benedict's Prep
"This place doesn't exist without philanthropy," emphasizes Chief Advancement Officer Mike Fazio. “And the Class of 2023 understands that.”
For the past 10 years, the Senior Class Gift Campaign has been an opportunity for the graduating class to participate in the Annual Fund and become educated about how their soon-to-be alma mater is able to carry on. It often comes as a surprise to them that St. Benedict's operating budget is nearly $19 million annually. And every year — due to inflation, rising healthcare costs and other factors – it continues to grow.
“St. Benedict's is different from other private schools, where families pay tuition and it pretty much covers the cost of operations,” said Seth De Matas ’23, the coordinator of the Senior Gift Campaign for the Boys Prep Division. Funding operational expenses through tuition alone would be antithetical to Benedict’s mission to ensure children in underserved communities have access to quality education. With over 86% of students receiving financial aid, families pay what they can, which typically covers around $6 million dollars of the school's operating costs. "If we only relied on tuition, we'd have to close before Christmas," states Fazio.
The majority of funding for St. Benedict's comes from alumni and friends. This is why it is important to emphasize early and often to current students that they need to stay connected to this place and give back like others have done for us.
The Advancement Office works diligently to raise the remaining funds necessary from individual donors, corporations and foundations, with a small amount coming from a limited, but growing, endowment. Fortunately, the Benedict's community feels compelled to do what they can to keep the School thriving for future generations. With over 37% of the school's alumni giving back annually, St. Benedict’s has one of the strongest alumni support networks in the country. "Every year for the last eight years, our alumni participation has grown. Despite COVID, despite everything we've been through as a country, more and more alums have been giving. We don't want that to stop," shares Fazio.
“The majority of funding for St. Benedict's comes from alumni and friends. This is why it is important to emphasize early and often to current students that they need to stay connected to this place and give back like others have done for us,” said Samantha Richardson, the point person for the Girls Prep Division’s Senior Gift Campaign. “Scholarships, athletics, the counseling center and nearly every building here only exist because of donor support.”
Now, more than ever, generations of Gray Bees are connected in the digital age, coming together to support brothers and sisters they have yet to meet. "I can say that about every person at Benedict's. I can call them my brothers. We may not talk every day, but I can't think of one person I wouldn't be able to reach out to for help." states Seun Eisape '20. Philanthropy is essential to strengthening Benedict's community. It allows the alumni network to grow and puts students in a position to reach out to their fellow brothers and sisters. Alums support students' efforts to get into college, find job placement and support those simply seeking advice.
The Class of 2023 is being reminded that the size of their gift doesn’t matter. Participation is what counts. "It's very important to remember that Benedict's is a special place. You hear it all the time, but it's impossible to know what that means until you leave," said Eisape, who recently was able to secure a $20,000 grant for St. Benedict's through a summer fellowship program. Director of Annual Giving Lauren Alampi is working with DeMatha and Richardson on energizing the senior class to make a gift. "A latte at Dunkin’ costs $4.29. It may seem like a small amount, but I can promise you, it makes a difference," shares Alampi.
- Buzz From The Hive