DVWS Giving Circle 2019 - Recap, Proposal Summary & Thanks

This year's fourth annual Giving CircleGivingcircle10f2 fund sharing event took place on Saturday February 9th. We spent a few hours together building friendships while making decisions about how to spend this year's fund.

We had excellent turnout this year. Thirty-six parents, faculty, staff and board members gathered together to consider six proposals which had been submitted by various Giving Circle members in the week leading up to the event. We even had one attendee via Skype! We began with our largest fund ever—slightly over $21,000.00 in the fund. By the end of the evening we had fully funded all six of the proposed projects and expanded a couple of them beyond their requested amounts. You can see a summary of the projects below.

A true community spirit comes to life each year at the Giving Circle event. Over the course of the evening votes were placed and even more dollars were pledged. In the end, the Giving Circle was able to put over $25,000 toward projects to build our school and strengthen it from the inside out.

It's humbling and inspiring to witness shared support of a common purpose. That's what the Giving Circle is! It's an opportunity, open to all, to play an integral part our school's direction and focus. It's an invitation to lead, to have a say, and to share any vision you have for your child's school experience. This year thirty-six of us made the decisions that will be carried out in the coming year. What do you think of the projects that were funded? Will you join us next year?

There are so many thanks to go around! Thank you to Amin Setoodeh for so generously giving of his time by serving as our emcee and event leader for the evening. Thank you to each and every Giving Circle member who attended the event or sent votes by proxy. Thank you to those who made a donation and trusted the group to put your money to work in the best way possible for the community. Thank you to those who stepped up to fill a specific need with additional donations during the Giving Circle event—we appreciate your willingness to go above and beyond. Thank you to those who submitted proposals for consideration—we are grateful for your leadership. Thank you to everyone who invited friends and family to share in our vision. Thank you to every one of the mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends of our students who see the worth and value of what we do for the children you love, and who so generously support our efforts. Our gratitude overflows!

Giving Circle 2019 Project Summary

The following six projects were fully or partially funded by the Giving Circle and will be carried out over the next year!

AWSNA Conferences $580

"Travel, housing, and meal funds for our AWSNA delegate to go to the 2019 conference in Philadelphia. As an AWSNA candidate school on our way to full membership, it is required that we have a delegate representing our school at each of the 3 AWSNA meetings every year. The proposed amount for this year is lower than it will be in the future due to the fact that E. English (our delegate) has been accepted as a conference presenter, thereby saving the $300 conference fee. In addition, she will stay with a friend nearby, thus eliminating the need for housing costs. Ultimately, this amount will be in our annual budget and, as we will need 2 delegates once we are a full member school, it should be nearly doubled (by 2020-21)."

Part-Time Classroom Assistant / Swing Grade School Teacher $6000

A part-time assistant teacher to be hired for: teaching specific periods (math, language arts, painting, modeling, etc.); performing classroom preparation duties (student work grading and editing, etc); serving as a substitute teacher across grade levels as needed. This position allows class teachers additional and much- needed non-contact preparation time for the following responsibilities: Morning Lesson preparation time, report writing, Curriculum Night event planning, festival planning, class meeting preparation, etc.

No Strings Attached Gift for All Employees: Increase Feelings of Happiness and Appreciation in the DVWS Community $4110

Research shows that giving to others, with no strings attached for either the giver or receiver, increases feelings of appreciation and happiness for both parties. Our teachers and staff provide such wonderful value for all of DVWS families, and make far less than public school teachers with similar positions. Further, we know that most teachers dip into their own pockets and use their offtime to support their classrooms. I propose that we provide a no-strings-attached cash gifts to all of our teachers and staff.

General Renovation & Expansion Fund $5480

"This proposal is meant to follow in the footsteps of proposal prepared by Joe Anderson two Giving Circles ago. As we are confronted with the need for the long term maintenance plan for our building, it is important to establish fund that would allow us to preserve the investment in our facility. The potential uses for this fund would include remodeling projects such as siding replacement, window replacement, carpet to wood floor upgrade, or any remodeling project that would aim at maintaining or increasing value of our building. At the same time, the fund would provide resources to explore potential for future expansion. Although the decision of how to use these funds is meant to be collaborative, the Board of Trustees will issue formal approval to use resources from this fund per specific project. "

New Swings and Playground Restructuring $3100

"- Remove castle structure at the back of the playground and relocate the gaga ball pit
- Install new 2-bay, 4-swing commercial structure parallel to the back fence.
- New and existing swings modified to accommodate use by EC and Grades
- Remove dirt and install playground mulch within the safety zone of the new structure"

Teacher Development $6200

"Every year, teachers spend much of their time planning and preparing--for both the current year and the years ahead. They attend trainings, work with professionals and spend countless hours reading through resources that will aid them in their endeavors. DVWS gives teachers at least $750 year towards various individual development pursuits. This amount has had to be reduced from $1000 recently, and it is essential that we have the funds to support our teachers in their work. Teachers often use this money to go to summer intensives to prepare for the year ahead, and this usually costs at least $1,300. Teachers greatly appreciate these extra funds as these opportunities support their mission and work and require less out of pocket expense."

A word from Amy Kuntz and Maurice Safavi, parents of a first grader:

Though my family has participated in Giving Circle in years past, we haven't been able to attend the fund allocation event. This year my husband and I were able to attend, and we both found the event to not only be a pleasant time to meet and unwind with other adults (which was a surprising bonus to the afternoon's events), but also an informative time which gave insight into the funding mechanisms for school priorities. Da Vinci Waldorf School is unique in many regards, and the processes used to determine fund allocations is an extension of the school's unique environment. The facilitators did an excellent job explaining the purpose of various funding requests, and supporting information was provided by faculty, community members, and board members. In the truest sense of the word, a democratic process was used to determine funding priorities. I wholeheartedly encourage other families to participate in the funding event next year. It's a lovely event which directly impacts funding decisions, and provides deeper insight into the people and processes utilized by the school.

Morgan Branson
Morgan Branson
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