Inspiring Life-long Learning for 25 Years
Thirty-three members of our community came together on Saturday, March 5th to "put our money where our mouth is." We came together with the goal of allocating a large chunk of the funds raised through this year's Giving Circle initiative—a collaborative, cooperative form of giving that is the first of its kind at our school. The first $10,000 of Giving Circle funds went directly to meet the school's budgetary needs, leaving $11,400 for us to use for Giving Circle projects! A month in advance, all contributors to the Giving Circle were invited to submit proposals, detailing their vision for how they would like these funds to be used. On event night, ten excellent proposals were on the table for consideration.
As each family arrived for the Giving Circle event, they were given a small pile of color-coded sticky notes. We soon learned that these sticky notes represented real dollars—green was worth $100, orange worth $50 and blue worth $30. The funds were evenly divided amongst the families present for the event. Each of the ten proposals was represented by a large white poster on the wall—a blank canvas inviting our "sticky note votes."
We enjoyed snacks, drinks, and social time, then Matt Myren explained the Giving Circle process and skillfully directed the flow of the evening. To begin, each person who had submitted a proposal took about 2-3 minutes to introduce and advocate for their idea. Questions were asked and answered, then the "voting" began. White posters were quickly peppered with colorful sticky notes as the projects came to life in front of our eyes. Dollar "votes" for each proposal were then tallied. For the first round of voting, any proposal that received enough dollars to be 50%-funded remained on the wall; the rest of the proposals were removed, and any "sticky note votes" they had received were allocated to proposals that were still standing. For the second round of voting, a proposal needed 80% funding to remain in play. At this point, Circle members were invited to contribute extra dollars directly to their favorite project(s) to bring them up to "fully funded" status.
Our group came to a consensus in very short measure. Extra dollars were pledged to a couple of projects on the spot. In the true spirit of the evening, a waiting list of contributors was even created for one of the projects—"just in case it needs more." At the end of the night, six of our ten proposals were fully funded and will come to pass!
The Giving Circle event reflected the heart and soul of our community in a direct and tangible way. We were able to see first-hand what can be accomplished when people come together with shared values, shared goals, like minds, and a spirit of collaboration. The best part: the children of DVWS will benefit directly and immediately from these expanded programs, opportunities and experiences!
Thank you to every single person involved in this process—to Kristine Fiskum, who brought the vision, to the faculty, board and administration who embraced it, to everyone who contributed and those who invited your families, friends and employers to contribute, to those who submitted proposals for consideration, to those who participated in the event, as well as those who helped bring it together, handled the logistics, and enabled it to run smoothly. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!
FULLY FUNDED! Edible Landscape (proposed by Jory Blauer) Will bring an edible landscape to our school yard, which would also serve as a visual barrier to beautify the outdoor environment of our school. Plantings will include plum, cherry, apple and pear trees, arctic/hardy kiwi raspberries and more.
FULLY FUNDED! Teacher Mentoring for 2016-2017 School year (proposed by Kristine Fiskum) Will bring professional, experienced mentors for on-site visits to guide and assist our teachers.
Fifteen Passenger Van (proposed by Joe Anderson)
FULLY FUNDED! Greenhouse (proposed by Lynda Julian) A greenhouse to be used by Farm & Garden programs and Farm-To-Table Lunch and Service projects.
German Language Instruction (proposed by Al & Anna Arias) Would reintroduce the instruction of the German language into the school curriculum.
FULLY FUNDED! Eurythmy Block Will bring 3-week block of Eurythmy to grades 1-8 during the 2016-2017 school year
Woodworking (proposed by Deepti Patel) Would officially reintroduce Woodworking back to DVWS curriculum.
Play Yard beautification, upgrades & improvements (proposed by Donna Brooks)
FULLY FUNDED! Farm to Table Lunch and Service Program (proposed by Elizabeth English) Will build in cabinetry, countertop and storage space just off the kitchen to accommodate an expanded Lunch and Service Program.
FULLY FUNDED! Teacher Development Funds (proposed by Christine Grafft and Gerson Avila) Will provide funds to lessen the amount of out-of-pocket cost associated with yearly teacher training and travel.
My name is Jory Blauer, I have two boys enrolled at Da Vinci Waldorf School— one in EC and one as a first grader. This is our fourth year with the school, so we have been a part of both major fundraising models—the Annual Fund & the Giving Circle. I can honestly say that my wife Mea and I gave slightly less to the Giving Circle this year than we did to the Annual Fund the prior year, but we donated what we could, and felt really good about the process.
The annual fund of the past was promoted as a fundraiser to meet a budgetary deficit, thereby making it a very pressure-filled donation. Giving to the annual fund of the past felt like more of an obligation, as opposed to the newly-formed Giving Circle, which personally left me feeling optimistic, and frankly proud of our community.
I was in attendance for the Giving Circle night, and even had a proposal on the floor for approval. In a word, the Giving Circle night felt like FAMILY. I have known most of the parents in attendance for nearly four years, but there was something different in everyone's eyes and faces that night. We, the parents, were empowered. We, the parents, were proud. We, the parents, were seeing first hand the power of giving.
I firmly believe that this method of supporting our children and our school will have lasting effects. I personally plan to give much more next year, and I hope you join me.