by Will Wyman
Director of Development & Alumni Relations
When faced with ambitious projects, such as with the building of the Great Wall of China or embarking on a major construction project, there is an old Chinese proverb that helps keep things in perspective: “Many hands make light work.” Fortunately, such is the case with Ojai Valley School, as philanthropic trends over the past few years continue to be positive. This year a record 750 gifts were received totaling more than $1,450,000 in support of this special school, establishing a new standard that will help provide increased financial support for academic and extracurricular programs, financial aid and scholarships, professional development and campus improvements.
This effort includes 535 donors – alumni, parents, past parents, grandparents, friends, faculty and staff — who have contributed over $364,000 in unrestricted and restricted annual gifts. Many of these loyal constituents represent a new generation of donors, 130 in fact, who not only supported the Annual Fund but also stretched to make meaningful and significant capital gifts, or multi-year pledges, in support of much-needed campus improvement projects as identified in The Next 100 Campaign.
Phase I progress report
Please join us in acknowledging the following individuals for their exceptional and wonderful support of the school, representing this new generation of donors: Missy and Eric Stoen for creating the $50,000 Stoen Family Challenge fund, which generated more than $150,000 in gifts during the challenge period. Special thanks to Alan Teague (L53) for his help in reaching out to all the Lower Campus alumni, resulting in more than $95,000 in generous gifts from 95 loyal alums, and to Tony Thacher (L55) for his help on the Campaign’s Honorary Committee, appearing in a compelling cameo role for the promotional “Talking Shop” video featured on the OVS website, and for successfully contacting a number of Lower Campus alumni siblings.
One of the priorities this fiscal year is capital fundraising for the Founder’s Shop and Art Studio project, Phase I of The Next 100 Campaign. The school stands to benefit greatly from new capital gifts or pledges towards this historic project to restore what was once called “the hub” of Lower Campus. There are a number of naming opportunities that remain available which might be attractive to any other potential donors. Please contact the Development Office if you have any questions.
That’s all good news, but the fact remains that Phase I, the Founder’s Shop & Art Studio project is only 85% funded. Although we are truly grateful for the influx of generous capital gifts from our new generation of donors and have received more than $1.3 million in contributions restricted to this project since The Next 100 Campaign was initiated, we still need to raise another $200,000 towards our budgeted goal and fundraising target of $1.5 million. Final approvals came from the Planning Commission in October and construction is expected to start in March 2014 with completion expected in the late summer of 2014.
Phase II progress report
The school has also benefitted from lead gifts earmarked for the Upper Campus dormitory renovation projects, Phase II of The Next 100 Campaign. Special thanks to Spencer Garrett (L62 U65) and David Trudeau, both of whom serve on the Board of Trustees, for their leadership and pledge to provide funding for the renovation of one of the Boys’ Dorm rooms, which will serve as a model and template for the work to follow. We also extend our sincere appreciation to Shirley Wang, CEO of PlastPro, Inc. for her pledge to donate new doors for the renovations at Upper Campus. These projects will commence this summer.
Please look for a final update later in the fall when we will publish the 2012-13 Annual Report. As Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “The great thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving.” Thanks to such generous support from our loyal Spuds and extended family, Ojai Valley School is indeed moving in a positive direction!