Advent Episcopal School Birmingham, Alabama 1950
Advent Episcopal School
2019 6th Avenue North
Birmingham, AL 35203
(205) 252-2535
Annual Fund Q & A
Please find below information that addresses a series of questions that have been asked regarding the need for Advent Gives, Advent Episcopal School's annual giving campaign, fundraising, and finances in general. If you have additional questions, please feel free to call the school.
Q. Where do the funds go that are raised through Advent Gives?
A. Advent truly believes that our students can go anywhere they desire. To help reach this point, the school relies on an annual giving campaign, named Advent Gives. These gifts from parents, grandparents, faculty and staff, students, alumni and friends are a vital source of revenue. Annual gifts, which are received and spent in the same year, have an immediate impact on the things that make Advent special - scholarships, great teaching and faculty excellence, facility upgrades and technology, to name a few. Click here to see our Advent Gives video.

Q. I do not think I can make a large gift to Advent. What do you recommend?
A. The size of the gift is not what is important. The fact that you give is critical. Outside agencies use the percentage of giving by parents as a barometer of how well a school is doing. If parents are happy and support the mission of the school, percentages of giving are high. Conversely, unhappy parents don't contribute to their schools. Advent will be approaching foundations to help raise substantial amounts. They will look at the parental giving percentages. If they see great support from our parents, it tends to make the award much greater. This is how your gift to Advent, even if it's $10, gets translated into a much larger contribution. Give what you can, but please give something. It will work wonders!

Q. Where will funds go in this year’s Annual Giving Campaign?
A. If we are fortunate enough to exceed our budgeted amount supporting the operational needs of the school, several things are on the wish list including NueroNet for the first grade, new science lab equipment, an audio system for the gym and new access to the gym.

Q. Is a goal of 100% parent participation unreasonable?
A. It takes all of us to advance our school. We hope every parent will invest deeper financially than the baseline that tuition provides. At the same time, we understand that there are limits to each parent’s ability to contribute. We want to stress that every gift is needed and appreciated regardless of amount. For the school year 2015-16, 52% of our parent body participated in this extremely important campaign. This year's goal is 100%.  The most important element of this campaign is to get as close to the 100% mark as possible. Please consider giving.

Q. Why does Advent not charge what it takes to educate a child at Advent Episcopal School?
A. Simply put, if we charged the full amount of tuition needed to educate each child, there is likelihood that many students would not be able to attend Advent. This in turn would increase overall tuition for everyone as the economies of scale would be affected. The average cost of educating an Advent student is significantly more than revenue from tuition and fees. This gap must be made up through fundraising efforts. There is also value in each parent investing beyond the basic rate of tuition. The percentage of those giving serves as a barometer for where the school is relative to support for its mission and also helps us as we potentially approach various foundations. Foundations often ask what percentage of parents participated in the Annual Giving Campaign. For the 2015-16 school year, parent participation was at 52%.  We would love to increase that percentage to 100% for the 2016-17 year. Please consider giving.

Q. Is it possible to have a fundraising calendar so we can see what is coming next?
A. A fundraising calendar can be found on our website under Giving. Our goal is to set this calendar in late spring each year so all involved can plan effectively. Each fund/fun raising initiative is important to the school. We hope that everyone finds value not only in what tuition brings to the school but what some of these fundraising efforts do as well. Annual giving, named Advent Gives this year, begins in October and ends on January 31, 2017. If you shop where the school can receive a percentage of cash back to the school at no cost to you, then please do so. If you like the wrapping paper or wreaths the school sells, and you see them as a value, please purchase them from the school. If you are going to buy books, please buy them through our Book Fair or by denoting Advent on your AmazonSmile account. The auction, which this year was held on Saturday, March 11, 2017, is also a wonderful way to help the school.  There are plenty of opportunities for participation.

Q. Could you please list the various methods/events that the school uses for fundraising?
A. Annual Giving: Our most important annual fundraiser. It supports operations of the school and other prioritized enhancements. 52% of our parents gave last year. Our goal this year is 100% parent participation. Every gift is needed and appreciated, regardless of amount.

The Auction is held every other year with proceeds supporting the school at roughly $60,000 per year toward operational needs and financial aid. This year's event is scheduled for Saturday, March 11, 2017 at the Haven.  This year's event follows two themes: building community- strenghtening ties within our school and establishing strong relationships between Advent and the downtown community, and bolstering the arts programming at Advent.

Book Fair: This is an opportunity for parents, grandparents, and friends of the school not only to help the school’s library by buying needed books, but also to add to your (or your child’s) personal book collection. Historically, the annual book fair brings in 200-300 new books per year while also granting several teachers wishes from the teacher wish list.

Wrapping Paper: Our wrapping paper provides our families with quality holiday wrapping paper. Proceeds generally supplement the cost of sending faculty and staff to the AAIS (Alabama Association of Independent Schools) Conference in October, as well as to provide other professional development opportunities.

Christmas Wreaths: The income from these fragrant, fresh cut wreaths from Maine has traditionally helped fund financial assistance. The deadline to order is November 15, 2016.

Lessons and Carols: Collection during the service offsets costs of the Service, with 10% of the collection going to the Rick Phillips Community Service Fund.

Supply Kits: The supply kits contain school supplies needed for students at the beginning of the school year. While this is not a requirement, participation is encouraged as volume buying often makes all items needed more reasonably priced, and it is certainly easier than shopping in early August. In addition, a percentage of funds that are raised go to the school.The opportunity to purchase these kits begins in early June.

Other Gifts over the course of the last year that may not be annual events but provided critical support for Advent’s current and future needs include

Craig and Una Battles Fund: This fund was established in 2013 honoring Craig and Una Battles’ dedication to Advent. The fund originated from the 2013 Auction with gifts totaling $100,000. The school has spent $50,000 on various technology projects.

Rick Phillips Community Service Fund: This fund was established to help our students appreciate the importance of servant leadership. Ten percent of the Lessons and Carols’ collection, roughly $600.00, provided the initial gift establishing this fund. An additional gift of $3000.00 was made in honor of a former student.

Endowment: In addition to growth due to an effective strategy, the school received a $50,000 gift during the 2013-2014 year honoring Mrs. Battles' dedication to the school. Continued growth in the endowment from solid leadership and additional gifts will be critical for our school’s future.

Q. Can you explain the difference between tuition assistance and scholarships? What is the process?
A. In many institutions, a scholarship implies that a grant was awarded for some type of merit. Tuition assistance is based only on demonstrated financial need. There is an application process that all recipients go through prior to being awarded an annual tuition assistance grant. This application process can be found on our website on the Admissions page. At Advent, we do not issue any merit based grants. The term scholarship is really referring to tuition assistance. Some believe that tuition assistance costs the school money. This is simply not true. If aid is distributed appropriately, implying that only those who would not otherwise attend Advent receive it, our aid process generates revenue for the school. In turn, this helps keep tuition dollars lower for all families than if no aid were offered at all. Wreath sales, some auction funds, designated endowment funds, and a portion of budget dollars are also used to fund tuition assistance.
Advent Gives By Class