As the clock ticks down to the end of the fiscal year on June 30, the Lincoln Academy Alumni and Development Office looks to close its annual fundraising campaign by meeting its ambitious goal of $225,000. With approximately six weeks until the books close, giving has crossed the $200,000 plateau for the first time in history.
The scope of the Alumni and Development program has grown in recent years — with a variety of new events and programs for alumni and parents, which has helped fuel the increase in philanthropic support. Peter Wagner, Director of the Lincoln Fund, notes that the office’s annual fundraising goal has grown significantly in recent years. “As our outreach and office staff have grown, so has the goal. Our ability to make such progress reflects the love that LA parents, alumni, and friends have for this place. It’s a testament to their commitment that we’ve been able make such progress on our goal.”
LA is, and always has been, dependent on state-determined tuition dollars that come to the school by way of towns that have school choice, in order to maintain staffing, program, and operations. In addition to having little say as to the year-over-year increase in that tuition amount, local enrollment at LA–long the main driver of the operating budget– has decreased steadily in recent years as a result of decline in demographics. As a result, contributions to the Lincoln Fund have become more critical. “When we talk to alumni and members of the community, and we explain to them that their contributions to the Lincoln Fund keep our school vibrant, we are being quite literal” says Wagner. “Those gifts go directly to LA’s bottom line. Donations to the Lincoln Fund keep the lights on, keep books on the desks, keep teachers at the front of the classrooms, and keep our athletic, music, and theater programs running. We take that role of educating our alumni and friends very seriously.”
Digging deeper into Maine’s maximum allowed tuition rates, Lincoln Academy’s funding dilemma comes into clearer focus. Not only does tuition not meet the “full cost” of educating a student at LA, the figure also does not account for major capital improvements and expenditures. As such, philanthropy has played a big role at LA for almost 20 years. “Fundraising allows us to maintain and improve our facilities, and is also responsible for some of the great new features that have come to campus in recent years,” Wagner notes. “We’ve got some truly first-rate facilities here, and they exist thanks to the generosity of our donors. The Ryder Science Wing, the beautiful Alumni Dining Commons, and the Cable-Burns Applied Technology Center, which has transformed education at Lincoln Academy. And just this school year, we’ve added the William Clark turf field, and are continuing construction on the John Bowers baseball field. These projects are the result of alumni, parents, and friends of LA stepping up and saying that they believe in our mission, and that investing in our students should be a priority for our community. We’re so thankful for that participation, and want to keep growing it. Not just want to… we need to.”
Those wishing to participate in the 2016 Lincoln Fund campaign still have time to do so. Checks can be sent to the Lincoln Fund at 81 Academy Hill, and there is also a convenient online giving option at www.lincolnacademy.org/makeagift. Discussions about capital giving or estate planning can be directed to Matt Goetting, Associate Head for Development, at 563-3599.