SAINT MATTHEW'S FUND

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Pledge card 2020 2021

A Letter from the Annual Fund Chairperson

       Where do I begin about Saint Matthew’s School? We joined the Saint Matthew’s family 7 years ago, when my daughter, Olivia, started Kindergarten. Of course, we toured several private schools in the area, but there was something special about Saint Matthew’s School. My wife and I felt an immediate comfort when we arrived and have never regretted our decision. From the beginning, my wife Heidi and I were heavily involved in all of the school activities and fundraiser events. I have to say that it has been a pleasure getting to know the faculty, children, and other parents, all while having an amazingly fun time. I use the term “family” because that’s the only way to describe the relationships that we have developed over the years.
 
            As most of you know, our Saint Matthew’s family has endured several obstacles over the last few years. In August of 2019, a few weeks after the beginning of the school year, we lost our Head of School, Samuel Myers McAllister, very unexpectedly. Myers was an amazing person, and moreover, an amazing friend. Although this was a very dark time for Saint Matthew’s School, Larke Leonard took over as Head of School, and has done an amazing job at leading our school through this difficult time. Without warning, the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March of 2020. Our entire administration pulled together over the entire summer to come up with a plan for the children to come back to campus, while also offering virtual options for those who preferred that approach. The plan worked, and we have been blessed to have successfully brought everyone back to school safely, with no COVID-19 cases to date. Through all of these unfortunate set-backs, we, as a family, pulled through each of these difficult times, emerging even stronger than before.
 
            Since she has been at Saint Matthew’s, my daughter has learned how to play the piano, how to speak Spanish, how to master a computer, joined the Chorister group, joined 4-H, joined Rotary EarlyAct Club, learned how to give back to the community in so many ways, learned how to be a Christian, and also learned how to play volleyball pretty well.
 
            Through your previous generous donations, Saint Matthew’s School has evolved each year. We have Chapel, a music program, a computer lab, a Spanish program, a prayer garden, a vegetable garden, an amazing technology program, an art program, a virtual learning program, a school newspaper, a volleyball team, 4-H club, and a Gifted and Advanced Learning Lab enrichment program, providing additional academic support and advanced studies for students. We have also made numerous improvements to our campus: electronic access, cameras, playground improvements, alarm upgrades, and various building improvements.
 
            Unlike other private schools, Saint Matthew’s School is not financially supported by the Episcopal Diocese. So, the only way to further improve our school, keep tuition affordable, and attract talented teachers & staff is through your generous donations to the Saint Matthew’s Fund. Please consider donating whatever you can to support this amazing school, so that we can continue to provide the best education to our children, while also allowing them to grow spiritually in a Christian environment.
 
Thank you for your consideration,
Kendall J. Authement
Parent & SMES Board of Directors - Treasurer

Saint Matthew's Fund FAQ

The information on this page attempts to answer the most commonly asked questions about the Saint Matthew's Fund. For further questions please contact us at 985-872-5573 or by e-mail smes_info@stmattshouma.org.

1. What is the Saint Matthew’s Fund?
The Saint Matthew’s Fund is a yearly fundraising initiative that provides vital support to St. Matthew’s current operating budget. An independent school relies upon the generosity of its constituents to provide an exceptional program and environment for its students. Many of the enhancements and "extras" provided at our school are a result of each year's fund.

2. How are contributions used?
Gifts to the Saint Matthew’s Fund are unrestricted, so they can be used where they are needed the most. Every dollar given to the Saint Matthew’s Fund is used immediately to maintain excellence, by meeting the school's most important needs and opportunities, including new and ongoing programs in the classroom, and other initiatives. Your gift directly impacts our students today!
• Optimal class size
• Curriculum upgrades
• Faculty salaries and professional development
• Technology in every classroom
• Upgrades and maintenance of our campus

3. Why is it important to participate?
A robust Saint Matthew’s Fund ensures the best possible programs, facility, and faculty for the students.  The Saint Matthew’s Fund is the foundation of all fundraising at SMES, and the level of participation by parents is an important factor in expanding learning opportunities for students. Each family who gives takes ownership in Saint Matthew's and is doing its part in realizing the vision of SMES. Full participation makes a powerful statement to the larger community – including individual donors and charitable foundations who look for strong support within the schools they choose to support.

4. Do all SMES families participate?
100% of the Faculty, Staff, and Board of Trustees pledged support or made contributions before the official kick-off of the campaign. Many of our faculty did so by means of payroll deduction, which speaks volumes about their deep commitment to our children and the mission of SMES.  The school relies on the generosity of its alumni, parents, grandparents, and friends to ensure that students receive the quality academic experiences they deserve.

5. How much should I give?
Gifts to the Saint Matthew’s Fund can range from fifteen dollars to thousands of dollars. Large gifts are wonderful, but smaller gifts add up.  A high percentage of parent participation is also critical.  We encourage every family to participate, and we hope you will participate at a level that is personally meaningful to you. Remember that your gift, along with others, directly enhances your child's education. Please prayerfully consider your financial support of the Saint Matthew’s Fund. The only gift that is too small is no gift at all.


6. Why not just set tuition high enough to cover expenses?
As an independent school, Saint Matthew’s meets our budgetary needs from tuition, gifts, and fundraising. Charitable gifts supplement our operating budget and help provide financial stability and the resources necessary for an optimal educational environment. Gifts to the Saint Matthew’s Fund are unrestricted and allow the school to use the funds in the area of most need during the school year. In fact, this year, the school will spend about $1,300 more educating each student than that family pays in tuition. The Saint Matthew’s Fund helps us bridge that “Excellence Gap.” Tuition and fees cover about 75% of the cost of educating a student for one school year; this means that 25% of the school budget must be made up each year through the Saint Matthew’s Fund and other fundraising efforts. Saint Matthew’s is a non-profit organization, and while the School is associated with the Church, the two are separate financial entities.  Funds are not shared.
We have chosen not to set tuition high enough to cover all expenses for three reasons:
  • Higher tuition might exclude some students. Diversity is important, and we want to make SMES available to as many families as possible, regardless of their socioeconomic status.
  • Each family is asked to give at a level at which they are comfortable.
  • Contributions to the Saint Matthew’s Fund are tax-deductible.

7. Should I give a larger gift if I have more than one child at SMES?
The Saint Matthew’s Fund helps us bridge that “Excellence Gap.”  Tuition and fees cover only about 75% of the cost of educating a student for one school year. If your second child were not at SMES, his/her place would be occupied by a child whose parents presumably would make a contribution equal to yours for their one child, providing the financial support needed for each child.

8. Are there tax benefits available when I give to SMES?
Yes, there are! Saint Matthew’s Episcopal School is a registered 501(c)3 organization and charitable gifts are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

9. How long do I have to pay my pledge to the Saint Matthew’s Fund?
Families are encouraged to make their pledges as soon as possible, but we prefer to receive all payments by May 1st.  When you make your contribution, you will be sent an official receipt that you may use for your tax deduction calculations in the tax year your payment was made.

10. I would like to keep my donation confidential. Is that possible?
Yes, simply let us know. We also welcome donations in honor or memory of others.

11. What about matching gifts?
Many companies match employee contributions to non-profit organizations such as Saint Matthew’s Episcopal School. We encourage donors to check with their employers to see if this plan is available for them. The Matching Gift Form, available through your employer, should accompany your donation to SMES. The SMES EIN number is 72-0571489.