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Philanthropy: Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What role does philanthropy play at CDS?
A: CDS, like most non-profit schools, relies on philanthropic donations to fund classroom programs, support sliding scale tuition, and upgrade our historic campus. Our commitment to socioeconomic diversity means that tuition does not entirely fund the full cost of educating a child, and fundraising is essential to keep CDS and its programs and people strong. Individuals within the school’s community—current parents, alumni families, grandparents, friends, faculty, and staff—support the Annual Fund, benefit auction, and capital expenses.

Q: What is the Annual Fund?
A: The Annual Fund supports all of the things that make CDS such a unique place for our students – from our diverse community to our award-winning teachers – and is our most important fundraising effort each year. Every parent, faculty, staff, board member, and other friends are asked to contribute to the Annual Fund.

These Annual Fund gifts directly fund our faculty’s salaries and benefits, our constructivist program, classroom supplies, technology, and much, much more. Here are some examples of the Annual Fund’s impact in the year:

  • Sliding scale tuition for a third of our families ($2.8 million in the 2017-2018 school year)
  • Enrichments such as Farm and Garden, spanish, and art
  • Curriculum development that fosters critical thinking and creative problem solving
  • Salary and benefits for our exceptional faculty and staff
  • Field trips for all our students
  • And, much, much more!

Q: Why doesn't the school charge more tuition to cover its costs?
A: Socio-economic diversity is one of CDS’ core values, and by keeping tuition increases to a minimum we can remain affordable to a diverse pool of families. With the Annual Fund, we are able to bridge the gap between tuition and the true cost of education. This practice helps us deepen our commitment to an inclusive community, and allows parents to support their child’s education through philanthropic gifts.

Q: How and when will my family be contacted for an Annual Fund gift?
A: The Annual Fund kicks off each September and ends in early November. The majority of pledges and gifts are received during this time, and all pledges are to be paid by May 1. Look in your mailbox for our Annual Fund letter from our parent co-chairs at the end of September as well as reminders from liaisons.

Q: How much should I give?
A: All levels of gifts are deeply appreciated, and every gift makes a last impact on our students. Every year, gifts to the Annual Fund provide an additional $2,500 per student to the operating budget. We understand that every family’s personal circumstance is different, and we ask that you consider a gift that is meaningful for you. A high level of participation is just as important as the gift amount, and our goal is 100% participation. Last year, we were proud to have reached 100% participation school wide!

There are different levels of giving that families can choose, ranging from "Passionate Citizens" (any amount) to our "Changemaker" level. Leadership gifts for the Annual Fund begin at the "Leadership Circle" level. Collectively, in the 2016-2017 school year, the CDS community contributed nearly $1 million to the school’s operating budget through the Annual Fund and the auction.

Annual Fund Giving Levels:

  • Changemaker Circle:  $25,000 and above
  • Sustainability Circle: $10,000 to $24,999
  • Innovation Circle: $5,000 to $9,999
  • Leadership Circle: $3,000 to $4,999
  • Bold Explorers: $1,000 to $2,999
  • Passionate Citizens: up to $999

Q: Why is 100% participation so important?
A: Each year, CDS aims for 100% participation, and last year we achieved this goal by receiving contributions from every board member, faculty and staff member, and parent at the school. High participation visibly demonstrates the dedication of our community to the school and is an indicator for charitable foundations when deciding on grants and other support. For that reason we ask that every administrator, teacher, trustee, and family support the Annual Fund. We sincerely appreciate each gift and the spirit that such generosity fosters in our community.

Q: My family has multiple households, students in multiple grades, or both. How will our participation be counted?
A: If one parent of a multi-household family gives to the Annual Fund, the entire family will be counted as having participated. Similarly, only one gift is required in order for a family to be counted for each grade in which they have a student.

Q: What are other fundraising activities does the school have?
A: In addition to the Annual Fund in the fall, Bid & Bash (the community celebration and auction) takes place every March. Each year, the theme of the auction changes; themes in past years have included Legends of Rock, Space Odyssey, and Fiesta Island. In addition to the event being a fun-filled evening of great food, entertainment, and friendship, auction proceeds enable the school to make a substantial commitment to CDS’ sliding scale program. There is a paddle raise that funds the school’s highest priority needs, including faculty professional development, laptops for faculty members, and a new art room and maker space for the lower school.

In addition, the school has periodic capital campaigns to raise funds for capital improvements. The most recent capital campaign, "Opening Doors to Campus and Community" (2011-2015), raised over $8.7 million to build the new middle school campus at 601 Dolores Street. Future initiatives have been identified that align with the school’s strategic and campus master plans. During your time at CDS, you may expect that the school will conduct a capital campaign. Parents will be asked to support these projects with a capital gift.

Q: Can I ask my employer to match gifts?
A: Yes! Matching gifts are an incredibly important way to make the most of your charitable gift. Many employers in the Bay Area will match their employees' gifts to non-profit schools like CDS. Please contact your HR
department for eligibility requirements and a matching gift form. Here are some companies that have made matching gifts:

  • Apple
  • BlackRock
  • Clif Bar
  • Dell
  • Gap
  • Genentech
  • Google
  • Levi Strauss & Co.
  • PG&E
  • SalesForce
  • Visa
  • Wells Fargo
  • Yahoo
  • Zynga

Q: How do I give to CDS?
Cash/Credit Card/Check
Use your credit card to make a gift any time on our secure website at the "How to Give" page under the “Support” tab. We also accept cash, personal checks, cashier’s checks, or money orders made payable to Children’s Day School.

Children’s Day School welcomes your gift through a pledge — a formal statement of your intention to make a gift to our school. With a pledge, you may complete your gift by making regular payments over time, allowing you to give more generously than you originally may have considered. What is more, each payment on your pledge is eligible for an income-tax charitable deduction. You can also make a pledge at any time on our secure website at the "How to Give" page under the “Support” tab.

Matching Gift
An easy way to make the most of your gift by doubling or even tripling your donation is to find out if your company has a matching-gift program. Such programs typically match all or a percentage of employee contributions to charitable organizations, making your employer a partner in your personal philanthropy. Simply obtain a matching-gift instruction form from your employer.

Donor Advised Funds
A donor-advised fund (DAF) is a type of giving program that allows you to combine the most favorable tax benefits with the flexibility to easily support Children’s Day School. An increasingly popular charitable vehicle, DAFs are an excellent way to both simplify your charitable giving and facilitate your strategic philanthropic goals. If you already benefit from donor-advised funds, please make checks payable to Children’s Day School. 

If you have held your securities for more than one year, you may find that your gift will provide a twofold tax benefit, creating an income-tax deduction as well as helping avoid the capital-gains tax that would have been due on their sale.

Wire Transfers
Contact information for ACH and domestic wire transfers of funds into the Children’s Day School money market account with US Bank is below. For international wire transfers, please contact Jeanna Yoo at

Q: Can I volunteer time as well as making a financial contribution?
A: Volunteering your time is another way to give back to CDS. There are many opportunities to get involved at CDS, including working as a classroom liaison and helping plan various school events like the auction, Country Fair, and the Welcome Picnic. For help finding the right activity, contact the Parent Teacher Trustee Association (PTTA) at or the Advancement Office at

Q: Whom should I contact with my questions about philanthropy at CDS?
A: Please feel free to contact out advancement team with any questions or concerns about philanthropy, volunteerism, or alumni relations. We’re here to help!

Phone: (415) 416-6357