On the Campaign Trail...
Calhoun alumni set a new giving record on January 19. Through the Road to 19 Alumni Giving Challenge, 357 gifts from across eight decades of graduates were raised in just one day!
Alumni were asked to step forward in an ambitious and potentially historic effort. The collective goal was to secure 219 gifts in 19 hours
As the day approached, the alumni community received a rallying call from the Calhoun Cougar, and connections across generations of alums on social media were ignited as excitement about the challenge grew. The night before, staff watched as gifts began to flood in (our young alums were particularly fond of donating through the @CalhounSchoolAlumni Venmo account). On the 19th, long-tenured faculty and staff stepped forward as “celebrity callers” to help rally alumni, who all received a motivational call-to-action from fellow alum Ben Stiller ’83 as well.
Several grads made meaningful tributes to Head of School Steve Nelson, retiring after 19 years this year, along with other impactful teachers over the past several decades. By 4
Multiple generations of Calhoun alumni joined in the 19 for 19 Campaign effort, ranging from graduates of 1942 to 2016. A special shout-out goes to our two youngest classes, with 21 gifts from the Class of 2015 and 27 gifts from the Class of 2016.
In total, The Road to 19 Alumni Giving Challenge raised 357 gifts and $285,798 (including 93 gifts from first-time donors!), sending a clear message to the Calhoun community – and the city at large – from alumni about their powerful, lifelong connections to Calhoun.
With his response to the donors, Steve Nelson reflected, "This Road to 19 achievement is meaningful on many, many levels. In setting an historic record, you showed the Calhoun community at its very best and sent a loud signal about the important role Calhoun played in your lives. As the gifts and names rushed by, I visualized each one of you and the important place you hold in our Calhoun story. I'm grateful to everyone who joined the effort and made it so successful!"
Thank you, alumni – together, you made Calhoun history!!
Click here to see a complete list of Road to 19 donors.
"Calhoun is the foundation for Monte's future," says Karen Greene, Calhoun Trustee. "My family contributes as much as we can because it's an investment--not only in our son's education, but in the person he's becoming."
A Bronx native, Karen's volunteer commitment to education began during Monte's preschool years and continued once he entered Calhoun as a kindergartner--first as a Parents Association grade representative and, now, as a Board Trustee. She juggles her volunteer work with a demanding career in entertainment law: the early part of her career in entertainment law, specifically for television and film, was spent at Epstein, Levinsohn, Bodine, Hurwitz & Weinsten LLP, and then A&E television. Since 2002 she has been at HBO, working in the copyright division for the network and its affiliated channel, Cinemax.
Karen and her husband, Walter, describe Monte--currently a fourth grader--as "a proud Calhoun student." She hopes to see other children have as wonderful an experience. "The 19 for 19 Campaign for Calhoun will not only benefit my child and his classmates but it will ensure that other children, who may not have the financial means to attend Calhoun, are able to join and strengthen our diverse community. Giving to the Endowment provides valuable resources to children of all backgrounds so that they have access to an excellent progressive education."
Join honorary Calhoun "lifer" Barbara Bernard and support the 19 for 19 Campaign for Calhoun.
Barbara and Dick Bernard strike a pose on the occasion of her birthday--celebrated with colleagues in the Calhoun Townhouse.
When Development Associate Barbara Bernard and her husband, Dick, first enrolled their sons, Jack and Daniel, at Calhoun, the concept of progressive education was brand new to them. While they were immediately attracted to Calhoun's warm, friendly environment, Barbara wondered how her boys would fare. Encouraged to"give it a year," the progressive model clicked for both boys, and forty-seven years later, Barbara—who served as a parent volunteer for the Parents Association and the Board of Trustees for more than fifteen years--continues to support Calhoun as an employee in the Development Office.
Jack '84 and Daniel Bernard '86, from their Calhoun days.
“Jack and Daniel had different learning styles and interests,” recalls Barbara. “Daniel loved sports and Jack was president of the student government, and Calhoun served them both. The progressive approach helped them become well-rounded, and by the time they reached college, they felt they were well-prepared for their future lives. Today, Jack is associate general counsel at the University of Michigan, and Daniel is a professor and research scientist at McGill University. Both have been successful in their endeavors; my husband, Dick, and I blame Calhoun for that!”
Barbara with her other favorite boys--Ben Stiller '83 and former Calhoun parent Matt Damon--at one of the Calhoun Benefit auctions.
Through the years, Barbara and her family have watched Calhoun grow, becoming a leader in progressive education. By supporting the 19 for 19 Campaign through the Annual Fund, she is helping to ensure that the school will thrive for another 120 years and beyond. "I first started giving to the Annual Fund because the main thing I owed my children was their education, and I continue to give because I simply love this place."
Dick and Barbara--minutes before the start of another Calhoun Benefit, an event they enjoy working for every year!
Calhoun is grateful for the ongoing support and involvement of the Bernard family. And with any luck, our community will continue to benefit from their generosity and engagement for years to come. Barbara promises, "I've been at Calhoun since 1970, through five Heads of School, and I intend to stay here until I can no longer climb the three flights of stairs to my office!"
Calhoun's historic 19 for 19 Campaign, which will raise $19 million in honor of Steve Nelson's 19 years as Head of School, is primarily aimed at growing our Endowment. While the Endowment has grown from less than $1 million to nearly $8 million in the last five years, it still lags dramatically behind our peer New York City independent schools, whose endowments average over $50 million (see table below). Through the 19 for 19 Campaign, we aim to grow Calhoun's Endowment to over $20 million.
Why is the Endowment so important for Calhoun's ongoing development? Schools fund their daily operations with the combination of interest generated from an endowment, annual fund, and tuition. A $21 million Endowment will generate approximately 4.5% interest annually, or about $945,000 that will flow into our operating budget each year. This will allow Calhoun to make plans for critical facility expansions and enhanced support of athletics, laboratories and classroom spaces. Through the 19 for 19 Campaign, supporters may also designate a portion of their donation to support specific funds within the Endowment that are directed toward faculty/staff benefits and/or tuition assistance.
In short, a larger Endowment will strengthen Calhoun's financial security and ensure that it remains a leader in outstanding progressive education for years to come. For more information on how to support the growth of Calhoun's Endowment, contact Mary McCarty, Major Gifts Officer, 212-497-6579.
JOIN THE CAMPAIGN EFFORT TODAY!
CAMPAIGN VIDEO UPDATE
Hear what kids have to say about their teachers and experience at Calhoun, and how you can make a difference!
On November 2, former Calhoun Trustees Mary and Fred Newman (parents of Calhoun lifers Lydia ‘96, AnneMarie ‘00 and Pauline ‘00), graciously opened their home to more than 40 current and former Board members, for a celebration of Calhoun’s 19 years of progress under the stewardship of Head of School Steve Nelson.
Steve recognized these Trustees for the critical role they have played and continue to play, through their generosity and leadership, in securing Calhoun’s current position as a preeminent progressive educational institution.
(L-R) Mary Newman, Fred Newman, Steve Nelson and Eric Potoker
Among the former Trustee guests and partners—a diverse group of current and former parents, grandparents and alumni--were June Salzman Schiller ’42 and Jerry Schiller, Joan Masket and Sherman Pincus, Ruth Diem and Jeffrey Slade, Denise DeShane and Alan Gelband, Bernadette Mitchell, Chas Carner and Cynthia Round, Loren and Peter Luzmore, Lori Serling Sklar ’75 and Larry Sklar, Dylan Hixon, and former Board Chair and Life Trustee Eric Ryan.
(L-R) Jeffrey Slade, Ruth Diem, Eric Ryan and Dylan Hixon
Also attending were many of Calhoun’s current Trustees, including Board Chair Eric Potoker ’85 and Vice Chair Jon Brayshaw. Melissa Liberty and Jennifer Arcure, Co-Chairs of the 19 for 19 Campaign, were also on hand, thanking the Trustee community for their ongoing support as Calhoun honors Steve’s 19 years of extraordinary leadership and the launch of the 19 for 19 Campaign for Calhoun.
(L-R) Alan Gelband, Ruth Diem (background) and Denise DeShane
Denise DeShane (Aaron ’01, Alex ’05) offered an impromptu toast to Steve, promising to gather fellow parents from the “early years” to attend the 19 for 19 Gala, scheduled for May 19, 2017, at the American Museum of Natural History.
September 8, 2016 was a day I had dreamt about for years - my daughter Maddie’s first day as a Calhoun student.
When I went into the classroom to pick her up, her first words were “Mommy, can I come here every day?” Those words struck a chord - I remember feeling exactly that way as a student at Calhoun. Believe it or not, as Lower School Director, I continue to feel that way each day. I am acutely aware of how lucky I am to have spent so many years of my life in this special community. I am deeply grateful for all I have learned and for the life that I am living, both professionally and personally. I owe much of it to my teachers, mentors and friends at Calhoun.
It is with gratitude and appreciation that my husband Mike and I decided to support the 19 for 19 Campaign for Calhoun. Through more than four decades, I have had the good fortune to be mentored by teachers like Jill Kingdon, George Glantzis, Marilyn Stewart, Shelly Greenberg, John Roeder and Alec McDonnell, to name a few, who encouraged me to “work toward my potential!” Neen Hunt, the former Head of School, hired me as a Kindergarten Associate Teacher. Lil Lulkin taught me how to be a teacher. Kathleen Clinesmith taught me another way to teach and saw a life for me that I never saw for myself. Steve Nelson's vision, passion and conviction brought me and Calhoun to where we are today.
Though my Calhoun story may be longer than most, I know that my experiences are not unique. Calhoun is filled with students, teachers, parents, grandparents, alumni and parents of alumni who share my gratitude to the school. If you are one of those people, I urge you to join my family in making a gift to the 19 for 19 Campaign. As a parent and an administrator, I can clearly see how a larger Endowment will benefit our children and students for years to come. This Campaign is an incredible opportunity to say “thank you” for all the ways your lives have been enhanced by Calhoun.
- Alison Max Rothschild '85, Lower School Director
Maddie Rothschild '31
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