Monthly Update from Board Chairs Ann Balderston and Richard Yates
Dear Members of the AC Community,
Over the past five months, we have thoughtfully developed a strategic three-year financial plan which will lead the way to Allendale Columbia’s long-term financial sustainability. We are writing to share high level details of the financial plan we submitted to the New York State Association of Independent Schools (NYSAIS) last week as part of extending our accreditation, and we expect a positive outcome from their review. The following is an overview of the work we’ve been doing and the information that was submitted to NYSAIS.
AC is projected to continue to improve its bottom line in 2020-2021, 2021-2022, and 2022-2023 with a net positive budget. We have reached these projections by working closely with the school’s Leadership Team, thoughtfully managing expenses, carefully considering tuition increases and successful fundraising, and projecting conservative enrollment numbers.
As part of our financial planning process, the AC Leadership Team and the Board took a hard look at every area of the budget to see where we could cut expenses without impacting our students or our program. As a result of this work, we were able to cut approximately $1.5 million in expenses while continuing to maintain, and in fact expand, our program offerings for students.
In August, we launched our StandWithAC fundraising campaign and reached out to all of you asking for your help in our effort toward sustainability. We are excited to share that we have raised $2,300,000 toward our year-end target of $3,000,000, and we are confident that we will reach our $3 million goal by December 31st.
We anticipate that we will end this school year in June slightly ahead of budget with no draw from our endowment for the first time in 10 years. We have been asked how much we have in our endowment, so we want to be clear that we have $7.5 million. According to the National Association of Independent Schools, 24% of independent schools across the country are operating without an endowment. We are fortunate to not only have this financial resource but to be in a position to not have to draw from it this year.
While we are making great progress in a very short amount of time, our need for exceptional donor generosity and participation will continue this spring and into 2020-2021. Our hope is that we can continue to count on you for your dedication to the future of AC. If you have given already, please know that those gifts have allowed us to get to a place where we can confidently say that AC is on a strong path. If you have not donated, but are encouraged by the success we have achieved in five short months, please join the effort and StandWithAC!
Each and every member of the AC community is critical to our enrollment effort. People need to hear about AC and be encouraged to come visit. Given the dynamic nature of this past summer, we know that there are still people in the outside community who believe we merged or are closed. We are counting on YOU to share the AC message of our strong, dedicated community who have come together, around a common goal, to give current and future students access to an incredible education.
As past parents of former AC students ourselves, we are energized by the dedication of AC’s faculty and staff, the excitement we see in the students, the support of our alumni, and the knowledge that the work of so many is moving Allendale Columbia toward a future of continued excellence in education. We are both pleased to be part of this effort and encourage you to give your time and dollars to support AC’s long-term sustainability and make an AC education accessible to more students in our community.
We will continue to work on our long-range strategic planning and keep you informed of our progress throughout 2020. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the holiday season, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for supporting Allendale Columbia School.
Ann Balderston P’04, P’07, P’10 Richard Yates P’15
Co-Chair, Board of Trustees Co-Chair, Board of Trustees