Making a Case for an Endowment

In today’s ever-changing economic environment, the fiscal health of any organization has never been more important. Many in our community understand the critical role of Annual Fund and fundraising events to provide income that ensures the quality of our educational programs and daily operations.  While these provide funding for SFWS on a yearly basis, there is a significant need to ensure the long-term financial stability of the school. This source is called an endowment. Gifts to an endowment can be supportive, transformative and even visionary. But what exactly is an endowment and how does it work? 

An endowment exists to support the Board of Trustees in carrying out one of its primary responsibilities: ensuring the school’s viability for the children of today’s students. These funds are not a savings account or “rainy day fund” that the school can freely access; it is an investment in our long-term financial stability.  Endowments are invested and managed to earn a long-term return that maintains the principal in perpetuity and provides an annual income stream to the school.  In short, a portion of the interest earned from an endowment can be an important source of revenue to offset pressure on tuition increases, day-to-day operations and other unanticipated expenditures.

SFWS Endowment Funds

What will a more substantial endowment fund mean for SFWS?

  • Consistent generation of income — a portion of the interest revenue can be added to the yearly budget, often in direct support of a program
  • Assurance that the values and mission of SFWS are passed on to the next generation
  • Long-term financial security and flexibility
  • Established gifts of perpetuity — charitable gifts form a personal and permanent connection to SFWS

For the past several years, the Board of Trustees has earmarked a portion of operating funds to reside in a Board-designated fund that is treated as “funds functioning as endowment (FFE).”  Due to its relatively modest size, this endowment does not yet provide a source of income, but instead has been allowed to grow untouched over time.  SFWS seeks to reach an ambitious endowment goal of $3.0MM.  We hope to accomplish this over the next year through a substantial infusion of endowment gifts and effective financial management of the endowment to generate investment earnings. This sustained source of annual income would have a tremendous impact on bolstering our educational programs, tuition assistance, faculty salaries, and facilities renovation.

SFWS has a variety of endowed funds that have been established by donors over the past 5 years. Assets in these funds are restricted according to the donor’s wishes.

  • General Endowment (FFE) – Established in 2001 (Board Designated FFE in 2007)
  • The Henry Dakin Memorial Fund – Established in 2010
  • The Outdoor Classroom Fund – Established in 2013
  • Monique’s Faculty Fund – Established in 2013, faculty salaries and support

The work of building an endowment is an ongoing task—one that is both challenging and ultimately rewarding. The Advancement Office welcomes your questions and interest in building our endowment.  If you would like to discuss how you can make a meaningful contribution to the school, please contact Grace Kim, Special Gifts Coordinator, by e-mail at or by phone at 415.875.7210.

2013 Endowment Support
We would like to recognize and thank the following donors for their generosity and commitment to the SFWS Endowment during 2013:

  • Anonymous – $250,000 pledge for General Endowment
  • Kris and William “Cotty” Wolcott – $50,000 for General Endowmen
  • tAnonymous – $50,000 for Monique’s Faculty Fund
  • Heather and Mitch Mitchell – $15,000 for Outdoor Classroom Endowment

Past Gifts to SFWS Endowment
We would also like to thank the following individuals for donations to the SFWS Endowment in prior years:  Brenda and Ernie Bean, Maggi Berwind-Dart, John Bloom and Joan Caldarera, Elizabeth Carney, Sasha Cavander, Justine Costerouse and Joel Benson, Jesse DeNatale and Carla Caletti, Dagmar Eisele, Estelle Eisendrath, Mark and Heidi Finser, Beth Foster and Geoff Sears, John Gottfurcht, Monique Grund, Donna and James Hale, Charles Humphreville and Susan Speedy, Richard Lehman, Eva Leuthold and Oskar Leuthold, Jerry Mapp, Patrick Markle and Cornelia Powers, Susan Raczka, Gay and Jack Reineck, Bruce and Victoria Robertson, Barbara and Victor Sokolov, Sarah Stein and Michael Cohn, Zach Stewart and Chris McDonald, Patty Townsend, and Alan Fine.