Planning for the Future
In the late 1970s a group of people deeply interested in the work of Rudolf Steiner began working toward the establishment of a Waldorf school in San Francisco.
Supported by their work, parents led by Henry and Vergilia Dakin came together with teacher Monique Grund to open the doors of San Francisco Waldorf School on September 9, 1979. Thirty-five years later, their efforts continue to bear fruit, as San Francisco Waldorf School has become the largest Waldorf school in North America.
During the first ten years, each family contributed a unique blend of talent and time to help the school function. The Dakins were the earliest financial benefactors of San Francisco Waldorf School. Early on, they anticipated the need for expansion and purchased two properties adjacent to the school. In 1988, following construction and renovation, these properties became the upper grades classrooms, the eurythmy room, and the Main Hall, now renamed Dakin Hall in their honor.
In the founding documents, the school is described as an endeavor to provide Waldorf education to San Francisco children from kindergarten through high school. After five years of planning, the school found a temporary home at Fort Mason and welcomed its first high school class in 1997. Within four years the high school had grown to 80 students and had relocated to Annunciation Cathedral on Valencia Street, where it thrived for six years.
This growth, along with the beginning of an expanded early childhood program in 2001-2002 (parent-child and nursery), compelled the quest for a unified campus. After several fruitless years of exploration, the decision was made that a unified campus was not possible in San Francisco, so the search was narrowed to find a location for the high school. This culminated in the purchase of 470 West Portal in 2006. One year later, the first LEED Gold Certified school in Northern California opened its doors to over 120 students.
Today, many of the founders are still associated with the school, as seasoned teachers and mentors to the next generation of Waldorf faculty. From a founding class of 24 students, SFWS has grown to include over 450 students, three campus locations, and more than 130 faculty/staff to provide Waldorf education in San Francisco. Now is the time for another period of growth—this time with a focus on long-term sustainability by building a significant endowment to support the school.
The Case for EndowmentEndowments are permanent funds in which the principal is held in perpetuity and a portion of the investment income is expended annually (normally 3-5%). Endowment gifts provide long-term sources of funding, supporting activities not just for one year, or one generation, but forever. They are invested prudently to ensure sustainability for current and future needs. Endowments effectively strengthen the organizations balance sheet, as it represents a source of permanent savings and ongoing revenue. A larger endowment for SFWS would ensure that Waldorf education survives and thrives in San Francisco far into the future. This strong financial foundation will serve to match the strong moral and pedagogical foundation that is at the core of the school today.
As a secondary benefit, by strengthening our balance sheet, SFWS has refinanced the current debt and reduced bond payments moving forward. This debt restructuring has enhanced our ability to secure capital loans for projects in the near future, such as an effort to rebuild the eastern portion of the grade school and building a new gymnasium and classroom space at the high school to meet growing demand. Overall, the community will see a psychological benefit from knowing that there is a secure source of funds regardless of fluctuations in fundraising success and enrollment.
- Monique's Faculty Fund
- Outdoor Classroom Fund
- Multicultural and Diversity Fund
- Karen Apana Ph.D. Fund for Student Support & Counseling
- Grade School Athletics
- Diane David Fund for Tuition Assistance
- Jennifer Tomasco Burke Waldorf Teachers Fund
This endowed fund was established in 2015 in honor of Karen Nani Apana, Ph.D. Karen was one of the founding parents of SFWS in 1979 and a high school faculty member of the San Francisco Waldorf High School for over 16 years. Karen taught art and was the High School Student Mentor.
This endowed fund provides support for all initiatives involving Student Support and Counseling.
This fund was established in 2016 in memory of SFWS parent Jennifer Tomasco Burke (1976-2016), who through her own inquiry and discovery came to appreciate the tremendous dedication of our school's teachers. This endowed fund fulfills one of Jen's final wishes -- to support those teachers in their daily work to educate our children from Nursery through Grade 12.