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Why I Give: Upper School English Teacher Sally Plowden

Thursday, February 18, 2016

We’re excited to announce that, as in years past, 100% of Heathwood faculty and staff have contributed to the 2015-16 Annual Fund. High participation among employees, current parents, and alumni sends a strong message that Heathwood is worth investing in, which in turn helps us earn grants and other support.

As a longtime Heathwood teacher, Sally Plowden contributes so much to Heathwood in so many ways that it is an honor when she and others like her give back to the Annual Fund. Here, she talks about why she feels Heathwood deserves her support and how annual giving impacts the life of the school.

Why have you made it a priority to support the Annual Fund?

I think that all of us make it a priority because when teachers give to the school, it shows how much we believe in Heathwood—in what we do day in and day out, and even more importantly in the mission of the school. It’s a tangible means of support for Heathwood.

What’s the significance of having 100% faculty participation? How does the school benefit from high participation rates in annual giving?

That 100% of faculty contribute matters because it’s a show of solidarity for the school, what we do, and it’s another way we can support our students. In that respect, it’s less the amount of the gift than the act of giving itself that matters.

We also benefit from high participation rates because when we apply for grants, faculty support of the annual fund is one of the key things the grant-making organizations look at. A school whose employees and other consituents are willing to support it through their own donations looks a lot more like a school worth investing in. So again, for an annual fund, it’s not always the dollar amount of the gift that matters as much as the symbolic significance of contributing.

How do you see the Annual Fund making a difference in the life of the school?

Its biggest direct impact is that it closes the gap between tuition and the operating budget, which keeps tuition down. Having had three children of my own here, I know how important it is to keep tuition costs as low as possible, and the Annual Fund allows us to keep tuition rates below the actual cost of educating each student.

That again is how high participation in annual giving allows us to accomplish so much. It’s a collective effort, so the more gifts the school receives, the more we can accomplish. Even recent alumni who are still in college or just starting their careers should consider making a gift, no matter how small. It truly is not the amount of the gift that matters as much as the act of giving back to the school.