Meet the Development Team

List of 3 members.

  • Sara-Blake Jernigan 

    Assistant Director of Annual Giving & Alumni Relations
    512 328-2323, ext. 305
    Southern Methodist University - M.S.
    Southern Methodist University - B.A.
  • Cristina Feldott 

    Advancement Associate
  • Ms. Susan Messina 

    Database Administrator
    512-328-2323, ext 299
    University of Houston - BS

FAQs about Gifts to St. Michael's

List of 14 frequently asked questions.

  • Is my donation to St. Michael's Catholic Academy tax deductible?

    The answer depends on the situation. If you received goods or services in return for giving money, the answer is no. The transaction is no different than if you had purchased something at the store. However, if you are making a straight donation and not receiving any goods or services in return, the answer is yes. Because St. Michael’s is qualified as a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code, all donations to the school are tax deductible. To determine the amount you can deduct, please consult your tax adviser and the IRS website. All donations should be processed through the Development Office to ensure proper documentation for tax deduction purposes.
  • To whom should checks be made payable and to what office should gifts be directed?

    All donations should be made payable to SMCA and mailed to the Development Office at 3000 Barton Creek Blvd. Austin, TX 78735. You may also donate to any ongoing campaign through our website.
  • May I choose where my donation to St. Michael's goes?

    Absolutely! You may designate a program, initiative, or scholarship. The choice is yours.
  • I don’t want anyone to know that I have made a contribution. Is it possible to remain anonymous?

    Yes. We are ethically bound to respect your wishes, and we will not make your contribution known to the public. The staff and volunteer board members pledge not to disclose, communicate, publish, release, or permit the communication of sensitive or confidential donor information, unless you choose to make it known.
  • Where does my gift have the most impact?

    Your own interests should be your guide, but the greatest need is for unrestricted donations for the operational budget, giving the school flexibility in applying donations to areas of campus needed most.
  • What is a restricted gift?

    Restricted gifts are earmarked for specific purposes such as a naming opportunity, scholarships, an endowed chair, a specific program, or a capital project. Although both restricted and unrestricted gifts are always valued, unrestricted gifts are of critical importance.
  • Do matching gifts count toward donor recognition?

    Yes. Matching gifts count toward recognition. For example, a donor who gives $5,000, and files a one-to-one company match claim within the same fiscal year, is recognized for a gift of $10,000 for that same fiscal year. Contact the Development Office to see if your company matches your gift, and to receive the applicable forms.
  • I live on a tight budget. Isn't it the "big gifts" that really matter?

    Large gifts are absolutely essential to St. Michael’s, but so are more modest ones. When small gifts are combined, they add up and help to provide critical student scholarships, faculty support, new equipment purchases, and major capital projects.
  • To qualify for calendar year tax purposes, what is the last day I can make a contribution?

    It depends on your gift. If you are contributing by credit card online, you have until midnight on December 31st. If you are sending your gift through the mail, your gift must be postmarked by December 31st and received in the Development Office shortly thereafter.  We suggest allowing at least one week for postal delivery time, depending upon where you live.
  • Are there non-monetary ways I can support St. Michael's?

    Absolutely! Whether it's recommending a student to St. Michael’s, setting up an internship at the company where you work, or volunteering your services, St. Michael’s appreciates your support. There are hundreds of ways to get involved, some of which will use only a few minutes of your time.
  • Is an annual report published by the Development Office?

    The annual report is published by the Development Office and includes a list of major donors and financial information regarding St. Michael’s Catholic Academy. To request a copy of the annual report, please call 512-328-2323.
  • What is an endowment?

    An endowment is money a donor contributes that is invested by the School. The earnings from the investment are then used for scholarships or other special projects. An endowment is the best way to give to the School because it will continue to help others in perpetuity.
  • What if I'm a member of the St. Michael's faculty and staff?

    Faculty and staff may make charitable contributions to any restricted or unrestricted initiative on campus through payroll deduction. A payroll deduction is very easy to initiate. The faculty or staff member decides how much he/she wants to give each month and for how many months. The amount is automatically deducted by the Business Office at St. Michael’s. Please contact the Development Office for assistance.
  • What if someone does not wish to be solicited by the School?

    In order to avoid solicitation, call, write, or email the Development Office and request that your record be coded as “No Solicitation.”

Support Us

St. Michael’s is made stronger through our community’s investment of their time, talent and treasure. This investment directly impacts our faculty and students each and every day.

Philanthropy, no matter the size of the gift, is a personal matter which requires much thought and is an important part of the culture of St. Michael’s. Your support makes so much possible at St. Michael’s—from exceptional academics and competitive athletics to unrivaled fine arts programming and a newly renovated campus.

Whether you make an immediate difference by giving to The Crusader Fund or help secure the School’s future through Planned Giving, your gift supports the formation of our students to lead lives of service, courage, personal integrity and intellectual curiosity.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about the many ways you can support St. Michael’s Catholic Academy, please feel free to contact us in the Advancement Office.

On behalf of all the students and staff at St. Michael’s, I thank you for your generosity!

Sara-Blake Jernigan
Assistant Director of Annual Giving & Alumni Relations
512.328.2323 ext. 305

Why Your Gift Matters: Annual Giving at St. Michael's

Like all independent schools, tuition does not cover the true cost of a St. Michael’s education. The Crusader Fund is a critical source of non-tuition revenue and helps the school meet yearly operating expenses. The Crusader Fund provides the school with the financial means to attract and retain the very best faculty, serve a talented and diverse student body and enhance and maintain state-of-the-art facilities. Additionally, donations to The Crusader Fund are 100% tax deductible, and many donations qualify for additional contributions from corporate Matching Gift Programs.

Annual Giving currently contributes approximately 11% of the school’s operating budget, which helps to support and sustain the educational opportunities central to St. Michael’s mission. Donations to The Crusader Fund act as immediately expendable income for funding for student activities, the fine arts programs, tuition assistance, state of the art technology, support for athletic programs, and faculty salaries, among other things.

Gifts to The Crusader Fund help to make up the difference between the dollars brought in from tuition and the actual cost of educating a St. Michael’s student each year. Without a strong Crusader Fund, costs would be passed on in the form of higher tuition.. Continued growth in The Crusader Fund is essential to maintaining excellence in every aspect of life at St. Michael’s.

St. Michael's Funding Model

Tuition + Donations = Cost of a St. Michael’s Education

As an independent Catholic school, St. Michael’s is financially independent of the Diocese of Austin and operates as a 501 c 3 non-profit organization.

St. Michael’s uses a financial model that combines tuition and charitable donations to balance the school’s operating budget. Used by many of the United States most successful independent schools, this model designates that 80-90% of operating costs are covered by Tuition and Fees and the remaining 10-20% of operating costs are covered by donations.

This funding model allows:
  • St. Michael’s to maintain a healthy enrollment by keeping tuition as low as possible
  • Enables families to receive a tax deduction for a portion of the cost of their child’s education
If tuition were raised to meet 100% of the costs, many families could not afford to send their children to St. Michael’s resulting in a drop in enrollment and diversity, followed by a cutback of programs, and steeper tuition.