About the Crusader Fund

The Crusader Fund is our annual giving program and it is the highest financial priority of the school each year. Gifts impact nearly every aspect of a St. Michael’s education and support the intellectual, social, personal, and spiritual development of every student.

Your participation in the Crusader Fund is what matters the most. Each year, all funds raised are spent during the current school year. Every gift, whether large or small, directly impacts each student’s educational experience.

Crusader Fund support demonstrates the loyalty, commitment, and generous spirit of our St. Michael’s community. To honor the interests of our community members, we have created an opportunity for donors to direct their annual giving donation to a particular area of the school’s operations that they find most meaningful.

areas of your impact.

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • Academic Enrichment

    Your gift benefits student learning, faculty teaching, and collaborative research by funding academic departments, curriculum development, technology services, and academic learning centers. Gifts also support our innovative experiential-learning programs such as Winter Term. At St. Michael’s we offer our students a broad range of academic experiences including global travel opportunities and student internships. Your gift to the Crusader Fund will help ensure we can continue to offer our students new and exciting challenges.

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • Athletics

    Athletics at St. Michael’s enriches our student’s lives, develops social and moral character and enhances the physical skills of our students. Gifts to this program allow the school to provide the equipment and programming necessary to maintain top level athletic performance.

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • Spiritual Development & Service

    Part of our mission as an independent Catholic school is to provide our students with faith-based learning, community outreach initiatives, and service opportunities. Your gift supports opportunities and resources so the St. Michael’s experience is one that educates students on how to use their spiritual, intellectual, artistic, and physical gifts in service of others.

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • Visual & Performing Arts

    St. Michael’s boasts excellent visual and performing arts programs. Providing opportunities for students to express themselves through art, music, theater, film and dance is an important part of our mission. Your gift will ensure continued exceptional instruction, resources, and opportunities for all students at all levels. 

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • Gift of Greatest Impact 

    Demonstrate your financial support with an undesignated gift to St. Michael’s. These unrestricted funds assist areas of the school’s greatest operating needs, such as updates to technology in the classrooms, maintenance of grounds and facilities, faculty/staff compensation, and utilities. The Head of School will determine where your gift will have the greatest impact.

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • Project Graduation

    Project Graduation is the final party and time of the year to be together as a complete class for the senior class. Held the night of graduation, Project Graduation is a fun, all-inclusive, safe environment for the class to celebrate their accomplishments together one last time. 

List of 1 frequently asked questions.

  • Tuition Assistance

    An integral component of Catholic education, your gift to support Tuition Assistance sustains the school's need-blind admission policy so that a St. Michael’s education is accessible to all academically-qualified students who are most able to benefit from and contribute to this community–regardless of their ability to pay.

Learn more about these areas of impact


Giving Levels & Recognition

Visionary
$25,000.00+
Founder
$15,000- $24,999
Head of School’s Circle
$10,000-$14,999
Crusader
$5,000-$9,999
Academy Leader
$2,500-$4,999
Innovator
$1,000-$2,499
Scholar
$500-$1,000
Supporter
Gifts up to $499
*All donors are recognized by giving level in St. Michael’s Annual Report on Giving published each Fall. Donors that give to the Academy Leader level through the Crusader Fund are invited to be part of the 1984 Society, our newly established leadership giving circle and to attend an exclusive reception in the spring of 2019.

**Those who give to the Crusader Fund at the level of the Head of School’s Circle or above will receive special recognition in the Annual Report on Giving and acknowledgement the night of the 1984 Society Reception.

DONOR RECOGNITION

List of 2 items.

  • 1984 Society

    Named for the year St. Michael’s was founded, The 1984 Society is newly established and honors philanthropy and leadership within the St. Michael’s community. Membership includes past and present members of the Board of Trustees and lead benefactors who have demonstrated an extraordinary dedication toward advancing the mission of St. Michael’s Catholic Academy in recent years.

    All St. Michael’s community members are invited to join The 1984 Society by making a gift to The Crusader Fund at the Academy Leader Level or above $2,500+. Members are then honored at a special reception with the Head of School, Past Board of Trustees, and Current Board of Trustees and other lead benefactors in the spring and receive a State of the School address by Head of School, Dr. Dawn Nichols. Those that support the Crusader Fund at the Head of School’s Council or above will receive additional acknowledgement the night of the event. This year’s 1984 Society Reception will be held March 26, 2019.

    This crucial support of the Crusader Fund creates and maintains a source of reliable annual fund income that strengthens and enriches the School’s mission by inspiring its students to lives of service, courage, personal integrity, and intellectual curiosity.  

    We encourage you to match your Crusader Fund gift because matching gifts count towards your overall donation. If you have any questions regarding membership in the 1984 Society Leadership Giving Society, please contact Sara-Blake Jernigan in the Advancement Department.
     
  • Maroon & Gray Circle

    Donors who reach a four-year milestone in consecutive giving to The Crusader Fund are recognized in our Annual Report each year. We are grateful for their continued support of our mission. Crusader Fund dollars are spent as soon as they are completely received each year, so it is critical that donors renew their support every year. These loyal Crusaders provide the foundation of our Annual Giving Program each year. This society is not about how much you give; it’s about the simple act of giving, year after year. 

frequently asked questions.

List of 19 frequently asked questions.

  • What is the Crusader Fund?

    The Crusader Fund is the name for St. Michael’s Annual Giving program. It is the highest financial priority of the school each year. Gifts to the Crusader Fund support the operations of the school, funding everything from financial aid to professional development, science equipment to art supplies, instruments, and performances. Crusader Fund gifts combine the traditional role of a PTA or booster club fundraising with comprehensive annual giving. Ensuring St. Michael’s has the flexibility to respond to pressing needs and promising initiatives, the Crusader Fund is the primary way for current parents, past parents, alumni, and friends to make annual gifts to the School.
  • Why doesn’t St. Michael’s charge enough to cover operating costs?

    If tuition increased to cover the actual cost of all programs, many families could not afford to send their children to our school. This could mean a drop in enrollment, resulting in a cutback of our programs and steeper tuition increases in order to fund all operations, which would affect the quality of your child’s education.
  • Is annual giving unique to St. Michael’s? 

    No. Successful independent schools have long relied upon the generosity and loyalty of their constituencies to advance their institutions. Very few, if any, private, independent schools meet full operational costs with tuition alone.
  • What amount should I give?

    Only you can decide. We ask you to remember that your contribution, along with those of all our donors, will directly enhance your child’s education. We hope that every member of our school community will participate. If you are able to do so, we ask that you try to cover the $2,500 gap that exists per student.
  • What does The Crusader Fund fund?

    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.

    The Crusader Fund 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 financial aid, funding for student activities, the fine arts programs, 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. Every gift made to The Crusader Fund is vital to St. Michael’s’ growth and success.  It is St. Michael’s largest and most important fundraising effort.
  • Why do you ask parents for donations? There are many foundations that could support the school. Do you ask them, too? 

    Yes, we do. St. Michael’s development efforts include soliciting foundations and local businesses. These prospective donors want to see initial support from the inside before they will commit to the effort. There are lots of educational organizations and faith based entities competing for these outside funding opportunities and it is critical that we remain competitive.
  • May we make a contribution of something other than cash?

    Of course. There are many ways to make a contribution to St. Michael’s. Sara-Blake Jernigan in the Development Office can help you determine what type of gift is most appropriate for your circumstances and the school’s needs.
  • Can we make a gift to a specific purpose? 

    Certainly. The Crusader Fund allows donors to designate gifts to particular areas of the operating budget that they find most meaningful. If there is a project that you would like to fund, please let us know. Capital Projects and Campaigns generally provide names gift opportunities.
  • Can I direct or restrict my gifts?

    Parents can direct to one area or multiple with our impact areas. Restricted gifts within the operating budget are also welcome. If a parent would like information on how to make a gift for a specific project in addition to his or her Crusader Fund gift please let Sara-Blake Jernigan (sjernigan@smca.com) know.
     
    We encourage everyone to give to the Crusader Fund first because it is such an important piece of our budget! Crusader Fund first!
  • Why should I contribute to The Crusader Fund when I already pay tuition?

    Full tuition only pays for a portion of the actual annual cost to educate a St. Michael’s student. Every St. Michael’s student receives a hidden scholarship partially funded by your annual support.
    • Gifts from The Crusader Fund help fill in the gap between what is paid in tuition and the real cost of an St. Michael’s education.
    • There is a gap of approximately $2,500.00 per student
  • What is a matching gift?


    Matching gifts come from corporations or foundations that “match” an employee or other person of interest’s contribution. This allows parents to double or even triple the amount of their contribution to the St. Michael’s.
  • How are donors to the Crusader Fund Recognized?

    Gifts received by St. Michael’s during any given fiscal year (July 1-June 30) are recognized in the school's annual report by giving level and membership in specific giving societies for The Crusader Fund. Donors that give at the Leader level and above also receive special recognition.
  • Is my Crusader Fund gift counted toward my class goals and participation?

    Yes. All gifts to the Crusader Fund count toward class goals and class participation. The Crusader Fund operates on a fiscal year calendar. The Fiscal Year for St. Michael’s runs from July 1 to June 30
  • I have multiple children, do I make separate gifts?

    No. You only give once and you will be counted as participating for each grade. 
  • I cannot afford to make a large gift. Is my contribution even worth it?

    Yes! Every gift, no matter the size, has real impact. Your participation is a voice of support and confidence. High Crusader Fund participation is a testament to our community’s belief in our mission and enables us to apply for outside funding opportunities from foundations.
  • When is the best time of year to make an annual gift or pledge to the Crusader Fund?

    Our fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30. Gifts and pledges received before the end of the calendar year (December 31) allow the school to plan and budget more effectively and inspire others to give. The earlier you pledge your support, the maximum the benefit to our students and overall programs. Financial support early in the school year provides actual budget dollars instead of budget projections.
  • Is my gift tax deductible?

    Yes. St. Michael’s is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and gifts to St. Michael’s are tax
    deductible as allowable by law. Please consult your tax advisor with specific questions.
  • What is the difference between annual giving and a capital campaign? 

    In contrast to Crusader Fund annual gifts, which support the current fiscal year’s operating budget and day-to-day operating, capital gifts launch curricular programs and building projects that assist the long-term growth of the school. Capital Campaigns are conducted periodically to provide significant funds for additions to endowment, construction/renovation or extensive equipment purchases. Contributions are generally pledged over three to five years. Annual Giving is designed to offset annual operating expenses and provide educational excellence; if the gift is pledged, it is expected to be payable by the end of the academic year.
  • Are we expected to give to both the HALO Project and Crusader Fund? 

    We hope that all parents would consider supporting both efforts to the best of their ability. Because of the exceptional nature of capital campaigns, we ask that all gifts to the HALO be made in addition to annual gifts to the Crusader Fund, not in lieu of. 

Crusader Fund Leadership

Crusader Fund Leadership Chairs
Carolyn & Brian DeRoeck (Jack ’19, Grant ’21)
Suzanne & Dan Bautch (Jackson '19 and Ava '22)

Class of 2020
Roxanne & Jason Thurman  (Abby ’18, Major '20)
Mari Casserberg & Rob Morton (Kathryn '20)

Class of 2021
Carolyn & Brian DeRoeck (Jack ’19, Grant ’21)  
Heather & Darrell May  (Grace '21)

Class of 2022
Laura & Tim Keyes (Caroline '18, Will '22)
Keili & Ted Smith (Molly '17, Anna Claire '18, Mason '22)

Class of 2023
Wendy & Billy Daniel (Tripp '21, Thomas '23)
Joan & Rod Stevenson (Matthew '15, Katherine '23)