“I believe a school should be fun and rigorous in equal measure. Too rigorous and it won’t be fun. Too fun and you’ll never learn to spell rigorous.”
“I believe I have the confidence to stretch myself and not settle for what feels okay, but to question and seek different answers.”
“I believe an education at ACS is like a best friend. It walks with you, hand in hand, as the lessons of life unfold. It teaches you the art of thinking and discovery. It empowers you to be true to yourself, and it lasts a lifetime.”
“I believe that if I reach a high level of self-knowledge and inner peace, I can help to make the world just a little bit better.”
“I believe in learning through experience. I believe in exploration. I believe in science and art. In music. Outdoor education. Indoor education. Creativity. Adventure. Family. Beauty. Messiness. Curiosity. I believe in learning, always.”
ACS and Compass (the nonprofit that oversees the school) worked for four years to secure the BEST funding. In August 2012, the school was successful in its appeal to receive a grant with a 54% match and an extended match deadline of May 1, 2013. (Match percentages vary by school and most BEST grant matches are due on November 1 of the application year.) We met the match, received the grant, and have given ourselves a timeline of December 31, 2014 to complete the total campaign goal, including BEST monies, of $13.1M. We have $4M to go and continue to actively seek contributions to the campaign so we can fully realize our design.
Since 1970, Compass has provided progressive educational opportunities to people of the Roaring Fork Valley. A nonprofit organization, Compass operates Aspen Community School; its sister charter school, Carbondale Community School; and a private preschool, the Early Childhood Center. Compass employs a comptroller who manages the finances for the organization and its three schools, including those of the campaign. The campaign also contracts the services of a CPA who provides financial oversight to ensure that all campaign funds stay with the campaign, providing an additional checks and balance. So while 100% of campaign monies go through Compass, 0% of them go to Compass.
We are among the fortunate charter schools that have a supportive and collaborative relationship with their district. At the launch of the I Believe Campus Campaign, the Aspen School District made a contribution to our campus campaign of $240,931, which was apportioned from their Land Dedication Fees and which sent a strong message of support to the state. This is one of many ways the District supports us; in addition ACS receives:
Yes, we are pursuing all funding avenues, including grants. Based upon our research, grant funding is anticipated to represent a very small portion of this campaign. That being said, in July 2014, the I Believe Campus Campaign received a $125,000 grant from the Community Office for Resource Efficiency to support our energy initiatives.
We always knew we had to raise an additional $2.5 million above and beyond the BEST Grant to realize our dreams for a new campus. If we don’t raise the Phase II funds (now at $4 million, as explained above), there are two worst-case scenarios: stop with an incomplete project or go into debt. Obviously, neither of these are good options. We have to be successful at fundraising to do this and it’s going to take all of us. You can help the campaign by:
Yes, we offer an array of naming opportunities. Interested funders should contact Skye Skinner at 970-923-4646 ext. 217.
As much as they can! We’re seeking 100% participation from parents and staff. Everyone is digging deep within their family budgets. For example, in the first two weeks of the campaign, the board of trustees and campaign steering committee personally committed more than $260,000. We are encouraging all donors, including parents, to make three-year pledges of support.
George’s legacy as an early school director and an enduring philosophical and philanthropic influence on the school is extraordinary. Without the support of George and his wife Patti, whose generosity includes donating the land on which the campus stands, ACS would not be here today. George and Patti have joined the campaign as donors.
Let’s start with some definitions. An annual fund is money for the school’s current year operating expenses. Annual gifts make up the difference between what tax dollars cover and the actual cost of running the school. It is like a checking account that helps the school accomplish its daily work. Capital giving, on the other hand, buys brick and mortar building projects — new facilities and major renovations — and sometimes endowment as well. In our case, it’s especially important because as a charter school ACS cannot seek bond funding like other public schools. Because capital project gifts are often larger, you have the option of paying your pledge over two to three years.
The school asks for an annual gift even while you’re making a capital campaign donation for the same reason you have to pay your mortgage while you’re putting an addition on your house. The school must continue to meet its operating costs even as it’s making major improvements.
This response was written by ACS alum and former board member Mark Harvey. We couldn’t say it better ourselves:
“While our efforts are mainly local, our work goes way beyond the confines of the Roaring Fork Valley. Graduates of our programs have gone on to study at some of the nation’s finest universities and have distinguished themselves in areas ranging from public policy to the dramatic arts to wildlife biology and everything in between. Most importantly, many of our graduates have gone on to become community leaders and active citizens who engage in solving societal and environmental problems. While it is impossible to quantify the success of our graduates, in their responses to our questionnaires they repeatedly cite the rich learning environment and tolerant atmosphere at the Community School as one of the foundations to their later success. We strive to make every school year an opportunity for students of all ages to develop their capabilities and imagination in ways that will last a lifetime.”