Why should I support the Spirit of Our School?
Catholic education is a fundamental mission of the Church. Maintaining Watertown Catholic School is a very important mission of both St. Bernard and St. Henry Parishes. The Spirit of Our School Annual Fund is an investment opportunity for those who wish to invest in Catholic education, and ultimately the future of Watertown Catholic School.
How does this compare to the Endowment Fund?
The Endowment Fund and the Annual Fund are two different funds for the school. The Annual Fund money will be utilized during the year that it is donated, used for immediate needs. The Endowment Fund is an investment that grows, but all invested money stays put. Dividends and interest from the Endowment Fund are used, but invested Endowment money is truly future money.
Is this new money? Didn't we have this money before?
In a way, it is new money that is tagged as donation/fund-raising/investment for the school. We had the money before, but it came through subsidies from the parishes.
Why are these funds needed now? Is it because our two schools merged to become Watertown Catholic School?
The Diocese of Madison has provided two benchmarks for the school – 10% enrollment increase and a school operating budget shift, where 40% of the budget comes from tuition, 40% or less comes from parish subsidies, and 20% or more comes from fund-raising, donations and investment. We had not been meeting this benchmark, both parishes had been subsidizing substantially more than 40%. The Annual Fund is in place so that the school operating budget benchmark is met. It is a major component of the 20%. By reaching and exceeding this benchmark, the parishes will then be subsidizing Watertown Catholic School less.
Why did we have to move to the Annual Fund? Couldn't we do more fund-raisers and meet the benchmark?
Schools that develop and implement several small fund-raisers throughout their school year can create burn-out in families, volunteers and even parishioners. Those fund-raisers are very time consuming, taking a lot of effort and volunteer coordination to be successful. Product fund-raisers can also lead to fatigue and burn-out. And with all the time to coordinate, organize and distribute for a product fund-raiser, the result is usually only 40-50% profit from what is brought in. The Annual Fund is designed to lessen the fatigue and overuse of several small fund-raisers and product fund-raisers.
As a parent, why should I contribute to the Annual Fund?
Our children receive the benefits of a great Catholic education, most of which is not covered through our tuition costs. Our goals are to keep tuition affordable and to reduce other fund-raising done throughout the school year. Finally, there are tax advantages to contributing to the Spirit of Our School Annual Fund, as opposed to paying higher tuition costs.
What is the timeline for financial donations?
The Spirit of Our School Annual Fund follows the school year/fiscal calendar – July 1 through June 30. Donations received before July 1 will count towards the school year that had just concluded. Funds received after July 1 will help to begin the next year's Annual Fund.
Will any of the funds be rolled over to the next fiscal year?
Funds will be primarily used for the fiscal year that is given. However, Finance Councils can approve a roll-over if the budget and goals align in a way to make this necessary. For example, the technology infrastructure costs are mostly incurred in July/August. The Finance Councils can opt to roll over Annual Funds tagged for technology to be spent in July/August, as that is when the goal aligns with the needs.
What happens with extra funds? Where do they go? Endowment?
The purpose of the Annual Fund is to generate liquid funds to be utilized during the fiscal year. With the benchmarks in place, it is not likely that there will be extra Annual Fund money to be left over. However, if that ever happens, the Finance Councils will be involved in making the final financial decisions on how the money will be used for the school.
I want to financially contribute, but I don't know how much.
WCS Spirit of Our School Annual Fund has a small donor base; therefore, every financial donation – large or small – is valuable to the school. Spirit of Our School has several levels of giving that may help you make your investment decisions.
Levels of Giving. Galatians 5:25 "If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit"
Faithfulness: Prayer for WCS success
Patience: Time to help the Annual Fund
Kindness: Financial gifts under $100
Peace: Financial gifts from $100 to $299
Love: Financial gifts from $300 to $499
Generosity: Financial gifts from $500 to $2,000
Joy: Financial gifts over $2,000 (The joy of paying for one child's tuition for a year!)
If I make a pledge for this year, am I committed to that pledge every year?
No. The Annual Fund is similar to the ACA (Annual Catholic Appeal). Each year we will come to our families and parishioners and ask for a yearly commitment to the Spirit of Our School Annual Fund. Commitments may change each year based on how you would like to support the Annual Fund.
My employer has a Matching Gift Fund, can I use that?
At this time, we are not equipped to accept matching gift donations. This is something we will be looking into for the future.
Can I make several payments over time?
Yes. Our tracking system is new. However, we will do our best to support you through reminders.
Is there on-line giving?
Yes. On the school webpage, there is a link to the Annual Fund. You simply need to click on the "Make an On-Line Donation Today" link for more information.
As a parishioner, why should I contribute to the Annual Fund?
A primary mission of the Church is promotion of Catholic education and values by educating our children. The most direct way to support that mission is through Spirit of Our School Annual Fund. Second, part of our mission is to stabilize the parishes' level of contributions to WCS, which can be accomplished through the Spirit of Our School Annual Fund as a revenue source for WCS.
Can I give less in the weekly offertory of the churches?
Continued support of St Bernard Parish and St Henry Parish is as important today as ever. Your continued and generous support of your church through Offertory Giving helps fund many missions of the parishes besides the Watertown Catholic School.
Is my gift tax deductible?
Yes. Contributions are 100% tax deductible.
How will my donations be tracked?
Contributions to the Annual Fund will come through the parish Finance Offices and the standard contribution forms sent out every year. You are also able to track your own giving, if you choose to give via our on-line setup.