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The Gift of Knowledge

How to Contribute Financially
to Daycroft Montessori School

As one of Ann Arbor's leading private schools, Daycroft Montessori School depends on the financial support of members of our community. If you are fortunate enough to have the resources to donate, please know that your contribution will play a crucial role in bridging the gap between what Daycroft’s tuition covers and what it really takes to operate, maintain, and improve the school.

The National Association of Independent Schools, in their booklet “Gifts That Give Back,” defines the following types of financial contributions. All are possible at Daycroft. Please consider what approach to donating works best for you. Then please contact us at (734) 662-3335 if you would like to know more about contributing.

Annual Giving

What is it? Money for the school’s current-year operating expenses. Such gifts are usually unrestricted – i.e., donors allow the school to spend them on whatever it deems necessary – and they are almost never spent on items outside the operating budget.

What is its practical equivalent? A checking account that helps the school perform its daily work.

What does it buy? Teacher salaries and benefits, library acquisitions, teaching tools, educational technology and equipment, continuing education for staff, and day-to-day necessities for the school facilities such as light bulbs.

Capital Giving

What is it? Major gifts to meet building and endowment needs the school cannot pay for out of tuition funds.

What does it buy? Usually brick-and-mortar building projects – new facilities or major renovations – but sometimes endowment as well.

When will you be asked for a capital gift? Schools tend to conduct capital campaigns once or twice a decade. Since the needed gifts are large, you can usually pay your pledge over three to five years.

Why does the school ask for an annual gift while you are making a capital gift? For the same reason you have to pay your mortgage while you are putting an addition on your house. The school must continue to meet its operating costs even as it makes major acquisitions and improvements.

Endowment Giving

What is it? Major gifts to a fund that take the pressure off the operating budget. Endowment principal remains intact as the school spends a percentage of the interest income.

What is its practical equivalent? A savings account. Most schools have a policy about how much endowment they will spend each year so they do not invade the principal.

What does it buy? The security to invest in faculty compensation or new faculty positions (often called endowed chairs), funds for professional development, enriched academic programs and resources, and financial aid.

Gifts in Kind

What are they? Donations of needed goods and services rather than money. These could be vehicles, computers, musical instruments, carpentry, printing services, etc.

Caveat: Schools must avoid accepting items that they cannot make good use or that would cost too much to maintain or store (such as a boat). And because of the complicated rules and regulations about valuation and tax credits, you must be sure to consult with a tax expert before giving.

Matching Gifts

What are they? As an employee benefit, more than 550 American corporations match their staff’s philanthropic contributions. Matching gifts allow you to double or triple your gift to a school.

How do they work? After confirming that your employer is indeed a matching gift corporation, get a matching gift form (usually from the human resources department), fill it out, and send it to the school with your gift. The school’s development office then submits the form to the company’s matching gift department, which sends the check directly to the school.


What is it? The percentage of parents who give a gift of any size to the school. All independent schools aim for 100% participation in the annual fund.

Why is it so important? High participation is a vote of confidence, a sign that parents invest in their children’s welfare and support the school’s mission. This percentage can also have an impact on gifts from outside sources; most foundations consider parent participation rates before agreeing to donate funds to a school.

Planned Giving

What is it? A gift vehicle that allows you to donate via a trust, annuity, insurance policy, or, most commonly, a bequest.

What is its practical equivalent? A retirement account – money to secure the future.

Who are the ideal planned gift donors? Those in their 60s, 70s, or 80s who believe in giving back for the benefit of future generations, want to leave something as a link to posterity, or can make a bigger gift in death than during their lifetimes.

Caveat: Before naming a school in your will or considering another planned gift, consult with an attorney or financial advisor to explore what type of planned gift is best for you and your family.

Restricted and Unrestricted Giving

What are they? Restricted gifts can be spent only for a specific purpose you designate, such as financial aid or a particular academic program. Unrestricted gifts can be spent where the school believes the need is greatest.

How should I think about restricted and unrestricted giving? “An unrestricted gift is the highest form of philanthropy. It helps the school most because it gives the school freedom to place the money where, in the wisdom of the board, it will serve the best purpose. This is not to discourage you from giving where your passion lies. But think broadly.” – Tracy Savage, former assistant head of school for development and public relations at National Cathedral School in Washington, DC.

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