Saturday, October 11, 2008

Fund Raising for Friends

The functions of this blog includes the expression of my experiences and the effects on my search. One of the "in the world but not of the world" realities which of necessity has been major factors in my dealings with Friends' institutions is Fund Raising. I have experienced 2 rather opposite attitudes on the part of Friends schools. 

One was that first and foremost a private school is a BUSINESS and the bottom line is the major factor in decisions. Secondly a Friends School is a school. In addition, by the way this is a school known as a Friends School so we need to provide at least some aspects that might be called "Quakerly." I understand that a private school has to involve business sense and academic excellence. However, as a Friends school this should not involve exclusiveness by only accepting students who are already excellent students nor by providing preference to people who not only can afford the fairly high tuition but can also be financial benefactors to the school. 

On the other hand, it seems entirely too idealistic to base a Friends school on three principles which "sound" good but show no "common sense." The 3 principles, established by a Board of Directors, in order of importance were 1) Completely tuition dependent so that no fund raising would need to be done; 2) Low tuition to provide an opportunity for more people to afford an alternative education; 3) To insure as much diversity as possible, a very high rate of scholarships for those who can't afford full tuition.  I believe the intent was Friendly in trying to provide an excellent education to as many students as possible. However, the assumption required the facility to be essentially bare and for the faculty to be essentially volunteers.

It seems self-evident that the first situation provided the basis for a successful private school, but probably one that could be called elite and exclusive.  The school continues to be well established.

The second situation led to a lack of support for administrative attempts to develop fund raising even among the Board itself and among the constituency of Friends. This school survived for 7 years at a very high cost to faculty and administrators who eventually were unable to continue financially or in a sense of trust in support for the school.

In my first few blogs, I am unable or (unwilling(?)) to separate the highly influential "physical" events from my spiritual search. However, these events have only reaffirmed my commitment to a search for the spiritual power and strength that has been found by many seekers and led them to lives that expressed the Love of God and of Neighbor.

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