The Annual Fund

The Annual Fund is made up of hundreds of donations of all sizes that are a direct investment in the everyday functioning of Erskine Academy. Each year, money raised for the Annual Fund goes directly into the operating budget. It supports students and faculty and is vital to the life of the school. It provides the funds necessary for the daily operation of the school, including hiring excellent teachers, supporting a wide range of courses and extracurricular activities, paying for classroom materials, field trips, technology updates, and more. Your Annual Fund gift goes to work immediately to support all aspects of life at Erskine: academics, the arts, athletics, faculty support, and facility maintenance.

Why is it important for Erskine alumni to give to the Annual Fund?

Alumni participation (the percentage of active alumni who give a gift of any size) in the Annual Fund is crucial to Erskine’s fundraising success. High alumni participation is a vote of confidence for Erskine, and “outside” donors who have a less direct connection with the school (community members, businesses, grant foundations, etc.) often consider “inside” donor participation numbers before making a gift. If alumni and parent support percentages are high, others will be inspired and encouraged to give to Erskine as well.

How much should I give?

There is no set amount that anyone should contribute—we ask that you give what is comfortable for you. Erskine puts every single dollar to work immediately for our current students and faculty. Every gift of every amount is truly appreciated; your participation makes a real difference!

Gifts at the Core

These gifts provide Erskine Academy with a solid foundation of annual support and honor the memory of our esteemed founder Mary T. Erskine, whose legacy lives on in every student served by our school.

Erskine Society – $1-$249

Gifts of Distinction

Donors who wish to make a more significant impact on the Annual Fund can do so by making a Gift of Distinction of $250 or more. By naming our Distinction categories after the first six Erskine principals, we honor not only their memory but also the standard of academic excellence that they established so many years ago. Donors who are able to give a Gift of Distinction will be listed in our annual Report of Contributions by the following levels:

Thompson Society – $10,000 and more
Conant Society – $5,000 to $9,999
Hall Society – $2,500 to $4,999
Stetson Society – $1,000 to $2,499
Jackman Society – $500 to $999
Kenney Society – $250 to $499

Matching Gifts

Many businesses and corporations will partner with the charitable organizations in their regions by matching their employees’ (and sometimes their retirees’) philanthropic gifts. This is typically accomplished by filling out a form provided by your employer and sending it to Erskine with your gift. To find out if your employer participates in a matching gift program, contact your personnel or human resources office.


An endowment is a fund made up of donations that carry a stipulation that they must be invested and that the principle must remain permanently intact. A portion of the fund’s annual investment earnings (typically four to six percent) can be spent on a restricted basis, and thus becomes an annual source of income for the organization. This allows the fund to grow and have a much greater impact over time than if it were spent all at once. The purpose of the Erskine endowment is to uphold our school’s academic excellence and to provide enduring financial benefits to students, faculty, staff, programs, and facilities. Active endowment funds at Erskine include:

Ridgeway Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund

This fund was established to honor the memory of Don Ridgeway P’08, a beloved teacher who was killed in a tragic automobile accident on June 1, 2006, just prior to completing his 12th year teaching at Erskine. Proceeds from this fund will provide tuition assistance for students of need who reside in non-sending towns. Gifts of any amount are sought to augment this existing fund.


Our forward-thinking founder, Mary T. Erskine, wanted to have an impact on the future of our community by establishing a high school for its students. With assistance from several attorneys, she drew up a Deed of Trust agreement and gave our communities a gift, the income from which was to be used to establish the school. Thus, Erskine’s first planned gift was secured, and Mary, who was pleased with the school’s progress, continued to make additional gifts to improve the school.

1883 Society

Over 130 years later, our school still benefits from Mary Erskine’s foresight and has established the 1883 Society to provide individuals with additional gift-giving vehicles while ensuring long-term financial benefits to the school. Membership in the 1883 Society is accorded to those who have named or who intend to name the school in their estate plans through a bequest, deferred gift, or a trust instrument, or who are making gifts as part of their overall financial plan. 1883 Society members will have the knowledge that they have made an important contribution to the future of the youth in our community.


Most planned gifts to Erskine will come in the form of a bequest. With a bequest, a donor may be able to accomplish something more significant than one would be able to achieve during his or her lifetime. Donors can add revocable or irrevocable bequest language benefiting Erskine to a new or existing testamentary document. This is done through an attorney, and a copy of the final language can be shared with Erskine. Donors can add Erskine as a revocable “percentage” beneficiary on a new or existing retirement plan or insurance policy. This is done by the donor him/herself simply by filling out a form provided by the retirement plan or insurance policy parent company and sending it back to the parent company through the mail. The donor then notifies Erskine of the beneficiary status. There are no current tax benefits for a donor making a bequest.

Other Planned Giving Options

Other planned giving vehicles include charitable trusts, annuities, and gifts of real estate. A representative of the school can work with you and your financial adviser to plan a gift that is both appropriate to your assets and that meets the spirit of your wishes.