At MICDS, as at most independent schools, family contributions to tuition constitute most but not all of the funding for our programs. The investments made here on behalf of every student, every day—the optimization of class sizes for individual learning, the range of curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular opportunities, the support, professional growth, and retention of our extraordinary faculty and staff, the loving maintenance of our campus facilities and grounds—all come at a greater cost than family contributions to tuition alone can afford. Indeed, tuition only covers about 80% of the true cost of educating our students at MICDS.
While some of that remaining 20% is funded by auxiliary revenues, most of it is funded by philanthropy, either in the form of gifts to the MICDS Fund or proceeds from our endowment. All of us in the MICDS community are the beneficiaries of gifts to the School over its 162-year history that have either, in the case of gifts to the endowment, compounded steadily over time, or that have, in the case of gifts to the annual operating budget, indirectly contributed to additional endowment growth.
Gifts to the MICDS Fund should not be understood exclusively as one-time donations to cover our operating expenses for a single academic year. They are, effectively, gifts in perpetuity to the School. If there were no MICDS Fund, we would depend on the endowment to subsidize the entire cost of tuition after family contributions and auxiliary revenues. Every dollar that is contributed to the MICDS Fund, therefore, is a dollar that we do not have to spend out of the endowment—which is, in turn, a dollar that remains invested in income-producing financial instruments. The investment return on that dollar for that year will remain in the endowment in perpetuity, increasing the size of the endowment and therefore increasing the portion of the endowment available to support the MICDS student experience.
Here’s how the math works. A one-time gift of $100 to the MICDS Fund protects approximately $2,500 of our endowment from spending, since we tend to draw 4% of the endowment’s value into our operating budget, and $100 is 4% of $2,500. The average annual return on investment in the stock market is about 10%, so in an average year, $2,500 would yield another $250 into the endowment. If that $2,500 had not been protected by the $100 gift to the MICDS Fund, it would have been reduced to $2,400, which would yield a return of $240 in an average year. Thus, a gift of $100 to the MICDS Fund not only provides $100 for the current-year operating budget, but also facilitates an additional $10 of endowment growth—the difference between $250 and $240 in an average year—to help support all future-year operating budgets. In this way, a gift to the MICDS Fund today is effectively a gift to MICDS students forever.
When my wife, Ruth, and I give to MICDS, we take comfort in knowing that we are supporting current students and generations of students to come. We are not so much proud to give as we are humbled to give; and for our family, it is not so much a matter of generosity as it is a matter of duty. We best honor the philanthropy of previous generations by extending it to future generations—and doing so also happens to feel really good. St. Louis native Maya Angelou once said that “giving liberates the soul of the giver.” I could not agree more.
Gifts of all sizes matter, and every single gift makes a difference—not only in the current school year but in perpetuity as the endowment dollars that your gift protects continue to grow and to give back. Your commitment to MICDS reflects the great spirit of our dynamic learning community and is a testament to the philanthropic legacy of our School.
Thank you for supporting all students in our Ram community—now and into the future—through your gifts to the MICDS Fund.