Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Saint Mary Fund? 
The Saint Mary Fund, (formerly known as the Annual Fund), is
made up of monetary donations to Saint Mary School to cover 
expenses not met by tuition alone.

The Saint Mary Fund is the cornerstone of all fundraising for the school. We depend on the generosity of donors like you: parents, alumni, parents of alumni, grandparents, faculty staff and friends, to meet operating expenses, to enhance school programs, and to support staff appreciation awards.

The Saint Mary Fund provides a tax-deductible way for our community to support our mission at whatever level is most appropriate for them.  

Why not raise tuition? 
​As part of our mission to make a high-quality Catholic education accessible to all, we strive to keep our tuition affordable, and we offer significant financial assistance to those in need.
As a result, we have a gap between our cost and revenue per student. Simply raising tuition to eliminate this gap would run counter to our mission of accessibility and our desire for inclusivity in our community.

What are the goals of the 2018-2019 Annual Fund and how are the funds utilized? 
The 2018-2019 Annual Fund goal is $160,000. Proceeds from the Fund are an essential component of the school's budget, used for a variety of key operating expenses, capital expenditures, annual staff appreciation awards and future reserves. 

How long do I have to pay my pledge? 
Payment in full is required by June 30, 2019. For your convenience, installment giving is available, allowing you to schedule your contributions as smaller, more convenient payments. Please contact Saint Mary School Advancement Director Amy Dowding at (203) 438-7288 x240 if you have any questions about an installment contribution. 

Is my donation tax deductible? 
Yes! Because Saint Mary School is a 501©(3) not-for-profit entity, your contribution to the Annual Fund will qualify as a charitable contribution for tax purposes. Contributions are normally deductible in the year payment is received by SMS, but you should consult a tax professional with any questions. 

What are matching gifts ? 
Many employers match their employees’ charitable gifts on a 1:1, 2:1, or 3:1 basis. Please check with your employer to see if they have a matching gift program.   Click here for a partial list of local companies that have participated in matching gifts.  

Can I make a gift of stock? 
Yes. Often, a stock gift can bring the donor greater tax savings than a cash gift. The donor avoids paying capital gains taxes on the donated stock and receives a charitable deduction for its full fair market value. As always, you should consult a tax professional with any questions. 

What are giving societies? 
Giving societies are employed by many charitable organizations to recognize the various levels of support they receive from donors. Typically, fundraising is most successful when it strikes a balance between higher dollar leadership gifts and broad participation, regardless of dollar amount. Giving societies allow us to thank all of our donors while recognizing their unique contributions. The SMS Annual Fund has two main giving societies: 

The Saint Mary Society reflects all individuals, companies, or foundations making a gift of $1,500 or more. These leadership gifts are a critical foundation of the Saint Mary Fund, as they directly address the roughly $1,500 gap between tuition and cost per student. Within the Saint Mary Society there are four levels: 

$25,000 +              Founders Society
$10,000 - $24,999   Rosary Society
$7,500 - $9,999      Angel Society
$5,000 - $7,499      Cornerstone Society
$2,500 - $4,999      Blue Ribbon Society 
$1,500 - $2,499      Champion Society 

The Patrons Circle reflects the vital contributions of the many donors who support Saint Mary School at all other levels: 

$1,000—$1,499       Principal’s Circle 
$ 500—$ 999          Guardian Circle 
$ 250—$ 499          Benefactor Circle 
$ 100—$ 249          Blue and White Circle 
$ 50—$ 99             Penguins Circle 
$ 1—$ 49               Friends 

We need strong participation in both the Saint Mary Society and the Patrons Circle to help us meet our ambitious goals. Every dollar counts and every dollar makes a difference to the lives of our students. 

Is my gift and giving history confidential? 
As a contributor to the Saint Mary Fund, your name will appear in a listing of supporters, attributed to one of our giving societies (see above). However, when you make your pledge and/or payment to the Fund, you can request to remain anonymous and your name will not appear in the published listing. Either way, your exact gift amount and giving history will always remain confidential, visible only to the Director of Advancement and the school’s Business Manager in the course of administrating the Saint Mary Fund. 

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183 High Ridge Avenue   Ridgefield CT 06877   203-438-7288