Giving FAQ

What is Annual Giving?

Annual gifts are the foundation of all charitable giving to WIS and directly support students, teachers, and academic programs. Each year the School depends on Annual Giving revenue to fund basic budgetary priorities as well as allow for new, imaginative programs and plan for future initiatives.

Who makes annual gifts?

All members of the WIS community: parents, alumni, faculty and staff, parents of alumni, grandparents, and friends are asked to make a gift each year. Annual Giving is an excellent opportunity to support the outstanding teaching and learning that takes place every day at WIS.

How much should I give?

Every gift to WIS—large or small—makes a real, tangible difference in the educational experience of every child. Financial circumstances differ, but we hope WIS will be your family’s primary philanthropic priority while your children attend the School. We simply ask that each family makes a gift that is meaningful given the family's circumstances. For the 2017-2018 school year, the average parent gift was $1,927.

Leadership gifts at WIS range from $1,966 to $25,000.

What is participation? Why is it important?

Participation is the percentage of our WIS Community (parents, alumni, faculty, etc) who make a gift of any size in a given year. This percentage is a key indicator of the strength of the school community and can also have an impact on giving from outside sources; many foundations consider participation rates before agreeing to make a charitable gift to a school. We aim for 100% participation each year from our entire community.

I want to support both Annual Giving and the Auction. Am I able to do that?

Absolutely! The WIS Auction is an important component of Annual Giving, raising much needed dollars designated for Financial Aid. We hope families make a gift to Annual Giving as well as support WIS by attending the Auction, donating items to the Silent Auction, and/or volunteering and bidding during the Silent Auction and/or Fund-a-Student portion of the night. For more information on the Auction and ways to become involved, please contact Marcela Churchill at (202) 243-1821.

I already pay tuition. Why should I make a gift to Annual Giving?

Annual Giving enables WIS to plan and save for the future while investing in teaching and learning, and to provide financial aid for families for whom a WIS education is not possible without assistance. Also, Annual Gifts are tax deductible for some families, and tuition is not. Please consult your tax advisor.

When should I make my gift?

Annual Giving operates on a fiscal year of July 1 to June 30, and we ask that you make a gift when it is appropriate for your family. A commitment early in the academic year will give momentum to the Annual Giving campaign. Annual Giving peer parent volunteers contact WIS families to thank them for support and answer any questions they may have about gifts to WIS.

How do I make a gift or pledge?

There are several ways to make your annual gift or pledge to WIS: 1) by Visa or MasterCard, securely and conveniently here; 2) by check via mail to the Advancement Office (3100 Macomb Street NW, Washington DC 20008); 3) make a pledge to give later in the year or split your gift into monthly pledge payments here; 4) through the United Way (write-in) or Combined Federal Campaign (our CFC number is 58598); 5) through a gift of stock – contact the Advancement Office at (202) 243-1816 for details; or 6) double the impact of your gift through a corporate match – speak with your company's human resources office to find out if your company participates. Our EIN is 52-0822077.

Can I designate my gift?

Absolutely. WIS is delighted to accept Annual Giving contributions designated to the following areas: Greatest Need, Athletics, Arts, Exchange & Service Learning Trips, Facilities, Faculty Development, Financial Aid, or Library & Media Services. Simply select the program of your choice in the drop down menu of the online giving form or feel free to contact the Advancement Office with any questions.

Does WIS receive support from government or international financial institutions?

WIS does not receive support from governments or any international financial institution. Over the years, WIS has sought direct financial support from various international financial institutions in the area, but those institutions have not been receptive to those requests. Some organizations provide tuition support to their employees, but this support is directly to their employees, not to WIS.

Why is there such a strong focus on Annual Giving?

Tuition revenue at WIS represents over 89 percent of total revenue, significantly above the average of other NAIS schools and of most other schools in the Washington, DC area. In earlier years, increases in enrollment allowed WIS to rely on growing revenue from tuition. In its first decade of operation, the number of WIS students rose very rapidly, from a few dozen in the late 1960s to almost 500 by the late 1970s. In the following three decades, the student body (and the facilities to accommodate it) also grew at a healthy pace. This steady increase allowed WIS to cover the rapidly rising cost of private education in the U.S. with moderate annual increases in tuition rates (in other words, the growth in WIS revenue reflected increases in both tuition rates and number of students).

Starting in 2008, as WIS enrollment reached its capacity, it has no longer been possible to realize revenue growth through enrollment growth. Since 2008, WIS has been close to full capacity every year. The size of current WIS facilities, city regulations, and agreements with neighborhoods prevent WIS from increasing enrollment. As the needs of the school change and as the school undertakes major capital projects, the only sources of revenue on which WIS can rely are tuition increases and increases in philanthropic giving.

Having a school at full capacity and disproportionately dependent on tuition revenue is not an optimal situation. Ensuring that WIS’s academic program is well positioned with respect to innovations in learning and to competencies required in the global marketplace is the cornerstone of the WIS strategic plan, and a goal shared by the entire WIS community.

A commitment to supporting WIS’s revenue base through sustained Annual Giving is therefore vital for the school.
Do you have any questions about making a gift? Please contact the Advancement Office at 202.243.1693.