Shortly after she enrolled her 3-year-old son in a prestigious, $21,000-a-year Upper East Side preschool, Rachael Combe, an editor at Elle, received an invitation from the head of the school to come by for a visit. She assumed the meeting was to discuss how her son was adapting to the school’s curriculum.
Instead, the head of school explained that he was laying the groundwork for a new capital campaign, and that he had already received commitments from various families ”” some up to $1 million. Would Ms. Combe and her husband consider a gift of “even $25,000 to $50,000?”
Relentless fund-raising, be it for the annual fund, the spring benefit or the latest capital campaign, is as much a feature of private schools as small classes and diverse offerings. But with schools hitting the upper limits of what they can charge for tuition, consultants, parents and school heads say the race for donations has become notably more intense and aggressive.