Cyclone Fund FAQ

How does a gift from a parent to the Cyclone Fund attract support from external organizations?

In 2008, Porter-Gaud conducted a development assessment of the fund development and everything connected to fund development within the school. The assessment came back with many recommendations, one of which was to create a separate foundation for the school. There were several reasons for this. First, the governing board of the school, Board of Trustees, is an incredible group of leaders whose focus is truly the governance of the school. In order for development to become a focus, the Board’s dynamics would have to change, taking the Board’s eye off of their primary responsibility: the School. We knew that it would be critical to philanthropic success for a foundation to be formed and a Foundation Board to be put into place. Second, as a nonprofit organization, such as Porter-Gaud, goes to foundations, corporations, and individuals for philanthropic support, it is a very strong stance to invite these entities to invest through the Foundation, whose sole purpose is to support Porter-Gaud. Why? Because there is a dedicated Foundation Board, who sets funding priorities based on the School’s strategic plan and initiatives set forth by the Board of Trustees. This creates a stronger basis of trust and understanding of funding designation, relationship building, and outcomes communication. The third reason a Foundation was created was to make sure that philanthropy did not get lost in the system. When a school as strong as Porter-Gaud pushes to have a strong philanthropic program, it is important that fund development is the sole focus of the staff and board. Without a Foundation, this is incredibly difficult and for Porter-Gaud, even more so. For these reasons, the Board of Trustees, over the period of several years, worked to be strategic in their development of what is now the Porter-Gaud Foundation.

What does the Foundation do?

The Foundation’s sole purpose is to raise funds and build relationships in support of Porter-Gaud School. With this in mind, the Foundation is responsible for all philanthropic support: annual giving, employee giving, foundations, corporations, alumni relations, communications, capital gifts, planned giving, etc.

The process, however, is strictly aligned with that of the School. As the Board of Trustees and Head of School work on the Strategic Plan, they set initiatives for the upcoming years in order of priority for the school. These initiatives may be new buildings, increased financial aid, new programing, technology, staffing, enrollment, and many more.

There are only three ways an organization is able to have revenue: earn it, borrow it, or raise it. It is during the strategic planning process that the Board of Trustees decides what the school can afford to purchase, what the school is willing to borrow (and how they will pay it back), and what the school needs to raise to bridge the gap. This is where the Foundation comes into play. Once the Board of Trustees has decided the priorities and which initiatives are needed, but unaffordable based on the current revenue stream of the school, they will meet with the Foundation Board to request that the Foundation raise funds to support those projects. The Foundation Board will then work together and with the Foundation staff to determine if those dollars for those projects are feasible. The Foundation Board will then go back to the Board of Trustees to inform them of what they feel the Foundation is able to do based on the information provided.

What role do friends and family members of Porter-Gaud play in the Foundation?

The question before leads perfectly into this one. So what does all of this mean for me? What this means is that all philanthropic support will now go through the Foundation. The Foundation will then disperse the money, as restricted and directed by the donor or as unrestricted. We would like to see all forms of invitations to invest be made by the Foundation. This assures tax deductibility, accurate record keeping, and a single place for individuals, families, foundations and corporations to go when they wish to support Porter-Gaud. We will be your stop for any questions about alumni and parent relations, communications, and all gifts to the school.

Where can people get more information about the Foundation?

The entire Foundation staff is available to you to answer any questions you may have. As always, we are looking to improve the Foundation’s website, so be on the lookout for updates. You also have a direct line to me anytime you wish: 843.402.4690 or Tucker.Branham@portergaud.edu. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have!

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