For any non-profit or registered charity, fundraising is essential to programming. Connect Charter School is fortunate to have a robust fundraising program, organized and operated by parents. If you’ve ever wondered how money is raised and disbursed at Connect, here is some useful information.
Fundraising for Connect Charter School is organized and managed by Connect Charter School Parent Society and School Council.
Connect Charter School Parent Society:
Connect Charter School Parent Society is comprised of parent members of our school, and is responsible for all activities that involve AGLC licences such as casinos and raffles. The Society is incorporated under the Societies Act and as such operates in a coordinated but independent manner from School Council. CCPS’s mandate is the same as that of School Council: to support the mission, vision, and goals of the school. Eligibility for casinos is every 18-24 months, and the society recruits all volunteers for staffing the 2 day event. Casinos provide approximately $64,000 that is available for purchasing items essential to the enhancement of student learning.
Connect Charter School Council:
Every parent/legal guardian of a student at Connect Charter School is a member of our School Council. The executive group is elected/acclaimed annually at an AGM in spring, as the face of our School Council, but every parent is part of this group and has a voice at our school. The Balzac Meats fundraiser and Fun Lunch committee both operate under School Council and raise money for these school-based fundraising programs. School Council has a small annual budget provided by Connect, used for parent engagement initiatives (welcome back coffee, new family orientation, etc.)
Connect Charter School Fundraising Committee:
Representatives from Parent Society, School Council, and Administration sit on this committee, and review fundraising proceeds and expenditures (Casino, Fun Lunch, and Balzac Meats).
According to Dr. Phil Butterfield, Principal at Connect Charter School, “we consult with staff to determine which resources and supplies are needed to enhance student learning, and our administrative team then prioritizes the list before taking it to the Fundraising Committee. Physical Education, music, art, outdoor education, and creative technology are examples of programs that have benefited greatly from fundraising efforts through the years.”
During this year and last, casino proceeds from Parent Society were spent on:
- Annual contribution to the grade 9 Bamfield trip ($20,000). This subsidy, along with a $20,000 subsidy from the Connect Charter School Board, reduces the individual cost of this trip per student by approximately $400.
- Agents of Change annual trip ($2,000)
- Team jerseys ($2,000)
- 3D printer ($3,000)
- 10 UHF radios for outdoor ed trips and recess supervision ($4,900)
- Amplified outdoor speakers ($220)
- Dumbbell weights with stand for P.E. ($1,400)
- Creative Technologies ULine Organizer for the Sparkfun Inventors Kits Storage ($1,200)
- Creative Technologies Sparkfun Inventors Kits for Microbit ($2,500)
School-Based Fundraising (Balzac Meats, Fun Lunch) funds were directed to:
- Better Impact volunteer management system annual fee ($800)
- DPA equipment ($900)
- 10 acoustic guitars ($3,800)
- Frames for gallery rail system ($1,200)
- Chairs for Learning Commons ($6,300)
- Blinds for collaboration centre in the Learning Commons ($3,000)
According to Dr. Butterfield, “much of our outdoor education equipment such as tents, cross country skis, snowshoes, backpacking equipment, longboards, bicycles, scooters, DPA equipment etc, has been purchased through funds raised from casino proceeds and school based fundraising.”
Staff and administration wishlists for future purchases include multi-sensory supplies, a second dining tent for overnight trips, fold-up tables for use in the IAC, a storage shed for bikes to open up the IAC for use, instrument lockers, and more.
“The contributions from our school community allow Connect to have a robust outdoor and experiential education program, where students are getting outside and learning through real world experience,” says Butterfield. “We are so grateful to parents for supporting the extraordinary programs at Connect.”
Students at Connect also demonstrate their extraordinary citizenship, through a variety of fundraising initiatives. Shashi Shergill, Assistant Principal at Connect, notes “students at Connect raise money for a variety of local, regional, and national charities including Inn From the Cold, Calgary Food Bank, Animal Rescue Foundation, Alberta Children’s Hospital, Michael’s Backpack, and many more.” In 2018, staff and students undertook a fundraising campaign for the outdoor Reflection Grove naturalization area, a space that recognizes and commemorates former Connect community members. Fundraising to expand the Reflection Grove continues on an annual basis.
Direct donations are also significant to Connect Charter School. In 2017, school administration and council engaged in a direct donation campaign to raise funds to purchase a bus. While the matching grant application was not successful, funds were directed to support general transportation costs for many field experiences for Connect students.
Any time parents pay student fees or trip costs, they are invited to add funds to make a donation to the school. Since Connect Charter School is a registered charity, donations over $25 are eligible for a tax receipt. The Connect Charter School operating budget also includes a bursary program. According to Phil Butterfield, “in the 2018/2019 school year, we provided almost $50,000 in fee assistance to a number of families in the school, so students were able to attend Bamfield, Fort Steele, and winter camp, in addition to other fees. Donations made to the school help us offer bursary assistance so that all students continue to experience these valuable experiences.”
As Dr. Butterfield notes, “our school’s enhanced program offerings are made possible through the generosity and hard work of our parent community. Our staff, leadership team, and board are grateful for the time, energy, and resources our parent community invests into extraordinary citizenship for our students.”