Debate Magazine

PSCS Fall Fundraiser

By Stevemiranda

Hello everyone,

PSCS is running its annual fall fundraising campaign. If you’re interested in supporting an amazing independent school that’s in the process of changing everything, please considering giving a gift. Below, I’ve included the letter I sent out to the PSCS community.

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It’s time to kick off our annual fall fundraising campaign, The Century Club! We call it The Century Club because it involves 100 people each donating $100, and we’re hoping that you’ll be inspired to join the group of people who believe that created models for new kinds of schools is really, really important.

If you already know you want to donate $100, please pledge a gift by emailing [email protected], or simply donate online here. Thank you!

For the rest, I’ll start with a story.

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I was reading an article about an author who has just written a book on philanthropy.  In reflecting on the extraordinary legacy of charitable giving—the libraries, the museums, the hospitals, the schools— that has helped build this country, she said something about our history of generosity that gave me a shiver: “The important thing to understand is that we’re not generous because we’re rich, we’re rich because we’re generous.”

This author’s belief, which I share, is that through charitable giving, we’ve invested. We’ve invested in our neighborhoods, in our cities, in ourselves. And those investments in community invariably yield the richest returns.

So here’s a question: What can we build together? This fall, that’s what the PSCS Board of Trustees wants to know. The board has hired a strategic planner to facilitate a process in which, over the next several months, we’re going to figure out how to bring this education model to scale. I’ve used this analogy when talking to PSCS founder Andy Smallman: it’s like we’ve discovered electricity, and now you and I get to enjoy the benefits of light. Our next challenge is to figure out how to share this extraordinary discovery, so others can benefit too.

It can be depressing listening to the national debate on education. Everyone seems to agree that the existing paradigm is dysfunctional, but how should we fix it? The range of debate is mostly limited to which incentives, which extrinsic motivators, which threats and punishments will be most successful in coercing students to follow directions. This, of course, misses the point. The answer lies not in forcing students to become something they’re not. It’s about helping them become more of who they already are. That’s a model for change that can scale.

What can we build together? That’s what we’re going to find out. Creating a strategic plan is going to require resources, and that’s why having a successful fundraising campaign to start the year is so important. Last year we fell short of our goal of 100 people each donating $100, but to me that simply is not an option this year. The stakes are too high. So I’ve met with some PSCS donors, told them about our commitment to taking PSCS into its next stage, and invited them to offer a challenge: would you be willing to offer a $1,000 matching challenge as a way to inspire others? People have stepped up.

But no one has stepped up bigger than our Board President. She offered this challenge: if we can get 100 people each donating $100, in addition to getting 10 lead donors to issue $1,000 matching challenges, she’ll match it again with a $10,000 gift.

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Now, we begin. The first $1,000 matching challenge came from a PSCS founding family, who enrolled their daughter in PSCS’s first year back in 1994. Here are a few words they wrote in support of this campaign:

Every child is born with gifts and talents. Most schools miss those or dismiss those gifts in their quest for test scores or complying with some standard—the round peg in the square hole syndrome. It’s a mistake to strengthen weaknesses. Strengthen strengths.

PSCS shines as a nurturing place that serves the child and her gifts.  And with its worldwide status, it opens the hearts and minds for other schools to imitate this pattern, to be inspired to invent what works for their students. 

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To pledge $100, email [email protected], or simply donate online here. Let’s build something, together!

With love and gratitude,



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