Annual Fund FAQs

What is the Annual Fund?
The Annual Fund is a yearly appeal that generates needed in­come through charitable gifts from all corners of the Key School community. Funds raised are spent the same fiscal year in sup­port of the School’s current operating budget and enhance the day-to-day life of every student and faculty member.

How does Key use the money raised from charitable gifts to the Annual Fund?
Contributions to the Annual Fund provide necessary funding to support the School’s exceptional academic programs, as well as fine and performing arts, athletics and outdoor education. In addition, it provides teachers access to professional develop­ment opportunities and supports the technology, equipment and supplies needed in classrooms, labs, and libraries through­out the entire School.

How can I show my support for a program that I love?
You can show support for a favorite program or area of interest by designating your gift within the Family of Funds. The funds include: School’s Greatest Need, Financial Aid, Fine and Performing Arts, Libraries and Technology, Outdoor Education, Physical Education and Athletics, Teaching and Learning, and Campus Upkeep.

How and when will I be asked to participate in the Annual Fund?
Our Annual Fund campaign runs on a fiscal-year cycle from July 1 through June 30, annually. Parents, grandparents, alumni, students, and other committed volunteers contact their peers via direct mail, phonathons, personal conversations, email, and more throughout the year. When you are contacted by a volunteer, please take the time to learn the ways in which your gift will make a significant difference. Your gift or pledge made early in the Annual Fund campaign is very much appreciated.

What is the difference between the Annual Fund and the Endowment?
To put it simply, the Annual Fund is much like your checking account and is used to meet the School’s current operational costs. The School’s budget relies on Annual Fund gifts to meet its same year expenses. The Endowment is vital in securing the future of the School and is similar to a long-term savings account. Gifts to the Endowment are placed into an investment account and eventually a fixed percentage of the fund will be used annually to support the operating budget.

What size gift would make a difference to Key?
Only you can decide on the amount of your gift; however, your participation is critical. We urge every member of the Key community to participate every year, regardless of gift amount. As Key’s potential donor pool is relatively small, every gift truly matters, and so we ask that you make giving to Key a charitable priority. While gifts may differ in size, each gift has the same impact on participation. Historical data has shown that, in general, the higher the rate of participation, the more revenue the Annual Fund will raise.

What does it mean to be an Annual Fund Leadership Donor?
Leadership Donors are those who contribute a total of $1,000 or more to the Annual Fund in a single fiscal year. Leadership Donors are vital to the continued success and growth of Key, as each $1,000+ gift makes an extraordinary impact. These donors are honored each year at the annual Leadership Donor Party held in May.

What can I do to support the Annual Fund besides donating money?
The Annual Fund requires committed and talented volunteers to give of their time and expertise in a number of areas. Annual Fund volunteers are indispensable to a successful campaign. Last year, volunteers made phone calls, served on committees, helped develop direct mail campaigns, and spread the word about the Annual Fund to their fellow parents, alumni, grandparents, and other Key community members.

What are my options for making a gift?
Gifts can be made by cash, check, credit card, matching gift programs, stocks and securities, or through contributions to the Combined Federal Campaign or United Way. Recurring gifts are a great way to show sustaining support throughout the year and are automatically drawn from your credit or debit card on the 15th day of each month. The total dollar amount and number of installments is determined by you. Gifts to the Annual Fund are tax-deductible. To make a gift, contact the Advancement Office at 410-263-9231 or visit to make a gift online.

Would the School benefit from my company’s Matching Gift Programs?
Yes! Gifts can be doubled or even tripled through your company’s Matching Gift Program. When considering a gift to Key, consult with your employer, and, if applicable, forward the completed matching gift form to the Advancement Office along with your contribution.

Why does Key request a charitable contribution from my family when I already pay tuition?
The cost of an independent school education is such that tuition and fees do not cover the total expense of educating each student. The Annual Fund subsidizes tuition income to meet the School’s operating needs. Charitable contributions to the Annual Fund bridge the gap between tuition income and the actual cost of operating the School. In fact, 91.2% of Key School’s income is garnered through tuition — a much higher dependency on tuition than that of our peer institutions. Only through increased income from other sources, such as philanthropic support, can Key maintain its tuition levels and sustain a healthy foundation for the future. Raising tuition to cover all educational costs would exclude many capable students who contribute to the vitality of the School. By asking for contributions from the entire Key School community, every student ultimately benefits.

Who is asked to support the Annual Fund?
Each year Key asks all members of our community — Trustees, parents, alumni, past parents, grandparents, faculty and staff, past Trustees, foundations and corporations, and friends—to consider making a tax-deductible gift to the Annual Fund. Members of the Key School community contribute voluntarily to the School for a variety of reasons. Some give to support exceptional curriculum and faculty, while others give in support of Key’s needs-based financial aid program. Still others choose the School as their philanthropic beneficiary of choice, even after their children have graduated and moved on to life after Key.