Annual Fund FAQs

Key depends on charitable gifts to sustain its strong academic curriculum, support its teachers, enhance its teaching facilities, and strengthen its financial resources.


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 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.

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 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 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.

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.


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 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 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 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.


Would the School benefit from my company's matching gift program?

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.

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.



Families of Funds

School's Greatest Need

With an unrestricted git, you are allowing the School to use your git where it is most vitally needed. These funds will be used to support the operating budget, which directly benefits our teachers, programs and operations.

Financial Aid

Increased access to the broadest possible range of students enhances the School's ability to attract, enroll and retain students whose contributions, values and attitudes strengthen the learning environment at Key. Your gift will help assure socio-economic diversity in our student population and reaffirm the School's long-standing commitment to financial aid for deserving students.

Teaching and Learning

Key School is dedicated to creating high-quality academics, experiential learning and co-curricular activities that build learning skills and foster students' independence, enthusiasm and initiative. Gifts to this fund will support teacher work in all academic departments, including professional development activities and curricular planning.

Libraries and Technology

The use of technology is essential to every Key School student's experience. Across campus, from First School classrooms to Upper School writing, math and science labs, students use available technology resources to conduct research and solve intellectual challenges. Our classrooms must continue to have leading-edge equipment and global information access. Your support will sustain a superior learning environment and support proficiency in a technologically advanced world.

Visual and Performing Arts

Your gift designation to Key's music, theater and visual arts programs will assure continued exceptional instruction for students of all levels. From the First School through Upper School, as individuals and groups, Key students are immersed in activities and endeavors, including the outstanding Orff Schulwerk music program, fostering life-long appreciation of the arts.

Outdoor and Environmental Education

Your gift will support Key's extensive Outdoor and Environmental Education programs which enhance student performance in the classroom, help develop leadership ability, and teach important life-long skills that turn students into active participants in the global environment.

Physical Education and Athletics

Your gift will help support activities that build physical strength, develop collaborative skills and help students manage challenging situations, all of which are essential to personal growth.

Campus Upkeep

On-going care of Key's buildings and grounds is essential to creating a stimulating educational environment for our students as they learn and play, both indoors about out. Key's unique structures, outdoor learning spaces, walkways and gazebos require constant care and attention. Your contribution will allow campus improvements that will serve Key students now and into the future.



Gift Clubs

Gift ClubGiving Amount
Manse Society$25,000 and above
Gazebo Circle$15,000 - $24,999
Gold Circle$10,000 - $14,999
Founders Circle$7,500 - $9,999
Head of School Circle$5,000 - $7,499
Benefactors Club$2,500 - $4,999
Blue & White Club$1,750 - $2,499
Key Leaders Club$1,000 - $1,749
1958 Club$500 - $999
Obezag Club$250 - $499
Key Club$100 - $249
Young Alumni Leadership Club (Class of 2007-2017)$50 - $99

For questions or to make updates to your gift, please contact Director of Advancement, Stephen Ginter at 443.321.7825 or