She Said, He Said: The STRIVE Campaign

She Said, He Said: The STRIVE Campaign

A conversation between Campaign Co-Chair Rob Carter ’80 and his wife, STA Altar Guild and Annual Giving volunteer Ronnie Carter. Rob and Ronnie are current parents of B Former Mac Carter.


STRIVE campaign co-chair Rob Carter ’80, and his wife, Ronnie Carter

Ronnie: I’m continually being asked what the STRIVE Campaign is all about. Can you summarize it for me?
Rob: The STRIVE Campaign is a three-part, $50-million comprehensive fundraising campaign for St. Albans. The three parts are: 1) new athletic fields ($20 million); 2) endowment ($16.5 million); and 3) Annual Giving ($13.5 million).

Ronnie: Is any of the three parts more important than the others?
Rob: Not at all. Everyone agrees that, for a number of reasons, it is critical that we overhaul our athletic fields and the track and tennis courts. First, it has been far too long since any improvements have been made to the fields. Second, we haven’t hosted a track meet since the early 1970s, and finally the School has simply outgrown the fields as they are currently configured.

At the same time, the School has important needs that can only be addressed through increasing the School’s endowment—currently about $60 million but somewhat meager in comparison to many other independent schools. Part of the endowment raised in the campaign will support our expanded technology resources, professional development and benefit programs for teachers, and our focus on international studies and global and diplomatic service. Further, this part of the campaign will also allow for the continued moderation of tuition increases and will help the School sustain economic diversity through financial aid.

Finally, and of primary importance to St. Albans, is Annual Giving. Much to the School’s credit, this is one of the three main components of the STRIVE Campaign. We’ve rolled Annual Giving into the campaign to maintain its importance but more importantly to make sure that neither Annual Giving nor the capital and endowment fundraising efforts “cannibalize” each other. Annual Giving plays a major role in funding the operations of the School; indeed, the “gap” between what tuition covers and the actual cost to educate each boy is more than $10,000.

Ronnie: What’s the plan for the fields?
Rob: The plans—if we raise the money we need, of course—call for a turfed, multi-purpose stadium field for football, lacrosse, and soccer with seating for 600; a 6-lane regulation track; a regulation baseball field; 3 practice fields; 7 tennis courts (plus a new tennis pavilion with locker rooms); a new and relocated Beauvoir pool; and new walls, paths, stands, and landscaping.

Ronnie: The other question I get asked a lot is about when construction will end. When will the fields be ready?
Rob: Worked started in May 2014, and construction is expected to take about a year, as long as we have good weather. The hope is to be back in play on the grounds of St. Albans by the summer of 2015.

Ronnie: Why is it important to do the fields now?
Rob: I don’t think anyone would disagree that the fields are in terrible shape. Not having a turf field or a regulation-size track has made athletic competitions difficult to host at home, not to mention practices. There’s a famous quote from former STA Athletic Director Skip Grant about every boy needing to sweat every day. We need to provide a fun, safe and conducive place for St. Albans students to do just that.

Ronnie: How’s the fundraising going?
Rob: We’ve raised close to $25 million of the $50 million overall goal, which is a terrific start, but we’ve got a long way to go. About $15 million of what we’ve raised so far is for the fields part of the campaign, and we want to meet our $20 million goal for the fields before the end of the 2014-15 school year. Annual Giving went really well last year, and we’re hoping this year will be even stronger. We’ve also got some work to do on the endowment portion of the STRIVE Campaign—it’s going to help fund some new initiatives of the Governing Board’s strategic plan—including professional development and improved benefits for the faculty, expanded international opportunities available to students, and increased technology resources.

Ronnie: Now for the really important question—how can STA parents be helpful?
Rob: Well, first of all, many parents have already given to the STRIVE Campaign and are being helpful in other ways, too. A huge boost to our efforts has been the recent gift from the Parents’ Association to the campaign of $500,000. Parents’ Association President Tom Billington ’82 announced this gift at last year’s Parents’ Dinner, and we’re extremely grateful to all parents—past, present, and future—who have played a part in the financial success of the Parents’ Association, from the Christmas House Tour to the Bulldog Café, and all of the other terrific things in which the Parents’ Association is involved.

I think the number one thing parents can do to be helpful is to make their gift or pledge to the STRIVE Campaign as soon as possible. David Shepard in the Development Office is always available to discuss individual gifts at (202) 537-6427, as are my fellow co-chairs, Anne Large and Ben Guill ’69, and I. And more information and ways to give and get involved can always be found on this website. We appreciate your support of the STRIVE Campaign!

Reprinted with updates from the winter 2014 Newshound, the Parents’ Association newsletter.