Sandy Spring Friends School


Advancement FAQs

What does the Advancement Office do? And where is it?

The Advancement Office, located in Scott House, works to support our community and foster relationships between the School and parents, students, teachers, alumni, grandparents, trustees, and friends.  “Advancement” involves all the work that helps to make Sandy Spring Friends School stronger: community relations, communication, alumni relations, fundraising, stewardship , and strategic planning for the future of SSFS.  We support the Parents Association; organize events for parents, students, alumni, and friends; work closely with Admissions and Communications; and, yes, raise funds that underwrite the current and future needs of Sandy Spring Friends School (including the new Upper School building!).

What is the Annual Fund?

The Annual Fund is the cornerstone of philanthropy at SSFS.  Participation in the Annual Fund at any level is a powerful act of stewardship and a deeply meaningful investment in our community — and every gift to the Annual Fund, no matter the amount, is a statement of support for our students and teachers.  Gifts to the Annual Fund support financial aid, faculty and staff compensation, professional development, plant maintenance, and everyday needs of the school.  They also provide SSFS with the resources and flexibility necessary to seize unexpected opportunities. Most importantly, a gift to the Annual Fund signals your commitment to our school community.

What is the importance of 100% participation?

Annual Fund participation statistics are shared between our peer schools and among independent schools nationally.  These statistics affect our perceived standing among our peer schools and send an important message to prospective families and prospective faculty and administrators for whom participation in the Annual Fund is a concrete way to demonstrate trustee, parent, and community engagement.

What is the range of gifts to the Annual Fund?

Gifts range from $1 - $100,000 - all are necessary and essential as we seek to meet our goal each year.

I have to choose where to allocate my limited philanthropic dollars. Where should I give?

We hope families support all of our fundraising endeavors to the degree they are able.  The Annual Fund is essential for balancing our budget every year, and we ask families first and foremost to pledge their support there.  The Advancement Office is happy to work with families and discuss allocation scenarios and recognize that families will have different interests and capabilities.

Can I specify how my money I give to the Annual Fund is used?

Unrestricted gifts to the Annual Fund are preferred, as they allow the school to meet the most pressing current needs.  The Annual Fund provides general operating support to the school in its entirety - from professional development to sports equipment, to lights and air conditioning.

My family has multiple households, students in multiple grades, or both. How will our participation be counted?

If one parent of a multi-household family gives to the Annual Fund, the entire family will be counted as having participated - just as only one gift is required for a family to be counted for each grade in which they have a student.  However, we do encourage each household to give at whatever level that they are able in order to meet our goal for the year.  When seeking funding from our sources—such as foundations and corporations—it is important to illustrate the support of our parents and others by noting the percentage of individuals who contribute to SSFS.

My company will match my gift to SSFS, but I’m not sure how to start the process.

Matching gifts are an incredibly important way to make the most of your Annual Fund gift!  Matches must be processed through a company’s HR office or Matching Gifts program.  Reach out to the Advancement office for specific details on how to proceed.