Can We Put a Pricetag on the Future?
By: Jennie Ruport, Director of Development
As the first administrator to write for the Leadership blog, I come to the St. Anne’s community with more questions than answers (I am sure you all love that!). As we emerge from the COVID era, many folks ask what’s next? What do we need to prepare for the future? As someone who works in development, this question makes my heart beat faster, and I start to breathe a bit heavier. How do we ensure our school is financially equipped for something unknown? Do we have the resources in place to tackle the unknown? Can we put a price tag on the future?
As I think about these questions, I realize there is no way to monetize the unknown. We simply need to make sure our community and students are supported and empowered to navigate whatever the world throws at them. When I reflect on what we did well during the pandemic, I’m struck by our community’s strength and character. Our parents leaned in and wanted to help, our students did whatever we asked of them even if it was uncomfortable, and our teachers took chances and grew in ways they never knew were possible.
I remember in the middle of 2020 when multiple families came to me and asked how they could support the community affected by COVID. Were families out of work? Were they struggling with health concerns and in need of a meal train? The St. Anne’s community navigated the pandemic with empathy, courage, inclusivity, and resiliency - all key attributes of our Portrait of a Graduate.
At St. Anne’s, we have always valued the participation of our community rather than focusing on the dollar amount people give. There are no buildings with donor names and our kids accept one another for who they are and not for what they have. Everything on our campus was given through the generosity of others. I think back to how the Sisters acquired St. Anne’s, originally a farmhouse. St. Anne’s was given to those brave women who traveled across the country to help children in need. From the very beginning, it has been about children.
We take care of one another by giving back to the school that cares for its students wholeheartedly. The “price tag” of that school is built into the moral fabric that unites us and, in the end, does not contain a number or dollar sign. We might not all align politically or spiritually, but we all agree that we want our kids to grow up to advocate for themselves and the world. Because it is our kids who will be on the front lines of whatever the world has in store for us, we must continue this cycle of generosity. What we give to our kids now contributes to a greater society down the line.
So back to my original question, can we put a price tag on the future? A “we are all in this together” mentality is priceless. The education our kids get at St. Anne’s is as well. How much does kindness cost? How much does perseverance cost? (I told you I had a lot of questions). The future is weighed not in cost, but in character.
When we think about our graduates, we continuously come back to our roots which ground us in the values of the Sisters. We have prepared our students when they leave this school to take the risks necessary to tackle the hard questions and to do the hard work. Our students will face challenges and opportunities that our founders couldn’t have imagined, but the Sisters’ values transcend time (and you can’t put a price on that!)