Alumnae/i Annual Fund co-chairs take on new leadership role.
Concord Academy is built on strong relationships, in classrooms and in houses, in studios and on playing fields. Those lifelong connections extend to the network of over 5,400 alumnae/i around the world, and CA needs its community of graduates to join in ongoing support of the people and the programs at the heart of this school.
Imagine CA without one-on-one advising. Without a seat in the Chapel for every student. Without the ability to admit families needing financial assistance. Imagine CA’s talented faculty making the difficult decision to leave for positions elsewhere because their compensation or teaching resources are insufficient.
Concord Academy’s uncommon and highly individualized program requires a significant annual fundraising effort. Tuition covers only 77 percent of CA’s annual operating revenue. CA’s Annual Fund provides 11 percent — nearly equal to the amount provided by the endowment. Without a robust Annual Fund, CA simply cannot fulfill its mission.
The Annual Fund’s Impact
Over the last five years,
alumnae/i have generously donated
to CA’s Annual Fund.
The Annual Fund provides
of CA’s operating budget.
The impact is an average of
of students receive financial aid, but each year students do not enroll because of lack of funds.
This pivotal time in Concord Academy’s history requires a rethinking of leadership roles. Who better to put the case for annual support to the alumnae/i community than Matt McCahill ’95 and Claire Moriarty Schaeffer ’05. Consistently generous, they have volunteered, in their new roles as Alumnae/i Annual Fund co-chairs, to act on the responsibility they feel as beneficiaries of CA to carry forward the work begun by previous generations.
McCahill has contributed to CA financially year after year since his graduation. When approached about getting more actively involved, he said yes immediately, beginning with interviewing prospective students and continuing with the Annual Fund. McCahill grew up overseas, with a father in the State Department. “CA was the first place I really considered home,” he says. “Being a boarder helped me find my own place in the world when I was only 13. It gave me roots, and a chance to make lifelong friends.” Following a gap year with City Year in Boston, he completed college in three years thanks to CA class credits. He interned in a D.C. think tank, attended law school at Fordham, and now works as an antitrust litigation partner at a firm in New York City. As co-chair, McCahill brings a holistic perspective on the role of a CA education in fostering citizenship and responsibility — influences he feels this school is uniquely poised to instill.
“So much of the CA experience is dependent on contributions. The school’s endowment is not that big, but its expenses are significant.”
– Matt McCahill ’95
Schaeffer has contributed to the fund since her early days as an alumna, when she co-chaired CAYAC, the young alumnae/i committee. “I found it fascinating to see the inner workings of the school, and it opened my eyes to why alumnae/i participation and fundraising are so important,” she says. After CA, she attended Bowdoin College, then earned a master’s in visual anthropology at the University of London, whose focus on the arts and independent learning reminded her a great deal of the culture at CA. She now lives in Boston and Nantucket, working in real estate development and volunteering with the Boys and Girls Club. A natural community galvanizer, Schaeffer raised her hand when she saw the potential to make a significant impact by helping Concord Academy carry out its mission. Her energy, positivity, and joy are infectious.
On Campus, the Annual Fund has Supported
student clubs and organizations;
athletic teams, as well as intramural sports; and
opportunities for off-campus studies.
What do you wish your fellow alumnae/i knew about the Annual Fund?
Schaeffer: A lot of people think tuition pays for everything. It doesn’t. Annual Fund donations are part of the school’s operating budget, and there’s no excess in that budget — every dollar counts. Whether it’s $20 or $20,000, every single gift matters.
McCahill: So much of the CA experience is dependent on contributions. The school’s endowment is not that big, but its expenses are significant. I’d like to see more participation especially among alumnae/i my age, those who graduated in the 1990s. I think as we all enter our 40s and begin to establish ourselves more firmly in our careers, this is the time to start contributing in a more significant way. There’s a gap, and we need more people to step up.
What’s at stake?
“So much is really up to us. If we who have benefited from this school are not going to invest in it, who will?”
– Claire Moriarty Schaeffer ’05
McCahill: We’re competing for both money and volunteer time with other nonprofits that people may perceive as having more pressing needs — helping refugees or addressing poverty, for example. But here’s the thing: CA is one of the few places in America where you find teenagers who are having informed conversations about the broader world and their role in it. It’s a place where young people gain insights they later act on as adults to help their fellow citizens. CA graduates can contribute to this school knowing their broader interests will be satisfied by the generation of alumnae/i that is shaping this country’s future. CA needs to continue to be the kind of place where those conversations happen.
Schaeffer: Some people may feel that they already paid for CA when they attended and wonder what they owe the school now. I feel such gratitude for my education and loyalty to CA. We all had these amazing experiences here, and it’s our responsibility to keep that going for current and future students. So much is really up to us. If we who have benefited from this school are not going to invest in it, who will?