Giving at Odyssey – Overview

Dear Odyssey Supporters,

I am writing this note to provide you with a brief overview of Odyssey’s annual fundraising program. You probably don’t know this but before I applied for the position of Head of School, I researched Odyssey’s past financial performance by studying its 990 history obtained remotely from my home in Santa Barbara. At that time (January of 2013), it became clear to me that one of my challenges would be to place Odyssey on a more stable financial footing to secure the school’s future – even beyond my time of service to this superb institution. In just 3 short years since my appointment, the Board of Trustees and the faculty have labored “above and beyond the call of duty” and the results have been striking. In fact, I just received a Management Letter from our independent auditor yesterday and Odyssey’s financial ship is beginning to sail through the rough seas of private school finance with grace, precision, and confidence! This recent success has plenty to do with the efforts of Odyssey’s CFO, Ellie Byrd, and our trustee and Finance Committee Chairman, Don Etzbach.

Looking towards the future, it is safe to say that all of us who work on behalf of Odyssey’s students desire continued financial success as we carefully improve Odyssey’s 21st century educational programs. Present and future Odyssian kids will directly benefit in manifold ways from the construction of a strong financial foundation. Here is a quick description of the 2 main components of the annual fundraising effort at Odyssey.

Annual Campaign

This is essentially an email campaign designed to urge you to “click the donate button” on our website to submit your annual donation. Many independent schools across the country give guidelines for donations and expect current families to donate at least 10% of the cost of tuition but, quite honestly, that is not Odyssey’s style. We simply ask you to do the best that you can. This campaign gets underway immediately following the Thanksgiving holiday – during our Student/Faculty/Parent Conference Week held every year during the first week in December.

To find out about our current Annual Fund/Campaign please visit the dedicated annual fund page.

Spring Benefit Event

This is a large community gathering and serves both the fundraising and “friend raising” goals of the school. Generally held in late April, current parents, faculty, trustees, and alumni(ae) rendezvous for a celebratory party. A short “live auction” is woven into the fabric of the night and all Odyssey community members appreciate the valiant efforts of the parents who toil endlessly to provide us with this epic event.

I am very accustomed to raising money for schools because resource development is necessary for the overall health of any educational institution. Earlier this year, while discussing what the tuition might be for 2015-2016, the board and I decided to not cross the $40,000 per year tuition threshold like so many other local CAIS schools. Rather, we unanimously agreed that maintaining a lower tuition would be in keeping with the spirit of our school community while also offering an exceptional value to parents. At this time, I am hoping for parent generosity to further enhance our school’s fiscal foundation and all donations are tax deductible!

Your tax deductible participation in our Annual Campaign and Spring Benefit Event will help our school increase its Access Fund so that an Odyssey education can be accessible to more students during future years. Additionally, by supporting Odyssey, you will allow us to make investments in technology, outdoor expeditionary gear, and other subject specific tools and programs. All of these assets will be employed to challenge our students and spark their intellectual curiosities during future days of exploration. Next, your generosity will assist us with our Professional Development Fund – an investment designed to help Odyssey’s dedicated teachers gain access to enrichment programs that will maximize their roles in the complex domain of the “teaching and learning process.” Lastly, your support will help us establish a Reserve Fund that will help the good ship Odyssey weather any unforeseen shifts in the economic seascape. This fund will provide Odyssey with insurance that a rogue wave will not capsize our beloved exploration vessel.

During future years, the CAIS (California Association of Independent Schools) will ask me about the level of participation in Odyssey’s fundraising efforts of current parents, former parents, alumni, alumnae, teachers, and trustees. Schools normally strive to reach 100% participation. I mention this because I fundamentally believe that a successful fundraising outcome for Odyssey will position our beloved school to scale incredible educational heights during future decades. Therefore, I hope that you will respond to our 2016 – 2017 annual theme with your generous support.

From the Sea to the Summit: The Power and Pride of Site and Community
(click here to find out more!)

Thanks so much for your continued support of Odyssey. The head, faculty, staff, board, and students deeply appreciate your dedication!

Warmest regards,