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December 20, 2023

By Molly Alpern, Assistant Director for Advancement Communications

This year, ECFS once again took part in GivingTuesday, a global day of giving. Held on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, GivingTuesday is a movement that encourages people to support the causes and organizations they care about. At its core, the initiative empowers everyone to be a philanthropist and demonstrates how gifts at every level can have a collective, meaningful impact. “We want to celebrate all the reasons people give and the impact their gifts have on our students and their educational experience at ECFS,” says Marjorie Jean Paul, Chief Advancement Officer. “We know that our combined efforts provide our students with the resources to succeed. Everyone can be a part of philanthropy at ECFS by making a donation of any size — every dollar counts.”

2023 would be the fifth year the School participated in GivingTuesday. “The first year, we raised about $100,000 — it was an incredibly successful day,” says Rose Turshen, Director of Development, “and each year, the number of supporters and amount donated have increased as ECFS families learn about the impact their contribution can make on the School. Last year we raised over $800,000, and this year, we set our sights higher because we knew that our community would step up to the challenge.”

Over the summer, Turshen shared her ambitious GivingTuesday goal: raising $1 million for ECFS in one day. It was a far cry from the $100,000 raised in 2018, but Turshen was sure that with the right motivation, the community would jump at the chance to join in. “We all knew that we’d need to get people excited about the effort if we wanted to meet our goal,” she says.

One decision made early on was an easy one: centering the campaign on the School’s robust financial aid and education access program. This program impacts 1 in 4 ECFS students and is a pillar that the school community strongly stands behind. With the focus determined, a plan was developed through collaboration between the Advancement Office, Board of Trustees, and Orange Fund and alumni volunteers. Volunteers were trained on peer-to-peer fundraising, an easy-to-use giving platform was developed, and the Advancement Office met with several donors who generously committed to matching all GivingTuesday donations up to $500,000 to incentivize others to give.

On GivingTuesday morning, Turshen says there were butterflies in her stomach. “I trusted that our community would want to be a part of this special day, but I also knew that we had set a high goal.”

But in true ECFS form, the community responded — as soon as the first email went out with the link to donate, gifts started to come in. Phones were ringing in the Advancement offices, Orange Fund volunteers were busy talking to fellow parents/guardians and alumni, and messages of support were flooding the giving page as donors brought the campaign to life. 

“I received a full four-year scholarship to Fieldston. The experience was so positive and life changing,” said one donor. Another supporter was inspired by the “kindness, generosity, and dedication my family has received from the ECFS community. We are truly blessed to be a part of this amazing school,” while another credited their gift to their “deep appreciation for faculty and staff for all they do to make ECFS so great for the kids!”

When the gift that pushed the total raised to over $1 million came in, a cheer went up in the office: with the support of hundreds of people embodying the spirit of philanthropy, the ambitious goal had been met with time to spare. With all of the GivingTuesday gifts, $1.27 million was raised from nearly 400 donors — a single-day record for the School.

“Ultimately, this momentous day was possible because of everyone who stands alongside us and believes in the power of making the ECFS experience available to all,” Joe Algrant, Head of School, reflected. “We wanted to invite our dynamic and generous community to positively impact ECFS, and I am grateful and humbled that they responded with such enthusiasm.”