The new calendar year began with exceptional fundraising activity for the How Far? campaign: In the month of January 2020 alone, new gifts and committed pledge payments brought in cash totaling $7 million.

As the deadline for this Report of Gifts neared, the total raised to date by the capital campaign exceeded $84 million.

“We have much to celebrate and much to be thankful for,” said board member and campaign co-chair Christine Angelakis P ’11, ’13, ’18. “We also have more work to do.

“Our fundraising has outperformed for financial aid, faculty salaries and professional development, and annual giving,” Angelakis said. “We need to raise more capital dollars for construction.”

Angelakis and co-chair William F. MacDonald Jr. OPC ’62, P ’05 are collaborating with board members and school leaders to map the final stages of the campaign and anticipate making an announcement this fall. They are aware that many in the PC community are asking about plans for building a new lower school, a need that was the impetus for the How Far? campaign.

“This campaign will not be complete until we put a shovel in the ground for a new lower school,” MacDonald said. “The timeline for the project depends on philanthropic interest and support, but we will do it.” MacDonald and Angelakis said that among the gifts received this year was an anonymous $5 million designated for the new lower school.
 

LOOKING BACK

The need for a lower school facility that supports innovative teaching and what neuroscience has taught us about the way children learn was outlined in Penn Charter’s 2013 Strategic Vision. Since then, Penn Charter developed and began to implement a campus transformation that will make it possible for the school to remain in East Falls for decades to come.

Central to the campus transformation are these construction projects:

• Build a new baseball field across School House Lane on land PC acquired in 2016 for $1.8 million. Completed in spring 2019.

• Build a $40 million Athletics & Wellness Center on the site of the old baseball field. Penn Charter broke ground on the William A. Graham IV OPC ’58 Athletics & Wellness Center in 2019, and the project is on schedule for completion in July 2021.

• Tear down the field house and build a state-ofthe-art lower school on that site. Timeline to be determined.

This plan realigns the new athletics facility and fields on the eastern side of campus, from the scoreboard on Maguire Field all the way across School House Lane to the Strawbridge Campus and Somers Field, home of the 2019 state champion girls soccer team. And, on the other side, the Lower, Middle and Upper Schools will converge in a pedestrian-friendly and vibrant Academic Village.

Board clerk Jeffrey Reinhold said the campus transformation positions Penn Charter to achieve its Strategic Vision and remain in East Falls for another 50 years and beyond. “This reconfiguration of the campus allows us to remain in the city and advance our program in academics, arts and athletics right here in East Falls,” Reinhold said.
 

LOOKING FORWARD

As the board, Head of School Darryl J. Ford and Chief Development Officer Jack Rogers plan next steps for the capital campaign, they hope to focus donor interest on funding for facilities. Construction for the baseball facility and Graham Center were more costly than originally estimated, and support for construction of new facilities is the one unfulfilled fundraising goal of the How Far? campaign.

As the capital campaign has progressed— the leadership giving phase began in 2013 and How Far? went public in October 2017— much of the cash raised has been put to use:

• Of the $84 million raised to date, $23 million was raised for annual giving on a goal of $16 million. Each year, annual giving dollars have been invested in program excellence and in fulfilling Strategic Vision initiatives, including expansion of the 1:1 laptop program, the Teaching & Learning Center and IdeaLabs.

• Maguire Field and the baseball facility were built with donor gifts, and the Graham Center construction is funded with donor gifts and financing.

• Over the course of the campaign, Penn Charter’s endowment has grown with $12 million in gifts to support financial aid, faculty professional development and general endowment. Those gifts, the strength of the markets and good management grew the endowment to an all-time high $100 million, before the pandemic.

The covid-19 pandemic briefly shifted attention from the campaign to the need to keep the PC community whole; over the spring and summer, the entire Penn Charter board and many donors who carried the capital campaign stepped up to make gifts to a newly created Preserving Our Community Fund. In the year ahead, the focus returns to completing the How Far? campaign.

“Almost a decade ago,” Ford said, “our community developed and embraced a game-changing Strategic Vision, and that vision laid the foundation for this campaign. We have completed 75 percent of that vision and, when we lay the final stone for these two building projects, we will be closing the book on the most successful campaign in Penn Charter history.”