Frequently Asked Questions

Why is USM holding a campaign at this time?
Like all independent schools, USM relies on voluntary gifts to meet the needs of the School on an annual basis. Tuition covers 75 percent of our annual operating budget needs. The USM Fund and income from the existing endowment, as well as proceeds from the Parents’ Association and other auxiliary revenue, close the operating budget gap. If an independent school wants to make significant gains like endowment growth or campus improvements, the Board of Trustees will assess the needs, develop a timeline, and then determine when it is time to implement a campaign. Our Board of Trustees recently conducted a Strategic Planning Process and completed both a Feasibility Study and a Facility Audit before embarking on Our Common Bond.

Independent schools will typically hold campaigns every 5-7 years. USM’s most recent campaign concluded in June 2010.

What are the priorities of the campaign?
The priorities of Our Common Bond: The Campaign for University School of Milwaukee were developed through a Strategic Planning Process and Feasibility Study involving the Board of Trustees, key stakeholders, and numerous members of our School community. Our goal is to raise $27 million to support and advance our School. These funds will be invested in three priority areas: facilities, faculty and programs, and our students.

Our Campus: The USM campus is a part of every student’s experience. We’re focusing on smart capital projects with the greatest potential to benefit every student every day, and that provide space to enhance the strength of our School community. Priorities include the Jack Olson ’67 Commons to promote our core belief in the power of community and lasting relationships; the Lubar Center for Innovation and Exploration to serve as a hub of experiential technology-based learning; an expanded Performing Arts Center to match the superb quality of our fine arts programs; and the Bruce ’81 and Jennifer Lee Community Room to welcome visitors and hold meetings and events.

Our Faculty and Programs: The strength of our faculty drives USM’s legacy and reputation, and most importantly, the educational experience for our students. We will raise new funds to attract, retain, support, and train our incredible faculty who mentor and inspire our students. Additionally, we will increase our endowment to equip our teachers to develop powerful and innovative ideas and to bring those ideas to our students more effectively.

Our Students and Programs: To build the greatest future for USM, we want the widest range of voices in the conversations that matter most. Building our endowment allows us to significantly increase our investment in financial assistance for our students and to provide all students with innovative programs of continued excellence.

Is the USM Fund included in this comprehensive campaign?
Yes. Our Common Bond: The Campaign for University School of Milwaukee is a comprehensive campaign, which means it includes all gifts to the USM Fund, the endowment, and our priority capital projects from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2020. Therefore, any annual gift through the USM Fund will be included in each family’s total campaign contribution, and will help USM maintain its current level of excellence.

It is important to remember, however, that although comprehensive in nature, the campaign and the USM Fund support separate and distinct areas of the School. The campaign is an intensive, multi-year fundraising effort to secure pledges and outright gifts to provide for physical improvements and enhancements, as well as endowment for faculty, students, and programs. The USM Fund is our most dependable, flexible, and impactful source of annual support. Upon receipt, USM Fund contributions are immediately put toward our annual operational costs and most pressing needs. It is critical to the success of the campaign and to the daily workings of the school that every family supports USM through the USM Fund.

What is the leadership structure of the campaign?
The campaign is being led by our co-chairs, current parents and Trustees Rick Stratton ’92 and Karin Werner. Our Campaign Cabinet also includes members of the community including parents, alumni, and parents of alumni. A full list of campaign leadership can be found here.

The community stage of the campaign will provide additional volunteer opportunities.

Can I contribute to the campaign?
Yes! One of the best ways to support the campaign during the early stages is to make a continued commitment to the USM Fund, which helps to underwrite approximately 4 percent of the School’s annual operating budget, and could quite possibly represent the largest collective gift ($6 million over five years) to Our Common Bond. If you are interested in learning how to make a multi-year pledge to a specific area of the campaign, please contact us.
When and how can we learn more about the campaign?
Campaigns follow four distinct stages: an early planning and feasibility stage; an advance gifts stage that focuses on the commitments from our Board of Trustees and their families; a leadership gifts stage for major and impactful gifts; and a final community stage that occurs once our campaign reaches beyond 75 percent of the total goal. We are currently in the leadership gifts stage of our campaign and look forward to going public in the coming months. In the meantime, please explore the information provided on this website and feel free to contact us directly for additional information at this time.

Interested in learning more about Our Common Bond?

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