Why does the school need the support of the Foundation?
The School Governors’ aim is to keep fee increases similar to the average annual increase in pay so they remain affordable. The long term aim is to use fee income solely to meet the running costs of the school, and to pay for capital works, bursaries and other awards out of other income. This means developing philanthropy among the School’s supporters and making good use of our facilities commercially. To this end, Governors have established the Bedford School Foundation to raise gifts, and to promote the use of the school’s facilities through Bedford School Enterprises.
Doesn’t the Harpur Trust provide enough financial assistance to make this unnecessary?
The Harpur Trust currently provides the school with some income from its endowments to fund a number of scholarships for day boys but direct contributions to meet other running costs ceased many years ago. The Harpur Trust assists by arranging loans to the School Governors for the construction of new buildings but, nevertheless, the school must repay the loan and meet all interest charges that accrue. Over the next few years income to Bedford School from the Harpur Trust is being phased out and will begin to levy a charge for the agency services they provide, such as (Blue Bill) fee collection.
If the school can borrow money for a new building, why is the Foundation necessary?
In the past the school has borrowed money for new projects and repaid the loan over a 20 year period. This has meant the school has had to service a large debt and meet the costs of this out of fee income. Furthermore, the school has been very vulnerable to increases in interest rates.
The Governors decided to reduce debt by the end of the year 2011/2012 and then fund all future capital projects out of accumulated surplus in the Development Fund and money raised by the Foundation. Projects can then be planned without impacting on operational expenditure and fee increases.
The Foundation is also tasked to raise funds for (means tested) scholarships and to help leavers who wish to undertake projects with educational value during their GAP year. There are no other sources of funding available.
Why is the Foundation a separate charitable company and not part of the school?
In the past the Harpur Trust have set up a subsidiary charity for each appeal. However, the Bedford School Foundation is a permanent organisation to support Bedford School and the Bedford School Governors felt that it was important for our supporters and donors to be closely identified with the Foundation and to feel some sense of ownership. The Members of the Foundation are the donors. They elect three of the six Trustees and are entitled to vote at Foundation general meetings. They receive annual reports and accounts and are generally involved in the management of the Foundation.
How do I become a member?
The Foundation Trustees elect Members. As a general guideline, Members will have contributed or made arrangements to contribute a total of £1,000 or more. This contribution includes any Gift Aid or other tax relief that the Foundation is able to claim. We recognise different levels of giving through grades of membership – read more about the grades.
Why set up a Foundation rather than run an appeal for each project?
The old style Appeal Fund is now seen as a rather inappropriate way of fundraising: one explained the need and asked for money with little or no preparation or warning, donors were thanked and then the Fund was wound up. There was little or no involvement on the part of donors and cultivation of a good relationship between the School and its supporters was limited, at best.
Bedford School Foundation is permanent and is able to develop good relationships with potential donors over time. It involves Supporters in the future plans for the School and in the way it goes about fundraising for projects. The Foundation runs legacy campaigns and fundraising projects. Most of the major independent schools now have a permanent fundraising or development office.
How is the Foundation Funded?
The School Governors and the Foundation Trustees both feel that it is important to be able to devote every penny donated to the Foundation to the project chosen by the donor. The Foundation is therefore funded via an annual grant from the school’s Development Fund. The annual budget is agreed by both the Foundation Trustees and the Governors and the Foundation must then confine its expenditure to the agreed grant.
If the Foundation is independent, how does it ensure that it is always acting in the way that the school would wish?
The strategic objectives of the Foundation are set out in the Fundraising Plan, a document jointly drafted by the Bursar and the Foundation Director and approved by both the Foundation Trustees and the School Governors.
The detailed fundraising activities of the Foundation are directed by the Steering Committee. The members of this include the Head Master and the Bursar as well as two other Foundation Trustees and the Chairman of the OB Club.
Whilst remaining an independent charity, close communication between all those involved ensures that appropriate support to the School is the paramount objective
If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.