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The Relationships That Move Our Mission Forward

By: Director of Development Cathleen Wyckoff

September 6, 2019

Around the start of each school year, Rossman and many other independent schools around the world, gear up for the start of their Annual Fund Campaign.

With just a quick Google search, you can find things such as “incredible” strategies, “awesome” appeals and “best” practices to enhance such a campaign. There are also articles highlighting three major components of a successful campaign and critical elements of an annual appeal letter, along with samples of Annual Fund videos ranging from serious to comedic.

While all this can provide some new ideas to a development or Annual Fund director, what really matters in giving is the meaningful relationship between the donor and the organization.

People give to things they believe in, are passionate about, and that hold a special place in their heart. Philanthropic donations are almost always made based on emotion rather than logic. Think about your own giving and your relationships with those organizations – why did you start giving to them?

At Rossman, we are blessed to have such an incredible community of supporters. We take our job of educating the next generation very seriously. Head of School Elizabeth Zurlinden remarks, “We intentionally plan each learning experience to engage our students’ hearts and minds, enlarge their perspectives of our ever-changing world, and encourage their individual growth. At the core of our work is knowing our students well and honoring their unique contributions to our community.”

It’s the relationships with our students, and ultimately families, that allow Rossman to continue to its mission of “providing a strong, well-balanced education within a nurturing community committed to excellence.” 

To kick off our Annual Fund, this year we again charged forward with an Annual Fund Blitz. Our goal is a campaign that is educational, inspiring and engaging — using a fun approach with meaningful conversations detailing how all Annual Fund gifts are instrumental to excellence in every aspect of our school. But we know in our hearts, that our families give because they have a special relationship with faculty, staff and friends. And when you have a special relationship, you want to watch that relationship flourish, be successful and continue the goodness that is at the heart of it. And we are grateful and better for it.

CEO of the United Nations Foundation Kathy Calvin once said, “Giving is not just about making a donation. It is about making a difference.” We are so blessed that our Rossman community makes a difference every day in the lives of our students and faculty.


Rossman School, nestled on a 20-acre campus in Creve Coeur, is an independent private preparatory school for students in Junior Kindergarten (four years old) through Grade 6. The school’s mission is to provide a strong, well-balanced education in a nurturing school community committed to excellence. Dedicated to developing personal, nurturing relationships with each child, Rossman’s experienced educators provide a solid foundation in academics, athletics and arts while emphasizing strong character development and leadership skills.​ Request a free Rossman School brochure here.

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