As many of you know the Folk School has received a matching grant of $75,000 to help establish the John C. Campbell Folk School Endowment.  The BIG NEWS is that this 2:1 match has become a 4:1 match.  That’s right, every dollar you contribute to the Folk School Endowment will become four dollars. This fundraising endeavor will contribute $300,000 to the newly founded endowment.

An endowment is essential to the continued success of our unique School, but don’t take my word for it… here is an eloquent letter from instructor, artist, and past Folk School Development Manager, Susi Hall.

Dear Folk School Folks,

I am excited by the grant that the school has been promised from the Wingate Foundation — it will directly benefit all of us.  Please read on…

Why is this so exciting?  It is a grant to be used exclusively to grow the school’s endowment.  That endowment is a wonderful safety net: the money is invested, the principal is never spent, and the earned interest is used to support the operating budget.  In other words, what it costs to open the doors, hire teachers and staff and welcome students every day gets a subsidy of sorts that lasts forever.

Every year the school faces rising costs; food and toilet paper and gas and art supplies and studio maintenance.  Where does the budget come from to pay for these things?  Without an adequate endowment cushion, the tuition must be raised. 

Every year student enrollment varies from week to week and the economy demonstrates its eccentric behavior.  The one constant in all of this chaos would be a healthy endowment that keeps our school on an even keel, providing a reliable source of income through thick times and thin.

There is a bit of a string attached:  this is a matching grant, so we will all have to donate what we can to add up to $75,000 before the foundation will contribute an equal amount.

The grant is just a start, but I suspect – as an old development director – it is one that will do well for the Folk School, encouraging more grants and gifts to bolster the endowment.  As a professional artist and teacher, I hold the Folk School close to my heart and want it to last forever.

I hope there are enough really smart and loving people out there who will understand that making this grant happen won’t build another beautiful building but will surely guarantee the school’s future.  Please join me in supporting this initiative.


Susi Hall

Reed Caldwell
About Reed Caldwell