Head of School Blog

Annual Fund Campaign Day 6

 

Support the 2017-2018 GRACE Annual Fund Campaign

It’s week two of the 2017-2018 Annual Fund Campaign that started last week and will conclude on October 20th. Gifts to the Annual Fund allows GRACE to invest in critical resources in many areas of school life including academics, athletics, fine arts, safety, security, and technology. Each day during the campaign we will highlight a different aspect of GRACE and how the Annual Fund supports each one.

Please prayerfully consider how you can be a part of this year’s Annual Fund Campaign. Strong parent participation is a key factor in us gaining access to outside foundation funding. Every gift, regardless of the amount, counts toward our goal of 100% participation. Please make your commitment (or let us know about the giving you are already doing) by filling out the 2017-2018 Annual Fund Commitment Card.

Day 6: We are Thankful for a Culture of Service

GRACE is intentional about creating a culture of service and charity within our community. The Lower Campus Student Council sponsors a number of campus-wide projects, including Operation Christmas Child, a food drive, collection of toys, hygiene items, and other items to give to local or mission groups. Groups of students provide prayer support and write letters for several military personnel and nursing homes.

On the upper campus, students have the opportunity to participate in a fall mission trip. Additionally, students in 7th and 8th grade participate in a meal packing event with the organization Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now). High School students participate in an annual Community Service Day and also have the opportunity to participate in a mission trip. High school clubs provide multiple opportunities for service. All students offer prayer support for GRACE mission teams.

As a school-wide event, the annual Hoops for Hope / Play4Kay Charity Basketball night is a tradition of remembering those who have lost the battle with cancer,  honoring those that are still fighting, and raising money for the the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Over the last ten years, GRACE has raised over $65,000 at this event. Including Hoops for Hope, GRACE has demonstrated our commitment to service by giving away roughly $25,000 per year to local and international charities.

What is the Annual Fund and What Does it Do?

If you’re not sure what the Annual Fund is, or how those funds are used, please read the following series on Giving to GRACE:

Make your commitment today! Fill out the 2017-2018 Annual Fund Commitment Card now!

Annual Fund Campaign Day 5

 

Support the 2017-2018 GRACE Annual Fund Campaign

The 2017-2018 Annual Fund Campaign will last from October 9th-20th! Gifts to the Annual Fund allows GRACE to invest in critical resources in many areas of school life including academics, athletics, fine arts, safety, security, and technology. Each day during the campaign we will highlight a different aspect of GRACE and how the Annual Fund supports each one.

Please prayerfully consider how you can be a part of this year’s Annual Fund Campaign. Strong parent participation is a key factor in us gaining access to outside foundation funding. Every gift, regardless of the amount, counts toward our goal of 100% participation. Please make your commitment (or let us know about the giving you are already doing) by filling out the 2017-2018 Annual Fund Commitment Card.

Day 5: We are Thankful for our Loving Community

When families are asked what they like best about GRACE Christian School, overwhelmingly their responses include the words “loving, caring, community.”  At GRACE this notion of being a loving community is instilled in the youngest grades with encouragement to be “bucket fillers” and not “bucket dippers.” On both campuses, students are encouraged to treat one another with respect and strive to “walk in a way worthy of our calling” as followers of Christ. Teachers instruct and guide students to be responsible digital citizens as they participate in social media. GRACE is also intentional about modeling what a loving community looks like outside of our school. For example, on the Sunday afternoon following our annual Homecoming Dance for our high school students, GRACE is the host location for a dance for students with special needs organized by a local dance studio. Guests are able to enjoy all the decorations and the dance floor used by our students for a special event of their own. This event along with the emphasis that GRACE places on service and missions reflect the value we place on being a loving community.

What is the Annual Fund and What Does it Do?

If you’re not sure what the Annual Fund is, or how those funds are used, please read the following series on Giving to GRACE:

Make your commitment today! Fill out the 2017-2018 Annual Fund Commitment Card now!

Annual Fund Campaign Day 4

 

Support the 2017-2018 GRACE Annual Fund Campaign

The 2017-2018 Annual Fund Campaign will last from October 9th-20th! Gifts to the Annual Fund allows GRACE to invest in critical resources in many areas of school life including academics, athletics, fine arts, safety, security, and technology. Each day during the campaign we will highlight a different aspect of GRACE and how the Annual Fund supports each one.

Please prayerfully consider how you can be a part of this year’s Annual Fund Campaign. Strong parent participation is a key factor in us gaining access to outside foundation funding. Every gift, regardless of the amount, counts toward our goal of 100% participation. Please make your commitment (or let us know about the giving you are already doing) by filling out the 2017-2018 Annual Fund Commitment Card.

Day 4: We are Thankful for the Arts

In a culture that is seeing more schools defund arts education, GRACE is committed to giving each student at every grade level a solid foundation in the arts. Elementary students are engaged weekly in vocal and instrumental music as well as art enrichment classes. Middle school students build on these art and music foundations with the addition of dance and theatre elective classes. Students in high school have a variety of electives to choose from in each of the above areas as well as being able to participate in the strings ensemble or the chapel band.  Performance opportunities exist with all the fine arts classes.  Fine arts students learn perseverance and teamwork and the value of being part of something bigger than themselves as they work individually and in ensembles to develop the gifts and talents bestowed upon them by their Creator. Previous investments in the annual fund allowed for a complete overhaul of the upper campus chapel to created a better performing arts venue for GRACE students than existed before.

What is the Annual Fund and What Does it Do?

If you’re not sure what the Annual Fund is, or how those funds are used, please read the following series on Giving to GRACE:

Make your commitment today! Fill out the 2017-2018 Annual Fund Commitment Card now!

Annual Fund Campaign Day 3

 

Support the 2017-2018 GRACE Annual Fund Campaign

The 2017-2018 Annual Fund Campaign will last from October 9th-20th! Gifts to the Annual Fund allows GRACE to invest in critical resources in many areas of school life including academics, athletics, fine arts, safety, security, and technology. Each day during the campaign we will highlight a different aspect of GRACE and how the Annual Fund supports each one.

Please prayerfully consider how you can be a part of this year’s Annual Fund Campaign. Strong parent participation is a key factor in us gaining access to outside foundation funding. Every gift, regardless of the amount, counts toward our goal of 100% participation. Please make your commitment (or let us know about the giving you are already doing) by filling out the 2017-2018 Annual Fund Commitment Card.

Day 3: We are Thankful for Technology at GRACE

The goal of Technology at GRACE (TAG) is to embrace technology to better engage and empower students to excel as lifelong learners by allowing GRACE teachers to extend the boundaries of their classrooms so that students can be exposed to a richer learning environment. Instructional technology at GRACE has always focused on implementing tools and processes that enhance the educational quality of each class. To this end, GRACE teachers receive frequent and ongoing professional development to learn how to best utilize and implement available tools,  and students are encouraged to take risks by pushing the boundaries of technology as it applies to their projects. This commitment to empowering students is evidenced a number of ways including the student-led StreamTeam that videos and live-streams school events, the student interns who work with our IT department each summer, and the use of computer generated animation to create the flying scenes in the production of Peter Pan. The Annual Fund has supported TAG recently with the purchase of Office 365 for all staff, students, and families, 40 new Casio projector systems, and several new computers.

What is the Annual Fund and What Does it Do?

If you’re not sure what the Annual Fund is, or how those funds are used, please read the following series on Giving to GRACE:

Make your commitment today! Fill out the 2017-2018 Annual Fund Commitment Card now!

Annual Fund Campaign Day 2

 

Support the 2017-2018 GRACE Annual Fund Campaign

The 2017-2018 Annual Fund Campaign will last from October 9th-20th! Gifts to the Annual Fund allows GRACE to invest in critical resources in many areas of school life including academics, athletics, fine arts, safety, security, and technology. Each day during the campaign we will highlight a different aspect of GRACE and how the Annual Fund supports each one.

Please prayerfully consider how you can be a part of this year’s Annual Fund Campaign. Strong parent participation is a key factor in us gaining access to outside foundation funding. Every gift, regardless of the amount, counts toward our goal of 100% participation. Please make your commitment (or let us know about the giving you are already doing) by filling out the 2017-2018 Annual Fund Commitment Card.

Day 2: We are Thankful for a Safe & Secure School

GRACE makes every effort to keep our students safe and secure. All of our staff members are CPR certified and renew their certification every two years. During the 2017-2018 school year GRACE added a school nurse to our staff to better serve the needs of our students. Over the past few years GRACE has used Annual Fund investments to procure exterior and interior cameras for both campuses and to purchase our security screening system designed by Raptor Technologies. Every visitor to our campus is screened instantly against the registered sex offender databases in all fifty states through the use of the Raptor system, which also ensures that accurate and reliable records are kept for every visitor that enters our school, every day. All of these “behind-the-scenes” investments help keep our students as safe as possible.

What is the Annual Fund and What Does it Do?

If you’re not sure what the Annual Fund is, or how those funds are used, please read the following series on Giving to GRACE:

Make your commitment today! Fill out the 2017-2018 Annual Fund Commitment Card now!

Annual Fund Campaign Day 1

 

Support the 2017-2018 GRACE Annual Fund Campaign

The 2017-2018 Annual Fund Campaign will last from October 9th-20th! Gifts to the Annual Fund allows GRACE to invest in critical resources in many areas of school life including academics, athletics, fine arts, safety, security, and technology. Each day during the campaign we will highlight a different aspect of GRACE and how the Annual Fund supports each one.

Please prayerfully consider how you can be a part of this year’s Annual Fund Campaign. Strong parent participation is a key factor in us gaining access to outside foundation funding. Every gift, regardless of the amount, counts toward our goal of 100% participation. Please make your commitment (or let us know about the giving you are already doing) by filling out the 2017-2018 Annual Fund Commitment Card.

Day 1: We are Thankful for Inspiring Teachers

The GRACE teaching staff provides strong academic instruction while fostering a safe, loving, and caring environment. Teachers partner with parents to encourage critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and to nurture Christian character in each student. Our goal is for GRACE students to graduate spiritually mature, academically prepared, and mentally confident. The Annual Fund supports our teachers through providing additional instructional tools for the classroom and quality professional development opportunities.

 

What is the Annual Fund and What Does it Do?

If you’re not sure what the Annual Fund is, or how those funds are used, please read the following series on Giving to GRACE:

Make your commitment today! Fill out the 2017-2018 Annual Fund Commitment Card now!

Deployments and Homecomings

With more than twenty-one years of working in education, and twenty-one homecoming weeks under my belt, I consider myself something of a homecoming week expert. Homecoming weeks always consist of crazy, creative outfits, students stressed out about parade floats and dance dates (not always in that order), and teachers trying to maintain order and keep the academic progress moving forward amidst the chaos. Homecoming weeks are fun and exhausting, as they offer a welcome break from the routine while simultaneously reminding us of the benefits of the routine.

Today, I experienced my second favorite homecoming memory, as our lower campus neighbor, Hope Community Church, hosted a special service to honor and pray over members of the 449th Theater Aviation Brigade and the 2-130th Aviation Operations Battalion who are deploying to Kuwait and Iraq in support of Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Inherent Resolve. As the soldiers and their families arrived, they were greeted by over 400 flag-waving, cheering GRACE students and staff members decked out in as much red, white, and blue as possible. In a week filled with debates over the meaning of patriotism and symbolic speech, it was incredibly powerful to see the staff and students demonstrate their support of our servicemen and servicewomen. The soldiers shared hugs and high-fives, took selfies, and thanked our students for their support. Soldiers and staff members alike shed tears as we thanked them for serving our nation. The soldiers concluded their time with the students by marching in formation between the rows of GRACE students before entering the church for the formal service.

There is a certain irony in that these servicemen and servicewomen came onto our campus in preparation for their deployment as we celebrate our school’s homecoming week. As they prepare to leave their homes and families, we are eagerly anticipating the return of GRACE alumni for our parade, football game and other weekend activities. Please join me in praying for not only these, but all of our servicemen and servicewomen throughout the world (including class of 2010 GRACE alumni Kenny Yacynych, currently serving in Afghanistan, pictured) who place themselves in harm’s way so that we may enjoy the freedoms for which so many have fought and died before them. Please pray that God would watch over and protect them so that in the not too distant future, they can enjoy a blessed homecoming of their own with their loved ones.

In case you were wondering, my all-time favorite homecoming week memory is easy to pick and will never be topped. In 2009, the date of the homecoming dance fell on the same day as my wife’s due date with our youngest child. Amy, always a trooper, chaperoned the dance with me, staying at the venue until the last student left. About eight hours later, she gave birth to Audrey. I had not thought about it until now, but maybe that is why Audrey always wants to go all out when it comes to dressing up for homecoming.

Blessings, Eric Bradley

Giving at GRACE, Part 3

This year at GRACE we would like to make better use of the corporations that have a philanthropic focus and maximize how purchases made by our GRACE community can have a bigger impact on our annual fund.Both affinity (give back) programs and corporate gift matching programs allow GRACE to benefit from purchases and donations you are already making. This year, we would like to emphasize the value of your participation in these programs and increase the funds raised from under $3,000 last year to $20,000 this year.

Affinity Organizations

Affinity programs rebate a percentage of your purchase to the charity of your choice. In addition to amazon.com, almost all the local grocery stores participate in some sort of give back program. If you have not already done so this year, take a moment to use the instructions listed below to link your account to GRACE. Note: Most grocery store programs require families to relink your account each school year. You can also download No Effort Fundraising if you would prefer a hard copy of the information below.

Amazon – smile.amazon.com

  • AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon that lets customers enjoy the same wide selection of products, low prices, and convenient shopping features as on Amazon.com. The difference is that when customers shop on AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organizations selected by customers.
  • Select GREATER RALEIGH AREA CHRISTIAN EDUCATION, INC. to designate GRACE as your charitable organization.

Harris Teeter – Together in Education

  • Harris Teeter’s Together In Education program gives schools a chance to earn funds when you link your VIC card and shop Harris Teeter brands. There are NO LIMITS to how much a school can earn.
  • Link your VIC card to GRACE by selecting 2768 GRACE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL RALEIGH on the Harris Teeter Together in Education Webpage.
  • Note: You MUST re-link every year!

Kroger – Community Rewards Program

  • Year after year, local schools, churches and other nonprofit organizations will earn millions of dollars through Kroger Community Rewards. Kroger Community Rewards makes fund-raising easy..all you have to do is shop at Kroger and swipe your Plus Card!
  • Link your Kroger card to GRACE by selecting 82226 Grace Christian School on the Kroger Community Rewards Webpage.
  • Note: You MUST re-link every year!

Lowes Foods

  • With Cart to Class, Lowes Foods designated schools will be rewarded based on the amount of Lowes Foods Private Label items you purchase.
  • Select GRACE from the eligible school list on the Lowe’s Back 2 Schools website.

Publix Partners

  • Through Publix Partners, all purchases made at Publix will help earn money for our school. For every $37,500 spent cumulatively by GRACE families, Publix will award GRACE $250.
  • Pick up a Publix Partner bar code card at either campus reception desk and scan it at check out.

Box Tops for Education

  • Each box top is worth 10¢ for our school! Look for the pink Box Tops on hundreds of products, clip, and submit to either campus office.
  • No registration or linking is required, although you can earn bonus box tops by joining on the Box Tops website. Search for 27606 (swipe left to see the full list of schools) and select GRACE.

Corporate Gift Matching

Many corporations match donations made by employees to a wide range of nonprofits, to support employee charitable giving, and to extend corporate philanthropy.

Matching donations, or matching gifts, are free money that nonprofits often miss out on because of limited information on donors’ employers, complex corporate giving programs, and because the corporate matching process is usually unknown for employees.

In light of this, GRACE now subscribes to a service named Double the Donation to make it easier for GRACE families to find out if their companies provide corporate gift matching.  Go to https://doublethedonation.com/gracechristianschool to locate your company and links to instructions and forms to multiply the donation you already plan to make to GRACE. Below is a partial list of the top employers in the Raleigh-Durham area that have gift matching programs:

  • AT&T
  • Biogen
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC
  • Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T)
  • Cisco
  • Citrix Systems
  • Credit Suisse
  • Duke Energy
  • Eli Lilly & Company
  • Fidelity Investments
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • IBM
  • Lenovo
  • Merck & Company
  • MetLife
  • QuintilesIMS
  • Red Hat, Inc.
  • SAS Institute
  • Time Warner and Subsidiaries (Synapse, Time, Turner, Warner Bros)
  • United Airlines
  • Verizon
  • Wells Fargo & Company
  • Xerox Corporation

The Tech-Wise Family

In a recent Barna study, 78% of responded that they “strongly agreed” or “somewhat agreed” to the statement “Raising kids today is more complicated than it was when [we] were kids.” When asked why they felt that way, 65% of the respondents said that it was due to technology and social media. Technology permeates every aspect of our lives, and the lives of our children, in ways unprecedented in human history.  

With that in mind, GRACE is offering a parent book study of The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place by Andy Crouch, the executive editor of Christianity Today and author of several books. Click here to watch a book trailer. Crouch writes in the introduction, “This book is about much more than just social media, or even screens. It’s about how to live as full, flourishing human beings.”

Crouch discusses the implications of technology, and the importance for families to consider technology in relation to questions like, How do we want to be as a family? How does our use of technology help move us closer or further away from that goal? This book is insightful, and will provide for excellent discussion and consideration for how we manage technology in our daily lives and homes.

We plan to meet for book talks from 8:30 AM until 10:00 AM on the following dates:

  • Thursday, October 5
  • Monday, October 16
  • Monday, October 30

The three meetings will be led by Eric Bradley and Julia Taylor and will take place at Hope Community Church. We will establish a room for the sessions once we find out how many individuals register for the study. So that we can adequately plan space, please sign up to attend.

The book is available at every major online vendor, Barnes and Noble, or Christian bookstore.

 

Giving at GRACE, Part 2

In this second part of the series on Giving at GRACE, we will unpack where our Annual Fund dollars have come from in the past and how we would like to change the composition going forward.

Between 2010 and 2016, a variety of annual fund “events” have been held including several golf tournaments, a couple of black-tie dinners and, more recently, the Boosterthon fun and color runs. All of these events share a “give to get” structure that requires a significant portion of the funds raised to underwrite the event giveaways. As a result, participation in these events supported both GRACE and the organization that we partnered with in providing the event.

The pie chart below displays the sources of Annual Fund giving for 2016-2017. The three blue wedges represent contributions made by the GRACE community either as “direct donations” to the annual fund or through participation in one of the aforementioned fundraising events. Overall, 84% of giving has come from these mechanisms and only 16% from other sources.

As we begin the 2017-2018 school year, our goal is to increase contributions from other sources to 30% and reduce the portion of the Annual Fund that comes from direct donations made by GRACE families. We accomplish this by moving away from “give-to-get” events like Boosterthon and its predecessors so that we can maximize the dollars donated by the GRACE community. Additionally, we would like to increase our participation in Affinity Programs and Corporate Gift Matching programs. Next week, we will highlight these two programs and how you can increase your contributions to GRACE without doing anything differently than you have been doing in the past.

The above chart reveals that the Business Partner program has doubled in size from last year. We are so thankful for the support of these business owners and would like to use the space that remains to thank the businesses who have made a significant impact on the GRACE Annual Fund. We encourage the GRACE family to support these businesses when you have needs that they can meet and refer them to your network of friends when possible.

Golden Eagle Partners ($5,000 Annual Contribution)

Silver Eagle Partners ($3,000 Annual Contribution)

Bronze Eagle Partners ($1,000 Annual Contribution)

Thank you for taking the time to review this information. We hope that this is helpful as we begin the new school year. As always, thank you for selecting GRACE Christian School and partnering with us in the education of your child.