Seniors weigh in on donating to Class Financial Aid Fund


Ariella Frommer, Staff Writer

As the Class of 2023 prepares to graduate in June, one of their roles as soon-to-be alumni was revealed at a grade meeting last Tuesday: donors to their Class Financial Aid Fund. 

Each graduating class has a fund organized by the Alumni & Development Office. Members of the class can donate to support financial assistance for future students, starting their last year at the school with the Senior Class Gift. After the Alumni Office gives seniors the opportunity to donate, they ask their parents to contribute towards the Fund, hoping to raise a total of $100,000. The Office also recruits volunteer Class Agents from the grade to help fundraise; ten seniors were chosen this year.

At the grade meeting, the Alumni & Development Office introduced the Class Agents and announced the Senior Class Gift campaign. They set a goal for 50% class participation to surpass the highest rate from recent years — 30% in 2019. Every donor gets a maroon Horace Mann pennant, and if 91 of the 182 students donate by May 31, the class will win an ice cream party on the last day of school. So far, 14 students have donated (7% of the class) a total of $113. Here is what students thought about the announcement and the Class Gift, based on an anonymous Record poll with responses from 57 seniors. 

The amount seniors give is not important. It’s the act of wanting to participate together as a class and support their alma mater for the benefit of students who follow that is important. Seniors could consider giving as little as $1 if they wanted to, or forego that specialty coffee and make that amount their gift. We brainstormed with the class’s new Alumni Class Agents about creative ways to encourage class participation and thank the class, and so we presented the idea of an ice cream party. Their donations will go towards their school scholarship fund. The ice cream party is something that the Alumni office would do for them as a gesture of appreciation and celebration. If the class would rather not have an ice cream bar and the Class Agents decide to pivot, that is completely fine. It’s not set in stone.

  • Kristen Pietraszek, Director of Annual Giving


I believe that there is no reason to be obnoxiously self-righteous about not donating. It is not a bad thing to develop a habit of giving, which can serve as a first introduction to philanthropy.

  • Anonymous

I just don’t have an income right now, so I plan to give a little now and then more in the future with my own money. I want to donate because I was compelled by the financial aid speech they gave and at some point in my life, I would like to give back to the place that has provided me with so much. 

  • Hannah Moss, Class Agent

I understand that it may seem inconsequential right now to donate to the school, but I do think it’s important to recognize that the goal of starting now is to get students engaged and not necessarily to raise a lot of money. We don’t expect incentives to be the main driver of donations. We really hope people are planning to give out of a genuine interest in giving back to the school.

  • Jake Ziman, Class Agent

Horace Mann has truly been a life changing experience, and one that I owe a lot to, so I want to help support the future generations and their education, just as other people have supported ours.

  • Louise Kim, Class Agent


Understanding our roles as soon-to-be alums should be about giving back in more tangible ways — like coming back to speak at assemblies or mentoring younger students — instead of immediately framing our identity as alums based on our decision to donate. I don’t think they should ask us for it before we’ve even graduated; it explicitly treats our continued connection to this school as something monetary-based rather than having us exhibit true appreciation for our experiences here.

  • Jiyon Chatterjee

I may donate one day when I am financially stable enough to do so, but I do not have the extra money right now. I don’t think it’s at all realistic to expect significant donations from kids before they even graduate high school.

  • Anonymous

My parents contribute an amount they feel appropriate for us to give as a family (which obviously includes me) and I have never worked a paying job.

  • Anonymous