Dear Virginia Episcopal School Family,
It is a pleasure to serve VES because I have a lot of gratitude—particularly during exciting times when so many Bishops are investing in our school—and I have never been more appreciative of our alumni, parent, grandparent, faculty, staff, and student donors, past and present, than I am now.
On the heels of a nearly $20 million fundraising year with another $10 million to raise in 2021-22 for imminent, strategic capital projects, VES has so much to celebrate and for which to be thankful:
- In 2021 VES received the largest gift in school history—$10 million—from distinguished alumnus, former board chair, and chair of the “Toward Full Stature” campaign John G.B. Ellison, Jr. ’65, to endow The Ellison Scholars, “a scholarship for scholars,” inspired by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Carolina Covenant and Morehead-Cain Scholarship. The Ellison Scholars will have an immeasurable impact on the quality of students VES attracts and for whom it is able to offer opportunity and access.
- On June 30, 2021, VES finished the best fundraising cycle in its history because 3,259 of you gave our school more than $19.12 million, nearly three times more than you gave in any previous year. Your gifts supported the annual fund ($1.78 million), capital projects ($4.8 million), and the endowment ($12.54 million). Additionally, our investment managers posted once-in-ageneration returns of 43%, bringing The VES Endowment & Trust to $42.7 million (up from $22.1 million a year prior).
- 39% of VES alumni, 95% of VES parents, and 100% of VES faculty and staff participated in some philanthropic capacity; these are nationally competitive percentages, which demonstrate to all givers that the VES community is in this together.
- In 2021, three dedicated and talented alumni joined the Development team—Katherine McWane ’12 (Director of Major Gifts); Louis Williams ’15 and Sidney Thomson ’16 (Assistant Directors of Development). Mercifully, Ron Hood ’74 (Associate Director of Development) kicked retirement down the road one more year to continue to serve the school to which he has dedicated so much of his life.
Excitement awaits 2022:
- Homecoming 2022—September 30 to October 2— will mark VES’ 107th session with a blowout black tie celebration and the long-awaited installation of Garth Ainslie as our 13th Head of School.
- VES will dedicate Pannill-Smith Hall, our new $15 million humanities building, honoring Will Pannill ’73 and memorializing Chris Smith ’82. Our community loved this building before construction ever began because of the importance Pannill-Smith Hall signifies as the heart of our humanities program and as an enduring tribute to the leadership, generosity, and legacy of beloved alumni Will and Chris.
- 2022 will also serve as a year to memorialize Nick Costas ’79 with the dedication of the $500,000 Costas Wellness Center and to honor Mary Feagans with the $700,000 Mary Williamson Feagans Garden, outdoor classroom, and fireplace on the Mingea Cottage archaeological site.
- VES will construct a new $1.5 million Craighill Tennis Center and will celebrate major cosmetic renovations to the Robert Carter Jett Memorial Head of School House; Wyatt, Ainslie, and Perkins Dorms; several faculty residences; and 1st and 3rd Jett.
- To maintain these expensive capital projects for posterity, VES strives to add an additional 20% of their total construction costs to the endowment. To date the VES community has given the school $17 million of the $24 million (70%) needed to meet these near-term capital objectives.
Finally, with a mixture of sadness and deep gratitude, we acknowledge the many contributions of two special members of our community we have lost this year. Mary Morris Gamble Booth, VES’ first female trustee and enthusiastic booster and philanthropist, served four terms on our board before and during the early years of coeducation. Janet Grattan, VES’ Licensed Professional Counselor—a role distinguished by her warmth and kindness, sympathetic ear, wry humor, and selfless devotion—served VES for nearly three decades. We will always remember them and their friendship and kindness.
With much gratitude,
Henry Clarke ’03
Head of Advancement