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Thank You for the Many Ways You Give

As Bialik’s Director of Development, I am going to start off by telling you right out of the gate that I am NOT asking you for any money, so you can breathe a sigh of relief and read on…

Every day at Bialik, the children are celebrated. Today, I would like to celebrate you and thank you — those who believe in Bialik and those who understand that your philanthropy sets you apart.

Millions of people from around the globe make their philanthropic contributions to healthcare and social service agencies, to organizations who fight for human and animal rights and to disaster relief within the not-for-profit sector — they give to the places who make a difference in saving lives every day.

Then, there are those who choose to support the arts, their local community centres, religious institutions and, of course, education — they are supporting the agencies who are making those lives worth saving.

It is a very powerful notion.

Two weeks ago, Bialik, along with 14 other Toronto day schools, participated in a 26-hour marathon to raise money for Jewish education. Collectively, we raised over $5.5 million. The grace of your giving was absolutely awe-inspiring and I found it humbling to have been part of this monumental day for our community in our city.

Bialik rose to the top, with a staggering 414 donors rallying behind us. As I spoke to people on the day, and in the days after, I paused to consider how Bialik becomes and stays the destination for someone’s philanthropy. Some Day of Giving donors haven’t had children in the school for decades, and yet they shared their wallets as generously as they did while they were current parents. Our alumni continue to move the needle even if they haven’t stepped through the front door in years. Our parents and grandparents, who already pay tuition, also understand the value of tzedaka and made up a large piece of the “donation pie.”

What gives Bialik its staying power when there are so many worthy causes to contribute to? Why do we have such loyal stakeholders when we are in a time when there seems to be an otherwise disturbing complacency across the fundraising landscape?

Who is the Bialik donor?

The Communitarian, the Devout, or the Altruist.

Who is the Communitarian?

This is the group of you who give to Bialik because you feel a sense of communal responsibility. You are vested in the ongoing success of our students and you continue to contribute to the school long after you, your children, or grandchildren graduate. You share our values, understand our culture of philanthropy, and you are a selfless member of the Bialik community.

Who is the Devout?

You are the ones who give not just your treasure, but you share your time and your talent as well. You are our ambassadors and most successful advocates. You are the founding families,  the tireless lay leaders, board members and volunteers – many lifelong – who lean-in to Bialik, and whose devotion is felt by students, staff and administration, in some way, every day.

Lastly, who is the Altruist?

You are the donors who give selflessly to benefit others. You characterise your compassion for Bialik and blend it with a sense of responsibility. You give to the school because it is the right thing to do. You don’t require any fancy recognition or fanfare — you often prefer to be listed anonymously and always give with warm hands and hearts.

Irrespective of how you identify yourself as a donor, Bialik recognizes and genuinely values your philanthropic spirit. Thank you for your generosity.

Our school and our reputation have been built on, and continue to thrive on, those who trust us and who advance our mission in so many different ways. Vincent Van Gogh said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together” and this is true for Bialik, from all of you who support us. Together, in one way or another, you have helped us get here today and you will see us through tomorrow.

Bialik is in the business of raising mensches, connected and community-minded students who, we know, have a lifelong love of learning and will keep Bialik close to their hearts long after they graduate. By combining what they learn in school with what they see you role modelling in your homes, they will grow to become the future generations of inspired leaders and benefactors who will keep this community flourishing for years to come.

Heather Gutmann
Director of Development


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