Upcoming Capital Campaign to be Andover’s Biggest

Phillips Academy’s next capital campaign will take school officials across the country and around the globe, likely creating a new prep school record in fundraising. The capital campaign, led by Campaign Director Christine Atwood and Secretary of the Academy Peter Ramsey, will fund planned renovations and expansions of Commons, the Addison Gallery of American Art and Bulfinch Hall. The campaign, with a proposed title of “Youth from Every Quarter,” will also significantly boost the size of Phillips Academy’s endowment. The campaign has been quietly seeking principal gifts for two years now, Atwood said, but major public components of the campaign only began earlier this year. The fundraising effort for the Addison was unveiled to the public earlier this month. Approximately one-third of the trustees have come forward with major leadership gifts, and another donor has put forth funding for the Commons renovations, according to Ramsey. Phillips Academy representatives, including Head of School Barbara Chase, have been traveling across the country and around the world to meet with select alumni and parents in order to make the campaign known to those with ties to the school, Atwood said. Chase will attend approximately 25 “dialogue dinners” in the next year to spur interest in and raise money for the campaign, according to Ramsey. No decision has officially been made about the campaign’s length or financial goals, though Ramsey said that he imagined that the campaign would ultimately reach for a $250 to $300 million goal over six years. The school is considering building additions on current dormitories that would house 10 or 12 students, according to Ramsey. Candidates for additions include Elbridge Stuart House, Alumni House, Blanchard House and Allen House, a building located just south of the Cage. The capital campaign is planned primarily to address goals outlined in Phillips Academy’s 2004 Strategic Plan. According to Ramsey, the campaign’s plans specifically target four areas: the financial aid budget for students, increasing financial support for faculty members, increasing funding for outreach efforts and global partnerships and restoring and refurbishing facilities on campus. Chase recently took a 12-day trip that brought her to London and New York to discuss the campaign in these group meetings, according to Special Assistant to the Head of School Nancy Jeton. Chase also met with educators and Ambassador Thomas Foley ’71 in Ireland. “We’ve just inaugurated small conversations with alumni and parents to share our priorities from the strategic plan,” Atwood said. These meetings are slated to continue throughout the year, and Chase plans to visit Boston and New York multiple times as well as Washington, D.C., Denver, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Ore., Chicago, Houston and various cities in Florida. In another trip, unrelated to the capital campaign, Chase will attend an education conference in March at King’s Academy in Jordan, where John Gwin ’07 and Matt Schubert ’07 are taking part in a Gap Year program. This is the inaugural year of the school, which was founded by King Abdullah, a graduate of Deerfield Academy. Atwood said that these “dialogue dinners” have been extremely helpful for gathering information about the direction of the campaign from potential donors. After this school year, the Office of Academy Resources will internally review the input gathered and plans to have, at that time, more specific ideas of the campaign’s focus, title and monetary goals. Campaign Andover, the previous capital campaign, was a six-year effort that concluded in 2002 and raised $208.9 million, which was then a prep school record. Since Campaign Andover ended, Choate Rosemary Hall launched “An Opportunity to Lead,” a $200 million capital campaign in 2006, and Lawrenceville announced “The Bicentennial Campaign,” its own campaign for $200 million, earlier this month. But even the largest high school capital campaigns can’t compare with those from top universities. Stanford announced a $4.3 billion effort last year, and Yale is more than halfway finished with a $3 billion campaign. Phillips Academy’s development professionals have experience fundraising at the college level and beyond. Atwood and Ramsey left Andover shortly after the 2002 conclusion of the six-year Campaign Andover, though they have since returned. Ramsey left Phillips Academy in 2004 to become vice president for development and alumni relations at Babson College, and Atwood left in 2005 to accept the position of Senior Associate Dean for External Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Ramsey returned in 2006 as Secretary of the Academy, a position he had held from 1995 to 2004. Atwood, who was previously Director of Development, returned three weeks ago to lead the upcoming campaign. Atwood said, “We love the school,” adding that those in the development field often cycle between different entities as campaigns begin and end. Atwood and Ramsey have been well compensated for their development roles during previous stints at Phillips Academy, according to public tax filings. In the 2003-2004 year, Ramsey was second only to the Head of School in salary and benefits, earning $243,182. Atwood earned $178,415 in salary and benefits, the fourth-most at Phillips Academy in the 2004-05 year, which was her final year before returning in 2007. “We were quite well-compensated because we’re in a wealth-producing business,” said Ramsey. However, he added that he and Atwood both returned for different reasons, and that no agreement to return before the start of a new campaign existed. “Babson College wanted me to run a campaign, but it wasn’t a good fit. Mrs. Chase called me and offered me my old job back, and I happily accepted,” Ramsey said.