Message from our
Director of Development
I feel extremely blessed to be able to work for the same schools I grew up in. I am thankful that my parents gave me and my four siblings the gift of Catholic education – a gift that my wife and I are now able to pass on to our own children.
Amazing people are the heart of Aquinas Catholic Schools (ACS) and I am extremely fortunate to work with a team of passionate administrators, faculty, staff, board members and benefactors who commit themselves daily to creating a rich educational experience for our students and school community. At ACS we are proud of our recognized and celebrated tradition of academic excellence, service-learning and faith formation. In addition, our schools offer outstanding activities that help to round and shape each student for a life of learning and faithful service.
Our ACS Development Department embraces the call to raise both awareness and support of our Catholic school system within the greater La Crosse community and beyond. By investing in key strategic areas such as marketing, public relations, special events, communications, stewardship, donor cultivation and relationship development, our team seeks to heighten the profile of Aquinas Catholic Schools in an effort to ensure our ability to continue our mission to be a Christ-centered learning community carrying out a fundamental mission of the Church to educate, challenge, and inspire students in the Catholic tradition of faith, service, and academic excellence.
The ACS community is blessed by the prayers, service, and philanthropy of our supporters whose contributions are vital to the success of our students and our schools. At ACS we believe that each of us, as members of the Catholic community, is called to pass along the gift of a Catholic education, not out of duty, but out of love for the next generation.
To learn more about how you can help provide for the gift of Catholic education, please click here. Thank you for your volunteer time, financial support, and especially, your prayers. Together we can be 'The Power that Transforms Lives'.
Brad Reinhart '00
The Aquinas Foundation currently manages the following three funds.
Aquinas Schools Foundation Fund
Founded in 1975, this fund has grown to more than $3 million. Contributions are made annually to the fund through generous contributions by alumni and friends of Aquinas via memorials, annual appeals, planned giving, matching corporate gifts and fundraising events. Contributions and earnings on this fund are used to help offset the annual operating expenses of Aquinas Schools.
Aquinas Schools Endowment Trust
Established in 1991 by the Aquinas Foundation to help reduce parish subsidies, the Aquinas Schools Endowment Trust Fund has grown to more than $1.8 million. The principal remains untouched, with the earnings used to benefit the Aquinas Schools.
Aquinas Schools Scholarship Fund
The Aquinas Schools Foundation manages two different scholarship funds. The first is an Annual Scholarship Fund. The money received each year is used for financial assistance to needy families. The second is the Endowed Scholarship Fund. The principal on this fund remains untouched, with the earnings used for financial aid. The Endowed Scholarship Fund has surpassed $1 million.
Ways to Give
There are numerous ways to give to Aquinas Catholic Schools and the Aquinas Catholic Schools Foundation. Whether you wish to make an annual gift or a special one-time gift, we have a tailored giving program to meet your needs. Your generous support makes Catholic education a reality for children in our community.
The most common gift is cash. Cash gifts are tax deductible to the amount limited by law. Some employers match part or all of these gifts.
Matching gifts are a way for benefactors to double, triple, or even quadruple the impact of their charitable donation. More than 2,500 companies nationwide match charitable gifts to educational institutions from their employees and their spouses. To find out more about this opportunity to benefit Aquinas Catholic Schools, contact your company's benefits department for information on their program.
Gifts of Securities
A gift of appreciated securities lets you make a significant contribution at a reduced cost to you. Federal tax laws allow a charitable deduction for the full market value of the securities on the date of your gift.
Gifts of Real Estate
A residence, farm, acreage or vacant lot may have so appreciated in value that its sale would mean a sizable capital gains tax. Gifting the property eliminates this tax and allows the donor to receive a charitable deduction for the full fair market value of the property. It is also possible to gift your home and continue to use it for your lifetime while receiving a current income tax deduction. Prospective real estate gifts must be evaluated before they are accepted by the school system.
Memorial or Honorary Gifts
Commemorative gifts may be made to recognize a loved one or in honor of a relative, classmate, or faculty member.
The most common way of making an appreciated gift in your estate plans is to include the Aquinas Foundation as a beneficiary in your will. A bequest can also be made by a codicil - an amendment to or modification of your existing will.
Lifetime Income Trusts
If you wish to make a gift but do not wish to give up the income on the capital involved, you may consider a Life Income Trust. There are several types of charitable trusts available.
A gift of life insurance can provide a significant charitable deduction. You can purchase a new policy or donate one which you already own. You can receive a tax deduction equal to the premium if you designate the school as both owner and beneficiary of the policy. A charitable deduction for the total cash value plus future premiums you pay is allowed for "in-force" policies.
Please consult your tax advisor regarding the tax treatment of your gift.
Importance of Giving
While our school system is extraordinarily rich in things money cannot buy, Aquinas Catholic Schools counts on funding sources beyond tuition to support excellent schools and programs. Gifts help fill the gap between tuition and what it actually costs to educate a student at Aquinas Catholic Schools.
Our nationally recognized schools provide a great return on your investment by educating, challenging and inspiring our students to be life-long learners and instilling in them a sense of service to their community. One in four of our families receive financial aid. The quotes below are from parents whose children benefit from donor gifts.
"Without your support, my son would not be able to attend Aquinas this year. Your generosity is greatly appreciated."
– Middle School Parent
"I cannot thank you enough. A change in circumstances brought a lot of worry and stress into my home. I had two goals at that time: to keep my house and to keep my daughters in their Catholic school."
– Elementary School Parent
"Because of your gifts my daughter is enjoying such a rich faith experience as she gets closer to her First Communion."
– Parent of a Second Grader
"Knowing my children are getting a faith-based education means a lot to my husband and me. We are grateful for the help and will keep you in our prayers."
– Elementary School Parent
Frequently Asked Questions
Why should I give to Aquinas Catholic Schools?
Your donations help the future of our communities, the children of Aquinas Catholic Schools. Donations are a vital part of sustainability and expansion in our schools. Your gifts are more important now than ever before.
All gifts made to Aquinas Catholic Schools, or the Aquinas Catholic Schools Foundation are 100% tax-deductible. All donations made to ACS are mailed a Thank You receipt for tax recording purposes.
Where does my money go?
A gift to the Annual Fund goes to work immediately. These gifts go towards improving the educational experience at Aquinas Catholic Schools. From improving textbooks and technology, to helping with scholarships for those families that need some financial assistance, this annual drive is vital for the current year as well as the future.
Money given to specific programs (Restricted Donation) is used for the given program as specified by the donor.
What are the different types of gifts?
A Restricted Gift is a gift given to Aquinas Catholic Schools for a specific purpose. The donor has a specific intent for their gift and ACS must use the donation for the requested purpose.
An Unrestricted Gift is a gift that is used for the general needs of the school system. These needs can be facility maintenance, scholarships or faculty development, along with many other needs.
Donor Recognition Levels
The Bishop McGavick Founder's Association
Is a level of donor investments of $10,000 or more which is reflective of the true spirit of generosity embodied by the founder of Aquinas High School. It is the highest annual giving level.
The Principals' Circle
Honors all past principals and is composed of alumni, alumni parents and friends who contribute an annual gift of $5,000 -$9,999. Like our honored former principals, these donors remain solidly dedicated to our annual growth.
The Franciscan Society
Honors the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration and their collective 1600 plus years of teaching service to Aquinas High School. Because of their obvious commitment to Aquinas, these donors of $1,000-$4,999 are included in the club which bears the Franciscan name.
The Saint Thomas Aquinas Patron's Guild
Honors donors of $500-$999 who carry on the spirit of the patron saint of the school through their generous annual giving.
The Blugold Century Club
Honors donors of $100-$499 who demonstrate an obvious commitment to Aquinas' continued excellence.
Donor Bill of Rights
The Donor Bill of Rights was created by the American Association of Fund Raising Counsel (AAFRC), Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). It has been endorsed by numerous organizations.
The Donor Bill of Rights
Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. To ensure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the nonprofit organizations and causes they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights:
To be informed of the organization's mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes.
To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization's governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgment in its stewardship responsibilities.
To have access to the organization's most recent financial statements.
To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
To receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition.
To be assured that information about their donation is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law.
To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature.
To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors.
To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share.
To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers.