Frequently Asked Questions

Why does W&L need a Parents Fund?

Most private schools have three main sources of funding: tuition, income from the endowment, and annual gifts. Tuition simply does not cover the cost of running a private university. Philanthropy, which includes funds derived from endowment income and annual giving, is currently the largest single source of revenue in W&L's operating budget. Without the generous support of current and past parents — along with alumni and friends — tuition would have to be much higher than it currently is to maintain the W&L experience.

Annual gifts to The Parents Fund are not invested — they are used right now to sustain current year operations and activities. Annual gifts are the lifeblood of the institution. The Parents Fund contributes almost 18 percent of the Annual Fund.

How much are parents and families asked to give?

The decision as to the size of your gift is a personal one — the important part is that parents participate in the Parents Fund, no matter the amount. Parents give from $10 to $100,000, and participation at every level is needed and appreciated! When you make a gift to the Parents Fund, it will be joined with the gifts of other parents, and those gifts add up to a remarkable total! In 2017-18, current and past W&L parents donated $1.81 million to the Parents Fund. This is a significant endorsement that W&L parents believe in the mission and direction of the University and support it with their own giving above tuition.

What are the Leadership Giving Levels?

W&L recognizes parent giving at several important leadership levels:

  • Steering Committee. Members of the Steering Committee are parents who make an annual gift of $10,000 or more to the Parents Fund (or the Annual Fund for alumni parents). Steering Committee members are recognized as Class Co-Chairs and serve as philanthropic ambassadors for the Parents Fund. Steering Committee members advise the office of Parent Giving, take an active role at Parents Leadership Council events, and host or attend regional events for new students and families.
  • The Parents Leadership Council. The Parents Leadership Council (PLC) includes parents who make an annual gift of $5,000 or more to the Parents Fund. PLC members are invited to attend a special reception with university leaders over the fall Parents Weekend, as well as a special spring weekend - exclusively for members of the Parents Leadership Council -  with fun and meaningful informational sessions and social events.
  • The President's Society. Parents (non-alumni and alumni) who give $2,500 or more are recognized as members of The President's Society (TPS). These donors are invited to attend a special breakfast program with senior members of the administration over fall Parents Weekend. Members also enjoy invitation-only activities at off-campus regional events during the year.