Capital Campaign

Our Common Bond
Like other top independent schools, University School of Milwaukee relies on multi-year comprehensive fundraising campaigns for accelerated and large-scale improvements to School facilities and programs. Campaigns make it possible to build and renovate facilities, significantly increase student financial assistance, develop new faculty programs, and provide other meaningful investments that align with our School's vision, strategic plan, and mission. Revenue that supports our School’s annual operating budget, like tuition and the USM Fund, are already designated and thus not available for these large-scale improvements. Currently underway within a small group of donors, USM’s comprehensive campaign Our Common Bond: The Campaign for USM, is scheduled to launch publicly within the School community in 2017.

Campaign FAQs

List of 6 frequently asked questions.

  • Is the USM Fund included in this comprehensive campaign?

    A. Yes. Our Common Bond: The Campaign for USM is a comprehensive campaign, which means it includes all gifts made to the USM Fund, the endowment, and our priority capital projects from July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2020. Therefore, any annual gift through the USM Fund will be included in each family's total campaign contribution, and will help USM maintain its current level of excellence.

    It is important to remember, however, that although comprehensive in nature, the campaign and the USM Fund support separate and distinct areas of the School. The campaign is an intensive, multi-year fundraising effort to secure pledges and outright gifts to provide for physical improvements and enhancements, as well as endowment for faculty, students, and programs. The USM Fund is our most dependable, flexible, and impactful source of annual support. Upon receipt, USM Fund contributions are immediately put towards our annual operational costs and most pressing needs. It is critical to the success of the campaign and to the daily workings of the school that every family supports USM through the USM Fund.
  • Why is USM holding a campaign at this time?

    A. Like all independent schools, USM relies on voluntary gifts to meet the needs of the School on an annual basis. Tuition covers 75% of our annual operating budget needs. The USM Fund and income from the existing endowment, as well as proceeds from the Parents’ Association and other auxiliary revenue, close the operating budget gap. If an independent school wants to make significant gains like endowment growth or campus improvements, the Board of Trustees will assess the needs, develop a timeline, and then determine when it is time to implement a campaign. Our Board of Trustees recently conducted a Strategic Planning Process and completed both a Feasibility Study and a Facility Audit before embarking on Our Common Bond.

    Independent schools will typically hold campaigns every 5-7 years. USM’s most recent campaign concluded in June 2010.
  • What are the priorities of the campaign?

    A. The priorities of Our Common Bond: The Campaign for USM were developed through a Strategic Planning Process and Feasibility Study involving the Board of Trustees, key stakeholders, and numerous members of our School community. Our goal is to raise $27,000,000 to support and advance our School. These funds will be invested in three priority areas: facilities, faculty and programs, and our students.
    • Our Campus: The USM campus is a part of every student's experience. We're focusing on smart capital projects with the greatest potential to benefit every student every day, and that provide space to enhance the strength of our School community. Priorities include the Lee Community Room to welcome visitors and hold meetings and events, an Innovation Center to serve as a central hub of experiential technology-based learning, the Jack Olson ‘67 Commons to promote our core belief in the power of community and lasting relationships, and a Theatre addition and renovations that will match the superb quality of our fine arts programs.
    • Our Faculty and Programs: The strength of our faculty drives USM’s legacy and reputation, and most importantly, the educational experience for our students. We will raise new funds to attract, retain, support, and train our incredible faculty who mentor and inspire our students. Additionally, we will increase our endowment to equip our teachers to develop powerful and innovative ideas and to bring those ideas to our students more effectively.
    • Our Students and Programs: To build the greatest future for USM, we want the widest range of voices in the conversations that matter most. Building our endowment allows us to significantly increase our investment in financial assistance for our students and to provide all students with innovative programs of continued excellence.
    The full story of Our Common Bond: The Campaign for USM will be officially unveiled in the spring of 2017. If you want to learn more now, please contact Chief Advancement Officer Patrick Tevlin.
  • When and how can we learn more about the campaign?

    A. Campaigns follow four distinct stages: an early planning and feasibility stage, an advanced gifts stage that focuses on the commitments from our Board of Trustees and their families, a leadership gifts stage for major and impactful gifts, and a final community stage that occurs once our campaign reaches beyond 50% of the total goal. We are currently in the leadership gifts stage of our campaign with plans to go "public" in the spring of 2017. Additional communication about the campaign will be coming this spring and will be added to the website as it becomes available. If you have specific questions, please contact Chief Advancement Officer Patrick Tevlin.
  • What is the leadership structure of the Campaign?

    A. The campaign is being led by our two Co-Chairs, trustees Rick Stratton ’92 and Karin Werner. Our campaign cabinet also includes six additional members of the community including parents, alumni, and parents of alumni, as follows: Andrew Petzold, President of the Board of Trustees; Sarah Zimmerman '92, Trustee and Advance Gifts Division Chair; Fred Geilfuss '71, Endowment Board member and former President of the Board of Trustees; Michael Grebe '85, Member of the Board of Trustees; Mike Darrow '86, Trustee and Chair of Leadership Gift Division; Linda Mutschler, Trustee and Chair of Leadership Gift Division; Dick Seesel, Immediate Past President of the Board of Trustees; Greg Smith, Member of the Board of Trustees; and Laura Fuller, Head of School.

    The community stage of the campaign will provide additional volunteer opportunities.
  • Can I contribute to the Campaign?

    A. Yes! One of the best ways to support the campaign during the early stages is to make a continued commitment to the USM Fund which helps to underwrite each year 4% of the school's annual programs, and could quite possibly represent the largest collective gift ($6M over five years) to the Our Common Bond campaign. If you are interested in learning how to make a multi-year pledge to a specific area of the campaign, please contact Patrick Tevlin, Chief Advancement Officer, directly.
Please click here to view a list of current Campaign investors.
Click here to read the 2/23/17 message from Head of School, Laura Fuller, and Board of Trustees President, Andrew Petzold, about the Capital Campaign.
Thank you for your generous and loyal support of USM!
Coming Soon, a comprehensive Our Common Bond website at this same address.

Lee Community Room & Darrow Family Welcome Center

Jack Olson '67 Commons and complementary spaces

Innovation Center

Theatre Addition and Renovations

Prekindergarten (age 3) - Grade 12 • Independent • Coeducational
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