Appleby Quarterly — Summer 2009
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The Appleby College Foundation

The rallying cry that appeared in the pages of The Argus in 1961 was grand, unequivocal and expressed with some urgency. “We need your continuing support,” wrote Bill Cook ’32, then president of the Old Boys’ Association, “of the most worthwhile project we have ever undertaken – a project designed to improve the standard of scholarship at Appleby in particular, and indirectly that of Canada at large.”

That “most worthwhile project” was The Appleby College Foundation, 50 years old this year. Established in 1959 for the purpose of accepting donations to provide funds for improving all areas of school life, The Appleby College Foundation now manages a $9-million endowment. Beginning with a $1,500 inaugural disbursement, the Foundation’s current annual payout is around $390,000 and its combined grants over the past 50 years total in the many millions. Quietly, incrementally, the Foundation has made one of the greatest contributions to excellence at Appleby.

That contribution, of course, is from a combination of many individuals: trustees, benefactors and the beneficiaries themselves.

Their names, recorded in meeting minutes, on donor lists or – in the case of bursary recipients – kept anonymous, are not widely publicized. The Foundation itself has a similarly discreet presence, although its importance to the school and its future belies its relatively low profile.

That profile should and will be raised, according to Catherine Raaflaub, outgoing assistant head of school, advancement and community relations. “People need to know more about the Foundation and what it does for Appleby,” she says. “The Foundation’s primary concern has been building up our capital asset – our students. With the Foundation’s 50th anniversary, we have the perfect opportunity to reflect back on its important role and draw inspiration from the group of alumni who wanted to make a difference. The Foundation shows what we’re capable of doing as a community.” The history of the Foundation and its contribution to Appleby incorporates several stories: stories of volunteer commitment, stories of philanthropic leadership and stories of a program – and the people it has supported – that has strengthened and shaped the school in profound ways. Alumni-initiated and student-centred, the Foundation has had hundreds of members and has benefitted many more.

It was on April 8, 1954 at a meeting of the Old Boys’ Association (the precursor of the Alumni Association) that the idea of establishing a foundation and endowment to benefit Appleby College was formally raised. An endowment could provide a longterm base of continuing support for the enhancement of the school.

There were obvious needs to address. Appleby lacked an official bursary program; while there may have been students attending on reduced fees, financial aid was not publicized and was likely arranged between the Headmaster and parents, depending on what the school could manage in any given year. At that time, academic scholarships were considered another key ingredient for Appleby’s future success and were added to the agenda, along with providing support for the improvement of facilities.

The idea was pursued and, five years later, The Appleby College Foundation was incorporated as a registered charitable institution.

The Foundation’s bylaws set out such matters as the objectives – “to promote and encourage education at Appleby College” – and membership – “any persons from whom donations are accepted by the Foundation.” The affairs of the Foundation were to be managed by its Board of Trustees, elected from the Foundation’s members. It was decided that the trustees would meet twice a year and be responsible for selecting and reviewing appropriate investments for the endowment or “Fund.” As it turned out, those affairs would be managed by some of the best financial minds in Canada: company presidents, chief financial officers, investment advisors and entrepreneurs, as well as Pearce Bunting ’47, the longest-serving president of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Aubrey Baillie ’63 is among the Foundation’s longest-serving members, first elected as a trustee in 1968 and its chairman since 1997.

“Being a trustee is a significant responsibility, particularly during market downturns like the one we’re currently experiencing,” Baillie says. “But our purpose is to support Appleby’s mission, and on a deeper level, the main focus is to support students who might not otherwise have access to an Appleby education, which provides diversification within the student body and is very healthy for the school as a whole.” While Appleby’s endowed capital is growing, it is significantly smaller than that of its American counterparts, Baillie notes.

“A capital donation to Appleby supports the school in many different ways, including supporting bursary and loan programs, and enables people to support the school on an ongoing basis,” Baillie says. “For those who want to support Appleby, a donation to the Foundation is a gift that keeps on giving, year in and year out, by generating income to support Appleby forever.” The Foundation’s first fundraising campaign was overseen by Peter Cameron ’48, with future Foundation board president Pearce Bunting ’47 acting as campaign chairman. The trustees approached Appleby Old Boys, parents and friends by mail, and followed up in person with former classmates. Within its first year, the Foundation received $7,112.79 in donations from 166 donors, impressive participation in an era when the number of alumni barely topped 1,300.

The Foundation’s first distribution of scholarships and bursaries included two open scholarships, valued at $500 each, to be granted for five years to two boys in Grade 9 and one $500 bursary to be granted for five years to a boy in Grade 9. Each year, more scholarships and bursaries would be added, so that by 1964 trustees anticipated the Foundation would be sponsoring 15 boys at a cost of $7,500 per year. Fundraising continued steadily and each year some of the capital was invested in the endowment. Over time, through prudent investment, the endowment yielded grants many times the amount of the original donations.

In its 10th year, the Foundation’s endowment received a dramatic boost when Aubrey Baillie ’27 gave $200,000 to establish an endowed bursary fund. Established to provide vital financial assistance to worthy students at Appleby College, the A.W. Baillie ’27 Fund has been a key component of our bursary and loan program for close to four decades. In the next decade, more endowed funds were established: the G.L. Gundy Education Trust Fund and the Raymond Massey Fund, and later the E. Leslie Bott Memorial Bursary, The Honorable Ray Lawson Scholarship, The Charles Lake Gundy Scholarship and The Olga Appleby Memorial Scholarship.

By the Foundation’s 25th anniversary there were 15 endowed funds; five years later that number had increased to 25.

Michael DesRoches ’62 and his wife Midge (Dewar) established the D.M. Dewar Memorial Bursary Fund in 2005, named for Midge’s father, David Marshall “Skin” Dewar, a long-time Appleby faculty member, and in memory of both Midge and Michael’s deceased parents. The fund is intended to provide an annual bursary for children of faculty and administration.

DesRoches, who served as the Foundation’s secretary-treasurer from 1977 to 2001 and has been an elected trustee and secretary Since 2006, knows the importance of financial aid, having put his children, Will ’96 and Christie ’01, through Appleby with bursary assistance. Although there were no formal bursary programs when Michael attended the school himself, he is certain that his parents came to some sort of understanding regarding fees with then-Headmaster John Bell.

“Appleby has never thought of itself as a school for the rich,” DesRoches says. “I think it is great that we encourage diversity, not only with race, colour and creed, but socioeconomic diversity as well.” The number of funds within the Foundation continues to grow: Class Funds, introduced by the Foundation’s past president Robert Kidd in 1990, are established annually and gain broad support from dozens of parents of graduating students. This year, for the first time, many current students made donations to their own Class Funds during Founders’ Week. As part of a transformative pledge to the Promise The Future campaign, the AWB Charitable Foundation offered $2 million to the Foundation in matching funds, spurring many families to make leadership gifts of their own. It must also be noted that some of the most significant gifts to the Foundation over the years have come through bequests from alumni: final, ultimate and enduring summations of lifelong commitments to the school.

In recent years, annual grants from the Foundation have totalled several hundred thousand dollars. The figures, impressive as they are, are only one measure of the Foundation’s impact. Gifts to the endowment are not made to support an investment fund managed by the Foundation. These gifts are an investment in programs that are fundamentally about people.

Through their endowed funds, the Foundation’s benefactors continue to support and recognize excellence in many areas.

Scholarships, one of the original priorities that gave rise to the Foundation, are still offered in the original amount of $500.

Annual awards recognize outstanding student participants in the McLaughlin Northern Campus leadership programs and funds, such as the Tewes Faculty Development Fund, established in 1988 by Margot and Doug Tewes ’61, provide grants to support professional development opportunities for Appleby faculty.

The Foundation’s greatest contribution has been the bursary support it has provided to hundreds of students over the past five decades. “Bursaries give us choices,” says Raaflaub. “For our admissions employees, they allow us to push financial means aside and to choose Appleby students for who they are and what they bring to the school.” The investment in students has enriched the Appleby experience not only for bursary recipients, but for all students. By increasing need-based financial assistance, the Foundation has helped Appleby broaden its reach. Close to 50 years ago, the first $500 bursary from the Foundation was given to a student to attend Appleby.

This year, about 14 per cent of the eligible student population at Appleby College received around $1.4 million in financial assistance.

Of that, $390,000 came from the Foundation. In addition, the Foundation also provided 37 students with $145,000 in loans, which are interest-free until the students graduate. These dollars make it possible for students who would not otherwise have the means to acquire an Appleby education to obtain this invaluable experience, with all its opportunities and far-reaching benefits.

Through the Foundation, supporters have found an eloquent way to express a belief in Appleby and its future. They have used their gifts to give others access to opportunities they or their children had, enhance a program area to benefit all or invest in the development of students or their teachers. By channelling their gifts to the endowment, Foundation members have ensured that their support – and its effects – will be lasting.

With the contributions of trustees and supporters, the Foundation has proven to be a “most worthwhile project.” The project, however, is not complete. According to Raaflaub, Bill Cook’s rallying cry has become more relevant today than ever. “Each year, the Foundation makes it possible for dozens of students to attend Appleby, something that will continue for as long as there is an Appleby College,” she says. “We need to turn our attention to what is really enduring. This is it.” *