515 Cougar Ridge Drive S.W.     
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T3H 5G9     
Phone: 403-287-1868  |  Fax: 403-287-3414     
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It's been a few weeks since the incredible farewell party the School threw for me in early May, and I still feel I am digesting all the attention and honouring which I felt that evening. I know I have never quite experienced that kind of attention in my life and may not ever again. I am deeply grateful to the group of our admin staff and teachers who planned and orchestrated the party with all the details, including the two fantastic live bands, the fun speeches, and the brilliant medley of songs performed hilariously by faculty and staff. I was delighted to be a good excuse for a party, and I loved seeing everyone from past and present come out and enjoy each other, and dance – some of us until 2 am! It was truly an astounding evening for me and it's difficult to convey my appreciation for all the work of many hands and hearts. I especially want to acknowledge my admin team: Cathie Foote, Sandra Langlois, and Shannon Parry, who made the evening possible, and who have always been by my side, working so cohesively together as a team. It will be very hard to leave them.

It's astonishing to believe that my involvement with a small group of parents in 1985 who were trying to start a Waldorf School in Calgary could lead to the School we have now in Cougar Ridge 30 years later. For me, it's been an incredible blessing and privilege to work here and allow me to fuse my work-life with my own personal path of growth for the past three decades. Who could ask for more?

I started out as a young hippie girl with a passion for the School, a talent for organization, but no real "training" or "experience." This School has been my "schooling", my "education". I am so grateful for the colleagues with whom I have worked all these years, especially our admin team and the Faculty Council. I am indebted to the parent Board members and lead parent volunteers who have worked through a lot of challenges as our School grew over the past 30 years, and who continue to do so today. All of these groups have brought their dedication, their wisdom, their expertise to the School. They have showed incredible servant leadership and they have trained me, and made me raise my game, made me dig deep personally and spiritually – and many of them have become very dear, close friends.

Of course you cannot really work in a Waldorf school without a very tough and dedicated support system at home: my two boys who I love, and my incredible husband, Paul. He showed his intentions early on when he secured his first date with me by making a donation to the School! Paul has been my constant "ear" and my booster, and he too found his own special place in our Waldorf School until he fully retired last June.

I have only been one small part in the founding and growth of our Calgary Waldorf School, so I was shocked and deeply moved to see my name painted over the Atrium entry. I am so glad that the title includes all of the Founders, all of the individuals, colleagues, and parents who help build the foundation of our School for our students. So many hands build a house, so many hearts build a school.

As Nancy Blanning said at our Gateways Conference in April, I am at the age when I am reaching the end of my "karmic duties" and that will allow me to step away from the School next year. However, Paul and I wanted to keep our connection to the School and we have been considering over the past year how we could continue to make a difference here. I have worked hard with the Board to keep our School financially on track and I think we have done an excellent job. We have a Tuition Assistance Fund for families with low incomes, but I know that tuition fees are still out of reach for many people, including our own CWS alumni who are now parents, and our School is always at risk each year that the government will cut our funding.

Paul and I decided to make a donation to establish a CWS Sustainability Endowment Fund and we have also written a bequest towards the Fund into our Wills. The idea of a Sustainability Fund is to build up a capital amount through donations and investments, and then a percentage of the growth is brought annually into the School's operating fund in order to lower tuition fees for all families. The Fund will not have an immediate result, but instead requires long-term thinking. Many older organizations, such as universities or arts organizations, have this kind of a fund, and it seems at 30 years old, we are mature enough as a school to start putting money into our CWS "RRSP" or "Heritage Fund".

A few years ago Paul and I finally wrote our Wills, and at that time, we put a bequest to the School into our Wills. I think now that that was the beginning of this Sustainability Fund idea for us, because we wanted to give our bequest to the School in a way which would last – and an Endowment Fund does that.

Paul and I will continue to seek out donations and bequests for this Fund so that it can grow. If you are interested in contributing to this Fund or directing a bequest from your Will to this Fund, there are some information packages in the school office and a little more information below. This could lower your grandchildren's tuition fees – and it will protect the sustainability of our special "miracle" Calgary Waldorf School.

As I leave with a little bit of trepidation about letting go of my involvement in our school, I know that I am leaving this place in very good shape. We have a great faculty for next year, some excellent former staff re-joining us (Kathy Brunetta, Virginia Smith, Peter Murdock, and Christina MacWilliam), a superb admin team and now Cari Vaughan joining us as our new Financial Manager, and we have a dedicated and thoughtful group of parent Board members. And thankfully. . . . Cheechum Soby, who will be taking over the very important "nature table" – so now we all know "what becomes of the nature table" (as they sang to me at my Shindig on May 2nd)!

Warmest wishes, Dinah

To support the long-term sustainability of the Calgary Waldorf School and annually reduce tuition fees for all families by creating an additional source of revenue from the Fund's growth.

  • The CWS Sustainability Endowment Fund will be held at The Calgary Foundation (TCF) and invested by TCF. Currently the CWS Tuition Assistance Endowment Fund is also held at TCF and is valued at $943,000.
  • A percentage of the Sustainability Fund (currently 4%) will be granted annually to the School for its annual operations. The remaining total of the Fund will be kept in perpetuity at The Calgary Foundation and cannot be withdrawn for ad hoc reasons – thereby ensuring the longevity of the Fund.
  • A goal will be set to raise $500,000 in principal before beginning to take any withdrawals from the Fund.
  • 4% of $500,000 would allow for an approximate 1% decrease in tuition fees.
  • The Calgary Waldorf Building Society (the Society that legally owns our Calgary Waldorf School property) is planning to make annual contributions to the CWS Sustainability Fund from surpluses while interest rates on the mortgage are low, and significant repairs on our 13 year old building are still minimal.
  • The Calgary Waldorf School Society is making arrangements to contribute to the Fund effectively from the School's operating reserves.

On the 30-year anniversary of the Calgary Waldorf School, and the beginning of Dinah Clark's retirement from 30 years of work with the School, Dinah and husband, Paul, are announcing the establishment of a CWS Sustainability Endowment Fund for the long-term benefit of the School. To begin the Fund, Dinah and Paul will make a charitable donation from their family, and they have included a bequest to the Fund in their Wills.

We invite you to consider contributing to this new CWS Sustainability Endowment Fund to help reach our initial goal of $500,000, and/or to make a bequest in your will to the Fund to give a gift that will endure.

Please contact the School Office or Dinah Clark for more information. Thanks!

The Board is very pleased to announce a contribution from the School to the CWS Sustainability Endowment Fund established recently by Dinah Clark and Paul Jolicoeur to mark Dinah's retirement from the Calgary Waldorf School.

Ever since she helped found CWS in 1985, Dinah has worked as a leader in our Administration for all 30 years of our school's history, and she has been our Financial Administrator for most of those 30 years. Through these many years, Dinah has consistently created very detailed and conservative budgets. Through her sound financial management, there have been years when the school has had a modest surplus at the end of the budget year. Usually, the surpluses are placed into the Future Operations Reserve Fund. This rainy-day fund allows us to prepare for future maintenance and repair requirements with our building and grounds, and also to maintain programs and operations at a consistent level even in years when we may have a modest operating deficit or in years when government funding is unexpectedly cut. It is in large part thanks to Dinah's financial acumen and her long-term dedication to ensuring the financial health of CWS that this rainy-day fund is in place to provide the school with a financial safety net.

At our June 11th meeting, the Board voted enthusiastically and unanimously in favour of making a contribution of $60,000 to the new CWS Sustainability Endowment Fund. These funds will be moved from the Future Operations Reserve Fund over to The Calgary Foundation, where the funds will then be invested in our CWS Sustainability Endowment Fund held at and managed by TCF. We chose this number because it represents $2,000 per year of Dinah's 30 years of service to the school, and at the same time, also ensures that we maintain sufficient funds in the Future Operations Reserved Fund. Once established and fully-endowed (with a baseline of $500,000), the Sustainability Endowment Fund will help to fund future operations at the school thereby helping to maintain the lowest possible tuition rates. By making this contribution, the Board is investing in the financial accessibility of our school for Calgary families now and for years to come.

More information about the specifics of the Sustainability Endowment Fund was in last week's Wednesday Notice (June 10th), or you can speak to Dinah Clark, Cari Vaughan, or Cathie Foote. Donation and information forms are also available at the school office. Please consider supporting this wonderful initiative, which is a tribute to Dinah's foresight and commitment – carrying on even well after her formal retirement from our school.

Thank you to Dinah and Paul for spearheading this Endowment Fund plan and for your many years of thoughtful dedication to the Calgary Waldorf School. You will both be missed and we wish you all the best on the next leg of your life's journey.

On behalf of the Board,
MaryWyatt Sindlinger, President