ALPHA Fundraising FAQ
What is this “Envelope Campaign”?
As with many TDSB schools, Alpha families raise money for the school. The Envelope Campaign is our largest fundraiser. We ask that families donate directly, and/or reach out to our extended family & friends, to support the school. No big event, no raffle, no hoopla!
ALPHA is a public school. Why am I being asked to pay money?
All contributions are voluntary – nobody has to pay to come to ALPHA. For a start on answering this question, see Appendix: Why Fundraise? below.
But we have a fundraiser coming up in December - isn't that enough?
No, the 2017-18 draft budget, to be finalized at November Parent meeting, is $17,500. The Fall fundraiser, Spring fundraiser, and all the smaller fundraisers throughout the year are projected to raise a total all together of about half the budget. The envelope campaign needs to raise the other half. If we manage to raise more than that via the envelope campaign, even better!
OK. How much do you want from me?
We have about 60 families in our small school, and not all families can afford to donate. To meet our goal, we need an average donation of $250.
$250!! I can’t afford that.
No problem. Not all families can afford to donate. Some families contribute more, some less. Any amount is very much appreciated
$250!! That seems low. My kid’s weekly 30-minute ersatz dance class costs way more.
If you can afford to contribute more, please do. How about donating $500 for the year? Broken down over the 10-month school year, this works out to about $1.67 a day; you could think of it as donating one coffee or tea every day to ALPHA!
$250!! All at once??
It's up to you. You can break it up into monthly donations if you prefer. Or make a couple of larger donations at times of the year that work for you. You can make a pledge in the comments section of the form.
Where is that fundraising letter I can share with my family & friends?
and feel free to pick up a Thank You card to give them. (The cards are at school, in the front hall, now until November 30th)
Who decides what to do with the money that’s raised?
As a school community, we set the budget together by consensus at our monthly Parent meetings. The salary for the Volunteer Coordinator position is decided the previous Spring, to be carried forward. The balance of the budget is finalized in November and mostly represents a budget for initiatives or wants identified by staff and students. Parents can access some funds by pitching an idea to the monthly Parent meeting.
Do families get treated differently based on how much they contribute?
No way. Whether you contribute, or how much, is kept totally confidential. Only the members of the ALPHA Parent Fund Finance Committee, Urszula (Tyrus & Iza), Babette (Kahero) & Rachel (Aiden & Ruby) know this information. And the Envelope Campaign form admin, Tania (Oscar Bean), knows whatever you responded to the online form.
What’s the point of responding if I can’t contribute?
Year after year, some current ALPHA families don’t respond to this fundraising campaign because they haven’t heard about it! Parent volunteers are working hard to reach everyone! Please let us know we’ve reached you. Thanks thanks thanks!
OK. How do I respond?
Go to the short ONLINE FORM: (anytime!)

OR fill out a paper copy (available during the campaign, in the front stairwell at school) and return to Uncle Fred, the locked box beside the mail tubes on the first floor, near the kitchen.

Which donation method is the best and why?
Donate online via Canada Helps:

It’s the easiest on our Finance Committee volunteer parents’ precious time. Canada Helps instantly does the work of issuing you a tax receipt and takes 3.9% of all donations. You can also set up automatic monthly donations if you want.

Also, if you're donating via Canada Helps, you don't need to fill out the ALPHA Envelope Campaign Form (unless you want to give some feedback.)

I don’t want to give my credit card number online.
No problem. Use whichever method you’re most comfortable with. The methods are on the form.
Can’t I set up monthly automatic payments to Alpha from my online banking profile?
Sorry, but no - CIBC charges a lot of fees for this option. But Canada Helps lets you do monthly donations, or you can write post-dated cheques.
Is my contribution tax deductible?
Yes! You will receive a charitable donation receipt in January for the full amount of your donation.
Is there a deadline?
Please fill out the form, with or without contribution, by Nov. 30th, Thanks!
Aww crap, I missed the deadline.
Yes, we understand stuff happens! Please go ahead and respond now. The form is super short! We are working hard to reach everyone; please let us know we’ve reached you. Also, you can donate to the Alpha Parent Fund anytime and you can use the comments section of the form to pledge to donate later if you want.
I have more questions.
You can reach Sonya (Sibi) from the Fundraising Committee at
Or Tania (Oscar Bean) from the Envelope Campaigners at
Or Urszula (Tyrus, Iza) from the Finance Committee at
The Envelope Campaign is often overlooked and misunderstood. Please pass it on to other families and let them know about this important school fundraiser! Thanks.
Appendix: Why Fundraise?
There are EQUITY ISSUES with public school fundraising and we have a duty to stress that donating is completely voluntary.

Not all families can afford to donate, or have the wealth-connections to fundraise a donation from their extended families/communities. There is also a strong argument to abolish fundraising in public schools because fundraising lets governments off the hook for funding schools adequately, and leads to inequities due to a growing fundraising gap between Toronto’s wealthy and working class schools.

The compelling argument for fundraising and donating at ALPHA is not only that there’s a context of chronic underfunding and cutbacks for education and we want the best for our kids. It’s in WHAT WE USE THE MONEY FOR and how that impacts the ability of the school to have child-centred practices and deliver on our alternative, democratic education mandate.

The bulk of our fundraising doesn’t go to either expensive smart boards or to providing school lunches, it goes to people. It pays the salary of our Volunteer Co-ordinator ($14,000 of 17.5k)**, who supports the in-school volunteers, especially new families. This supports all the teachers, benefits the whole school and serves to lay the groundwork for ongoing community participation (volunteering) in the school. This shapes the extent to which Alpha’s signature pedagogical practices, as a democratic school, can occur. In particular, the kids not all doing the same thing at the same time, learning at their own pace, and having freedom of movement on the floor -- can only succeed with a high enough adults-to-kids ratio.

We also earmark some funds ($2,850 of 17.5k)** for:
• classroom enhancements and visitors ($1000),
• play equipment ($500)
• and committees ($1350, with $350 specified for indigenous programs).
Most of this represents initiatives or wants identified by staff and students, and some by parents. We also give ($450) to an equity and over-and-under school fees fund in the school budget, administered by the principal. Our administrative costs (bank fees and website) have ranged from $116-600 over last 3 years.

**Amounts from this year's 2017-18 draft budget:
which was finalized at our November Parent meeting.

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