“Campbell & Company has helped us see what’s possible. Now we’re building on the success of this effort to propel Latin into the future.”
-Shelley Greenwood, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Latin School of Chicago
The Latin School of Chicago finished a $50 million campaign, which is just one measure of the school’s continuing efforts to distinguish itself as one of the finest independent schools in the nation. Located in the heart of a world-class city, Latin is a unique place of learning in an urban environment. Planning for the school’s future, members of the Latin community envisioned ways in which the school could take advantage of Chicago’s resources to expand the definition of academic excellence and offer students a one-of-a-kind educational experience. “‘Of Chicago’ isn’t just part of The Latin School’s name,” says Vice President of Institutional Advancement Shelley Greenwood. “It’s central to our identity.”
To make this vision a reality, The Latin School determined that it would need to make capital improvements; grow its endowment; and create cutting-edge creative programming for students, making the very best of the city, its landscape and a range of educational partnerships. These initiatives would require $100 million in funding—more than five times the amount Latin had raised a few years earlier in the school’s first-ever comprehensive campaign.
Moving forward with these plans, The Latin School looked for a consulting partner with a depth of experience in capital fundraising counsel to independent schools, a wide range of services and capable senior professionals to work with the school’s senior staff. “Our search for counsel was careful and deliberate,” Greenwood remembers. “Campbell & Company demonstrated that it had the experience and resources we needed. The firm was everyone’s first choice.”
Reaching fundraising potential
Campbell & Company and The Latin School determined that the first step toward realizing the school’s vision would be to plan and implement a $50 million campaign, which would be among the largest in the country for an independent day school serving grades pre-kindergarten through 12. With the firm’s guidance, the school established campaign priorities, including construction of a new, separate middle school, as well as some endowment and programmatic support.
“We have served as a partner for The Latin School in developing its fundraising capabilities,” says Campbell & Company President Peter Fissinger. “Together we sought out and secured a nucleus of lead gifts that has encouraged everyone in the school community to give at stretch levels and get involved in strengthening every aspect of the school.”
The Latin School has received over $20 million in seven-figure gifts to the successful campaign, which is in its final phase. In early 2006, the school broke ground and began construction of its new, state-of-the-art middle school, with occupancy slated for fall 2007.
The campaign has not been without challenges. Latin’s well known and respected headmaster retired after a stellar career. It took one year longer than expected to recruit his successor. But the campaign leadership team remained intact during this time, and the school steadfastly pursued its goals.
Building a partnership
The Latin School and Campbell & Company have developed a close partnership. Fissinger remarks, “Latin has a vision—and a will to achieve that vision—that is exceptional. As a partner in the school’s endeavors, our role has been to lend our expertise and help guide the process.”
The partnership took time to develop. “At first many of our Board members and volunteers were not certain we needed independent counsel,” Greenwood recalls. “They didn’t think that anyone from outside Latin could understand the school’s unique culture and challenges.” But Campbell & Company’s consultants listened closely to the concerns of leadership and senior staff and offered valuable recommendations. The firm established a reputation at the school as a trusted, professional advisor. Greenwood says, “The consultants brought a depth of experience with independent schools, but they also worked with our distinct personality and goals,” Greenwood says. “The firm recognized that our volunteer leadership wanted to be front and center and it reflected that in its approach.”
Providing continued support
As a full-service consulting firm, Campbell & Company has been able to respond to Latin’s diverse needs. When the team of consultants recommended that the school hire additional development staff, Campbell & Company’s Talent Management Practice stepped in to provide placement services.
The campaign has been one important leg of an ongoing journey. With a new Head of School in place and a new strategic plan taking shape, Latin is anticipating the next step toward realizing its vision. Greenwood knows the school is up to the challenge. “Campbell & Company has helped us see what’s possible. Now we’re building on the success of this effort to propel Latin into the future.”