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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Boarding School


Photo owned by: Lisa Richmond

In this rough financial climate, everyone is certainly on their toes. However, this AM when I opened up my New York Times, I didn't necessarily plan on reading this article, which really tugged at my heart-strings and to be honest, made me quite upset!

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/07/business/07conserve.html

The Conserve School basically just opened in 2002, and already has an endowment of 181 million dollars.

It was a non-profit started when the CEO of a Chicago steel company died, whole established a trust for 70% students to recieve financial aid, run the school, donated 1,200 acres for the school to be on (and I thought the almost 400 acres my boarding school had was a lot), and to maintain the school with a majority stake (59%) in this said Chicago steel company.

Unfortunately, the school earlier this semester, called the student body together to let students know at the end of this semester, the school will be no longer a boarding school 4-year program and will instead become a semester-long study program.

What? Excuse me?

I know.

Apparently, and I can only understand the financial gibberish in this article because I am on the Annual Fund for a couple of different non-profits (including my own alma mater), they didn't sell off 5% of their assets every year, and if not selling it, diversifying them. Basically, their portfolio wasn't adjusted to work with the climate of the market.

Ironically enough, the people who run the school? Trustees. Kind-of like the situation of The Greenbrier with CSX Railroad being it's owners. The Trustees of the school are board members at this Chicago Steel Company. So it's a situation of greed and nonchalance. And that upsets me.

I immediately emailed my boarding school Annual Fund coordinator to let her know how this article made me feel, and that I would love to do anything extra that I could to help my boarding school in this financial climate... if they needed my help outside of my regular donations. I have yet to hear from her, but I feel like it wouldn't hurt. At least I could then figure out how to do more letters to my classmates before June 30...

4 comments:

  1. This is so sad! I do not know what I would do if my boarding school suddenly shut down- tear!

    PS- Did you go to Chatam? I am sure you know Nan, Jennifer, Caroline and Lydia if so!

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  2. I really would fall to pieces if this happened to Chatham as well!!!

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  3. Thank you for posting this! I currently attend Conserve (I'm the Erty Seidel mentioned in the article), and it is very sad that the trustees felt they needed to do this.

    Thank you for passing the story along.

    --Erty

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  4. you should know that the reason the trust was never diversified is because it gives the "Trustees" a 59% voting share in Central Steal and Wire. The board of the steel company, the trustees of the Conserve school trust, and the school board are one and the same. Our biggest concern right now is that the "school board" is the only entity with legal standing to pursue a suit. We are looking for alternatives but our best hope is to get the wisconsin attorney general's office involved.

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