A decade of remarkable service
Mid global health pandemic and on the crest of an economic downturn, the St Catherine’s community, led by our Foundation Board, rose to massive challenges and stimulated the greatest participation in annual giving in the history of the School.
Mr Wayne Kent, Chair of the St Catherine’s School Foundation Board, Retires After a Decade of Remarkable Service
This year has been an extraordinary one for the St Catherine’s Foundation, potentially one of the most remarkable times in Foundation history.
Mid global health pandemic and on the crest of an economic downturn, the St Catherine’s community, led by our Foundation Board, rose to massive challenges and stimulated the greatest participation in annual giving in the history of the School. Asked to help establish the St Catherine’s Hardship Fund, over 300 community members donated $418,922 within 24 hours of our Inaugural Giving day on 5 August. A phenomenal outcome by every measure.
Over ten years ago, Wayne Kent agreed to become Chair of the St Catherine’s School Foundation and to lead what has turned out to be one of the School’s most ambitious capital campaigns, to raise $9 million for the Sports and Aquatic Centre development. In accepting the position and this challenge, Wayne talked with passion about making philanthropy an accepted, attractive and transparent part of the culture of girls’ schools, something that is taken for granted by our male counterparts.
Wayne’s vision and leadership of a strong team led to the success of the Sports and Aquatic Centre campaign, forming a landmark event in the School’s history. By campaign end, there were 390 members of the St Catherine’s School Foundation, an increase of 207 new members since the campaign began in February 2009, and $7.5 million raised complemented with a Federal grant of $2 million.
Success was easily measured by the strength of community support of the Campaign, which was paralleled with increased interest in enrolments across all year levels. All of this was achieved during a global financial crisis when fundraising required great courage and incredible community participation. By campaign end, St Catherine’s was starting to emulate the fundraising success of leading boys’ schools in Melbourne.
Under Wayne’s leadership, the Her Future Begins Here campaign was launched to raise $3 million for the Barbreck redevelopment. In his launch speech in 2016, Wayne spoke about the fact that over two-thirds of St Catherine’s Nil Magnum women were educated at Barbreck. Inspired and supported by the work of the Foundation Board and the Campaign Committee, St Catherine’s embarked on funding a redevelopment that would build a world class Junior School to match the exceptional reputation of our teaching staff, and building the foundations for generations of outstanding students to come. By the end of this campaign, a further $3.6 million had been raised for capital works – Barbreck and the Senior School Science development.
In 2019, Wayne quoted Winston Churchill saying, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Wayne thanked our community for continuing on the journey of building a lasting legacy for girls’ education. With the completion of Barbreck, Wayne said that fundraising attention would turn to providing scholarships for young girls who would otherwise not have the opportunity to experience a St Catherine’s education.
Poised to focus community attention on the Scholarship Program and the diversification to our culture that such funding brings, the Foundation was not yet aware of the challenges 2020 had in store, and how vital fundraising would be in these hard times. On Wednesday 5 August, and drawing on the deepening culture of generosity, our school witnessed unparalleled support at a time when our broader community needs it the most.
St Catherine’s School received extraordinary support for our 2020 Annual Giving Program through our inaugural St Catherine’s Giving Day. The generosity of over 300 donors, including 15 matching major donors, helped raise a total of $501,545 to date, to establish the St Catherine’s Hardship Fund.
This remarkable response from our School community has enabled St Catherine’s School to provide an uninterrupted and continuing education for current students whose families face challenges to their circumstances, and also to support new families who would otherwise not be able to send their daughters to St Catherine’s.
Coupled with the School’s own contribution of $500,000, we have exceeded our 2020 goal of raising $1 million for Hardship, the most ambitious annual giving target in St Catherine’s history. This is attributable to the generous spirit of our community.
There are now 573 members of the St Catherine’s School Foundation – an increase of 300% in membership during Wayne’s tenure as Chair, and the Foundation has raised an average of $1,395,918 per year over this same period. The number of capital projects delivered in this time, including the Senior School Redevelopment, Marigold Southey Sports & Aquatic Centre, Barbreck Redevelopment and the Senior School Science Project, is a direct result of this burgeoning membership.
And what a note on which to express our thanks and gratitude to a man who envisioned such success for St Catherine’s School and who has passionately and tirelessly worked to build a deep culture of philanthropy for girls’ education. As retiring Chair of Foundation, Wayne leaves a wonderful legacy to inspire future leadership and we sincerely thank him for his tremendous contribution. We look forward to announcing the new Foundation Chair to members in due course.