The First Independent STEAM School in Orange County, CA
Serving Early Childhood to 8th Grade

Cardinal Fund

The Cardinal Fund is St. John's most important annual philanthropic focus. Like most private, independent schools, St. John’s relies on annual tax-deductible gifts, in addition to tuition, to provide the School with its margin of excellence. What's more, statistics of annual fundraising - specifically the percentage of parent participation in annual giving- are a common measurement of the health of a school. Parent participation is often reported to outside accrediting agencies, considered in grant application reviews, and can be impactful for rankings sites and employee recruitment and retention. Proceeds from the Cardinal Fund give St. John’s the flexibility to respond to new initiatives or programs that would not be possible through tuition revenue alone. The School has budgeted $200,000 to be raised by the Cardinal Fund this year, and is making a strategic focus on increasing parent participation percentage in order to foster a culture of philanthropy. Simply put, when we’re all-in together in support of the Cardinal Fund, we can make a tremendous impact on all St. John’s students’ experiences, in and out of the classroom.


Friend (up to $499)

Patron ($500-$999)

Benefactor ($1000-$2,499)

Cardinal Club ($2,500-$4,999)

Shield Society ($5,000-$9,999)

Head of School's Circle ($10,000+)

Cardinal Fund FAQ

The Cardinal Fund provides us our margin of excellence.

Funds raised through the Cardinal Fund help St. John’s provide extraordinary opportunities by supporting new initiatives and programs that would not be possible on tuition revenue alone. Examples include faculty professional development, curricular development, pilot projects, and guest speakers — all directly enhancing student learning and outcomes this year. The 2018-2019 Cardinal Fund was able to help support a variety of initiatives, some highlights including:

  • Project Lead the Way conference and training for select Elementary and Middle Division teachers
  • Guest speaker Dr. Adria O'Donnell who discussed fostering social and emotional resiliency in kids
  • Amplify Science pilot curriculum, this is now successfully being used in our Middle Division

Participation is important.

Foundations and corporate giving programs are more likely to support the School with grant funding if parent participation is high. Last year our parent participation was just under 50% — most independent schools of our size average 90-100% participation. We can do more!

Independent schools depend on annual giving.

Unlike public or even Catholic parish schools, we are an independent school that receives no financial assistance apart from tuition. St. John’s tuition levels are at or below other independent schools, both locally and state-wide. The Annual Fund makes it possible to keep tuition increases in check while still advancing the educational program each year.

Pledges are gifts too.

A pledge is a commitment to contribute a specific amount in the future (anytime between now and June 30). Pledges count as participation (so you won’t get any more CF solicitations!) and they help give the School a clear picture of the Cardinal Fund earlier in the year. Pledges can be for one-time gifts, or contributions to be paid monthly – whichever better suits your family’s financial situation. A gift paid in installments can ease the financial strain of a one-time donation and afford the donor the opportunity to make a larger contribution over time.

St. John's faculty and staff are 100% committed!

Every St. John’s employee has made a gift or pledge to the Cardinal Fund. They are committed to the success of the School and our students. Join them!

Giving online is easy.

Visit our Give Online page to make a contribution or pledge.

See more frequently asked questions about giving to St. John's.

Parent gifts, plus gifts from faculty, staff, grandparents, alumni, and other friends, help to ensure an exceptional educational experience for all students.

How much should I give?

Gifts range from $25 to $25,000, however, our average family gift last year was roughly $1,500. Many families will choose to support the Cardinal Fund at a level above or below this amount; only you can decide what level of support is right for your family. A good rule of thumb is to give enough that you care how the funds are spent. Please remember that your contribution, at whatever level you choose, is a meaningful investment, the returns of which directly benefit your child and the entire St. John's community. Gifts to the Cardinal Fund are the most efficient way to donate money to the School, in other words, more of your dollars are going directly to your children!