DSM: RE: Fairhaven Questions

Joe Jackson (shoeless@jazztbone.com)
Mon, 8 Jan 2001 20:05:27 -0500

Hi Cindy!

Thanks for the compliment on our site.

> I just visited the Fairhaven site and had time to check it out a
> little. I
> am quite impressed. I have a few questions and I was going to ask them
> direct but decided to use this list because I know that others are looking
> for startup info as well. And I know that Joe is on the list.
> I looked at the time line of the school startup and thought it was great.
> What was the "Brick by Brick" fundraising campaign?

"Brick By Brick" was a campaign conducted for the construction of our
original building (which for those of you who don't know, was hand-built by
we founders and other families along with Alan White, and a couple of
carpenters we hired). When someone donated $100 through "Brick By Brick",
they would have a brick with an inscription they choose that would be used
in construction. The bricks are in the walkway leading to the front door of
the school - it's interesting sometimes to stop and read them.

> What is 501(c)(3) status?

Section 501(c)3 is a bit of Internal Revenue Service code that describes a
certain kind of non-profit corporations. It is "status" that is preferable
to apply for for many reasons relating to fundraising and PR. Most private
schools are 501(c)3.

When you apply for it, you must fill out a good-sized application package,
and if you satisfy the conditions you get an advance ruling. About three
years after that you can apply for ending the advance ruling period by
supplying them with detailed financials and other information during the
period. We successfully got permanent 501(c)3 status in August 1999.

> The timeline said that the board of ed rejected the
> application for
> a private school - why?

The Maryland Department of Education rejected us because we did not intend
to have "a sequential and linear curriculum". They suggested we look for a
church to sponsor us.

> How did the school come into being then? What changed?

We started a church called Fairhaven Fellowship, a (true) non-denominational
Maryland church. MDE requires that the church excercises governance over
the school, and it does so via a document called "Governing Procedures of
Fairhaven School" which, if you squint, look really much like Sudbury Valley
School By-Laws.

Aside from regular business meetings, Fairhaven Fellowship consists of
various clubs and small study groups that go their own direction, and
anything that happens in the groups is up to the groups and is
nonrepresentative of the Fellowship as a whole, which is strictly
non-denominational. Part of the creed of FF speaks to the fact that part of
our beliefs are the creation of a democratically self-governed educational

Fairhaven opened as a Maryland Church-Exempt School in Sept. 1998.

> Why is Fairhaven a corporation and not a not-for profit one?

We are non-profit (see above).

> What are the disadvantages and advantages of that?

A for-profit corp. cannot fundraise. Being for-profit is more expensive in
about a million different ways, from paying sales tax on a load of mulch, to
having a complex federal income tax situation to take care of.

Not knowing much about the for-profit world, I imagine there's potentially
tons of more problems with for-profit.

I also think the holding of the purse strings represents a problem.

> I think I remember that you said that you weren't involved in the
> startup of
> the school, but maybe you know the answers to my questions.

I think that was someone else talking.

> One
> more: How
> did the part time school in the home work out?
> How many kids were there?
> How was it set up?

The school at the McCaig's was in the early nineties and before my time.
Crossroads Coop happened in 96-97 and 97-98 and was about 20 - 24 kids the
whole time. In retrospect I think Crossroads was a really great way to keep
our core together while the school was being planned and built. I think
that at least one other founder feels differently, though...

> Thanks in advance for all the info!



> ~CindyK

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0b3 on Thu Mar 29 2001 - 11:16:05 EST