Page 7 - Menlo Magazine Summer 2019
P. 7

 From the
Board of Trustees
As the incoming Board Chair, I’d like to begin by acknowledging our outgoing Board Chair,
Rob Chandra, for his great service to Menlo School over the past three years. Rob helped the
School navigate through many complex issues and allowed Menlo to achieve some extraordinary
accomplishments. Namely, under Rob’s leadership, the School was able to continue an ambitious
capital campaign which has so far resulted in the opening of the Commons Dining Hall and
renovated Student Center and Library, the refurbishment of several of our athletics facilities, and the
beginning of construction of the Spieker Center for the Performing Arts. Through the campaign, Menlo has also nearly doubled its endowment. We are all the beneficiaries of Rob’s leadership, and I hope you will join me in thanking him for his service to Menlo.
By any measure, Menlo School is thriving. We are located in the heart of Silicon Valley, an area of energy and innovation. Our programs are strong and align with Menlo’s goal of providing an engaging curriculum designed to prepare students for the world they will encounter when they graduate. Last year, we completed a successful WASC accreditation and received an effusive report from the visiting accrediting team. We have a highly capable leadership team led by Than Healy, John Schafer, and La Vina Lowery. We are fully enrolled and we are financially sound. In short, we are a very healthy school!
Perhaps the greatest asset of our School is its exceptional faculty. These outstanding individuals have dedicated their lives and careers to educating our students. They do so with care, accessibility, and expertise. It is the close relationships between our teachers and students that are the secret of Menlo’s great success. This differentiation is the primary benefit of a Menlo education that no amount of new buildings can ever replace.
While our geographic location is one of our great strengths, it also brings with it an increasingly high cost of living. This presents arguably the greatest challenge to the long-term health of our School. High housing prices, long commutes, and the daunting prospect of the cost of living in the Bay Area are significant inhibitors in the recruitment and retention of faculty and staff. Providing support for Menlo community members in these areas will be a top Board of Trustees priority for the foreseeable future. Cost of living also affects many families and their ability to afford Menlo for their children, indicating the broader need for financial aid. We have made significant strides in increasing our financial aid in the past few years, with 22 percent of families receiving some form of financial aid, yet we still have a way to go to fully achieve our goals.
Tuition alone cannot provide the necessary resources to solve these issues now or in the future. The cost of housing and the need for financial aid are rising faster than we could ever expect (or desire) to increase tuition. Building our endowment is perhaps the most important step our School can take to ensure our long-term sustainability. It will help us to recruit and retain outstanding faculty and staff and ensure that we are making a Menlo education accessible to a broad spectrum of eligible students. In prior capital campaigns, our aging buildings and infrastructure required the School to focus mostly on rebuilding the campus. With the Spieker Center for the Performing Arts under construction, Menlo will accomplish the goal of completing our central campus in the fall of 2020. With these major construction projects complete, we can more fully turn our attention to the goal of increasing our endowment to ensure our financial sustainability in the future. The Board of Trustees is fully committed to supporting the School in this effort.
How does this campaign affect you and your student(s)? Every member of our community is immediately impacted by the successes we’ve had in fundraising. The buildings are state-of-the-art facilities that provide students with optimal learning environments. The impact of the endowment ensures that our current community, as well as future students, will enjoy the greatest of Menlo for years to come. We hope you will join us in helping Menlo accomplish these ambitious and important goals. All unrestricted gifts help complete the buildings and also help build the endowment, and every donation makes a difference.
Thank you so much for all you do for our School, and Go Menlo!
Jake Reynolds Board Chair

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