Make Your Gift to The Ellis Fund

Now, more than ever, your support means the world to The Ellis School and its students.

The Ellis Fund

The Ellis Fund is Ellis’ annual fund that goes toward the School’s current-year operating expenses. Ellis Fund gifts make up the difference between what tuition covers and the actual cost of running the School. Such gifts are unrestricted, meaning donors allow the School to spend them on whatever it deems necessary.

Other Ways to Give to the Ellis Fund

List of 3 items.

  • Check

    Please make checks payable to "The Ellis School". You may send your gift to: The Ellis School, Development Office, 6425 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206
  • Gifts of Securities

    The Development Office will provide stock transfer instructions upon request. All gifts of stock are sold immediately upon receipt. For more information, please call 412-661-6796.
  • Gifts-in-Kind

    Gifts-in-Kind are accepted when pre-approved through the Development Office. For more information, please call 412-661-6796.
  1. 100
  2. 90
  3. 80
  4. 70
  5. 60
  6. 50
  7. 40
  8. 30
  9. 20
  10. 10
  11. 0
Goal $610,000.00
Current $580,874.00
Remaining $29,126.00

Other Ways to Support Ellis

List of 3 items.

  • Endowed gifts

    An endowment fund is a permanent, self-sustaining source of funding for The Ellis School. When you specify that you intend for your gift to be endowed, the principal amount of your gift will be invested and the investment income will be used for the ongoing support of Ellis. Earnings in excess of the distribution are used to build the endowment’s market value.

    If your gift is in the amount of $150,000 or more, you may create your own named endowed fund. In this way, an endowment fund can grow and provide support for its designated purpose in perpetuity. When you establish an endowment fund, you create a permanent legacy of support for Ellis.

    If you would like to make an endowed gift but your gift is less than $150,000 or you do not wish to create your own separate endowed fund, the School will invest your gift with the rest of the School’s general endowment.
  • Matching Gifts

    If you work for a company that matches gifts to schools, your contribution to The Ellis School may be doubled. Fill out paperwork through your HR Department and mail to: The Ellis School, Development Office, 6425 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206
  • Capital Projects

    In addition to Ellis’ ongoing fundraising initiatives, we often develop special projects to enhance our campus and the student experience. Capital gifts have the ability to create powerful and essential opportunities for both the students and faculty members during their time on campus. Capital gifts not only fund brick and mortar projects, but can also support scholarships; endowments; visiting scholars, speakers, and artists; travel grants; professional development, and more.

    Please share your interest in supporting a special project with the Development Office at 412-661-6796.

List of 2 items.

  • Planned Giving

    In 1916, Sarah Frazer Ellis established "not a large school but a sound and thorough one" to prepare young women for “the rigorous admission requirements of the Eastern women's colleges.” During the 100 years that have passed since the school’s founding, The Ellis School’s mission has evolved beyond just preparing our graduates for college. Today, The Ellis School prepares, empowers, and inspires women to take on the world. Just as The Ellis School’s founding in 1916 laid the groundwork for today’s achievements, support of dedicated donors who plan for Ellis through their estates ensures tomorrow’s continued success. Thank you for your interest in how your gift plans can benefit you and The Ellis School by establishing a lasting legacy through charitable contributions. There are many ways to extend your support of The Ellis School and to make a lasting impact on the many generations of Ellis girls who will follow in your footsteps.

    The Ellisian Society was created to recognize and thank those whose thoughtful planning will benefit future generations of students, faculty, facilities, and/or programs at The Ellis School. To learn more about this special group of supporters, or to let us know of your charitable plans, please contact the Development Office at 412-661-6796.
    Ways to Give

    Gifts by Will or Living Trust through a Bequest
    A charitable gift from your estate is a favored method of giving that enables you to achieve your financial goals and benefit The Ellis School. No other planned gift is as simple to implement or as easy to change should you wish to do so during your lifetime.
    Types of Bequests:
    • Unrestricted: This type of gift is a gift that The Ellis School may use for its general purposes and is very useful because it allows for flexibility to put the gift to the best possible use at the time Ellis receives it.
    • Restricted:  A restricted gift is given to Ellis with instructions for a specific purpose, such as support for financial aid or curricula/programming that is important to you. Please consult with the Development Office prior to establishing your restrictions to ensure that Ellis is able to carry out your wishes.
    • Endowed:  When you specify that you intend for your gift to be endowed, the principal amount of your gift will be invested and the investment income will be used for the ongoing support of Ellis. If your gift is in the amount of $150,000 or more, you may create your own named endowed fund. If you would like to make an endowed gift but your gift is less than $150,000 or you do not wish to create your own separate endowed fund, the School will invest your gift with the rest of the School’s general endowment. By adding to the endowment, your funds can grow over time. This approach assures that your gift will continue to benefit Ellis long after you are gone.  An endowed bequest can be restricted or unrestricted.
    Bequest Language for Donors
    The following is intended to assist you and your attorney in drafting a bequest that meets your individual interests.  As you consult your attorney on the selection of appropriate wording to reflect your own goals and intentions regarding The Ellis School, be sure the School's correct legal name appears in all final documents as:
    "I give to The Ellis School, a nonprofit corporation currently located at 6425 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206, or its successor thereto, ______________* [written amount or percentage of the estate or description of property] for its unrestricted use and/or specific purpose."
    To let us know that you have included The Ellis School in your estate plan, please complete a Gift Confirmation Form so we can recognize and thank you as a member of the Ellisian Society.  

    Distribution from an IRA

    If you are 70½ years old or older, you can take advantage of a simple way to benefit The Ellis School and receive tax benefits in return. You can give up to $100,000 from your IRA directly to a qualified charity such as ours without having to pay income taxes on the money. One of the key benefits of the direct charitable contribution from your IRA is that the distribution counts towards your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD). You can contribute more than your RMD to charity as long as you do not exceed $100,000 in a calendar year.

    This law no longer has an expiration date so you are free to make annual gifts to our organization this year and well into the future.

    Designating a beneficiary

    A beneficiary designation is one of the simplest ways to make a gift to The Ellis School. This type of gift requires the single act of filling out a form. You can specify the individuals and charities you want to support and you can also specify the percentage of the assets you want each beneficiary to receive.
    Beneficiary designations are available when giving the following assets:
    • Retirement Assets: An alternative to a bequest gift is to designate The Ellis School as the beneficiary of any one or more of your retirement assets. This gift is simple because you can control the transfer of these assets at your death without changing your will or living trust. All you need to do is request (and complete) a new beneficiary designation form from your plan administrator. There is no need to modify your will or living trust.
    • Life Insurance: Life Insurance policies may also be used to make a gift to Ellis. You can arrange this type of gift by submitting to the insurance company a form designating that The Ellis School receives all or a portion of the death benefits associated with your life insurance policy. As an alternative to naming Ellis as the beneficiary, you can transfer ownership of the policy. Transferring ownership results in an immediate income tax charitable deduction and potential income tax savings in the year of the gift.
    The Ellis School does not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. This language has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.
  • Corporate Giving through EITC and OSTC

    It is not often you get the opportunity to tell the government how to spend your tax dollars. The Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs allow eligible Pennsylvania businesses to do just that. These programs, administered by the Department of Community and Economic Development, provide millions of dollars in tax credits to eligible companies that contribute to qualified Scholarship Organizations, such as The Ellis School.

    Entities eligible to apply for EITC & OSTC are operating businesses authorized to do business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that are subject to one or more of the following taxes: Corporate Net Income Tax, Capital Stock Franchise Tax, Bank and Trust Company Shares Tax, Title Insurance Companies Shares Tax, Insurance Premiums Tax, Mutual Thrift Institutions Tax; or Personal Income Tax of S corporation shareholders or Partnership partners.

    Please contact the Development Office at 412-661-6796 to learn more about EITC & OSTC.

2018-2019 Giving Impact

List of 8 items.

  • 1,689

    Total Gifts
  • $60,000+

    Increase in Annual Giving
  • $716,929

    Total Raised
  • 131

    Students Received Financial Aid
  • 98%

    of Employees Gave
  • 1,019

  • 59%

    of Parents Gave
  • 9.8%

    Increase in Annual Giving

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 10 frequently asked questions.

  • What is the Ellis Fund?

    1. The Ellis Fund is Ellis’ annual fund. It is comprised of hundreds of unrestricted gifts that help offset Ellis’ yearly operating expenses.
    2. Gifts to the Ellis Fund support:
      • Financial aid
      • Classroom equipment and resource
      • Athletic equipment
      • Assemblies and guest speakers
      • Field trips
      • Books and new materials for the library
      • Faculty salaries
      • Operating expenses
    Tuition, fees, and endowment income provide the greatest portion of the annual operating budget, but gifts to the Ellis Fund make up the difference between these sources of revenue and the actual costs of operating the School. By providing unrestricted support for the annual operating budget, Ellis Fund gifts reach every corner of the campus, enriching the academic, athletic, fine arts, and co-curricular programs at Ellis.
  • I already pay tuition, why am I being asked to contribute?

    The Ellis School is a nonprofit and thus must raise funds each year to ensure the quality education that all Ellis girls receive. In fact, tuition only covers about 75 percent of the cost of each Ellis student’s education. Tuition, fees, and the endowment cover the majority of the cost and the Ellis Fund makes up the rest.
  • I can't make a large donation—do small donations matter?

    • Yes! Making a donation is a personal decision and it is important that you understand why a gift of any size will make a difference to Ellis. As any math teacher knows, numbers add up and so do dollars. A small gift from everyone in the Ellis Community can become a truly significant number, a number that ultimately allows for the remarkable educational experience provided at Ellis. 
    • Also, participation matters! When Ellis speaks with foundations and donors, they want to know how many parents, alumnae, parents of alumnae, faculty, and staff support the Ellis Fund. A higher participation rate indicates a healthy and supportive community, which positions Ellis to receive large gifts.
  • What’s the difference between a gift to the Ellis Fund and a gift to the endowment?

    Gifts to the Ellis Fund specifically address the yearly operating expenses that are incurred while running the School and are built into the budget on a yearly basis. The Ellis endowment is our savings and investment account which reflects the financial stability of the school. The policy of the Board of Trustees is to spend only 5.25 percent of the endowment’s value based on a three-year rolling average.
  • Can I have my gift matched?

    Yes! Ellis benefits from many matching gift programs. If you or your spouse work for a matching gift company, please request a matching gift form from your company’s Human Resources department and enclose it with your gift. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Development Office at 412-661-6796 or
  • Why does giving to Ellis matter?

    Your gift, no matter the size, is priceless. A gift to Ellis demonstrates that you care and are committed to the Ellis community. Whether you are an alumna, parent, or friend, giving to Ellis shows that you support and care about Ellis’ mission. Gifts to The Ellis School help to ensure that Ellis remains a school where girls take risks, chase their dreams, and achieve their full potential.
  • Can I designate where I want my Ellis Fund donation to go?

    Yes! Gifts to the Ellis Fund can be designated to athletics, arts, financial aid, faculty salaries, facilities, and general operational costs. Your gift can truly impact the entire Ellis Community
  • Can I support specific programming and/or other areas that interest me?

    If there are more specific programs or areas that you are interested in supporting, please reach out to the Development Office. We’re always interested to work with individuals, groups, and foundations to ensure a gift makes an impact, both for Ellis students and the donor. Recent specially designated gifts have gone toward developing a summer series of faculty workshops, attendance at the Student Diversity Leadership Conference, and endowed scholarship and faculty development funds.
  • Can I include Ellis in my estate plans?

    Yes! We provide additional information on planned giving here. (link) . Please also reach out to the Development Office at 412-661-6796 or to discuss how you can create your legacy at Ellis.
  • Can I support Ellis by volunteering?

    Yes, we are always looking for dedicated volunteers to encourage giving from their fellow peers. If you are interested in volunteering with the Ellis Development Office, please reach out and we’ll discuss how to get you involved!

Meet Our Team

Carly Reed Carstens '02

Director of Development and Alumnae Engagement

The Development and Alumnae Engagement Office supports the mission of The Ellis School by building meaningful relationships with our entire community, including alumnae, parents, grandparents, and friends.

A gift to The Ellis School, be it time, energy, or money, makes a direct impact on every student at Ellis and is an investment in the future as we educate the next generation of female changemakers and leaders.

List of 4 members.

  • Photo of Kristine Arnoni

    Ms. Kristine Arnoni 

    Development and Donor Relations Manager
  • Photo of April Roberson

    Mrs. April Roberson 

    Research and Data Manager
  • Photo of Breanna Bianco

    Breanna Bianco 

    Assistant Director of Annual Giving
  • Photo of Abigail Thornton

    Ms. Abigail Thornton 

    Alumnae Engagement Officer

Donor Reports

In the following lists, you will read the names of the people who contributed to a strong tradition of philanthropy by making gifts to The Ellis School throughout the years. It is our pleasure to share with you these incredibly supportive community members. Thank you to all who support Ellis with your time, talent, and generosity.