Frequently Asked Questions

Giving FAQs

Curious about donating to CIS? Check below for some of our most common queries! Still have questions? Email us at for more information.

Why does CIS need donations when they already charge tuition?

The largest part of our operating budget is covered by tuition. As with most independent schools, while one might expect that tuition would cover all of the operating expenses, it does not. The school deliberately sets tuition below full cost in order to keep the school more affordable to a wider range of students and to provide community members with opportunities to support the school with tax-deductible, philanthropic commitments.

What is the difference between the Annual Fund and the Capital Campaign?

In simplest terms, the Pride Fund helps us live day to day, and the Capital Campaign helps us grow. Capital gifts allow the school to remodel and improve its facilities, augment programs, and add to its endowment. Such gifts are transformational in nature, as they enable the school to improve immeasurably. These gifts include long term upgrades, such as our innovation lab, athletics and arts center, or security enhancements to the school.

The Pride Fund giving is an ongoing, yearly campaign. The proceeds from the Pride Fund are vital to the everyday operations of the school, and they are included in our operational budget. Pride Fund donations support financial aid, faculty and staff development, curriculum enhancements, and they even help us keep on the lights!

Why is there a Gala and an Annual Fund?

For many years, CIS’s financial aid program and operations have been supported by an annual gala. The Gala is a yearly fundraiser that is comprised of several fundraisers, including a formal, black tie event occurring in early February.  These exciting events are wonderful ways for us to include our family and friends, as well as the greater Columbia business community, in our fundraising efforts.   

Should I give if I receive financial aid?

Yes, we ask that all CIS families share in supporting our fundraising programs.  Reaching 100% participation is a declaration of solidarity and shows that as a CIS family, we’re all in this together. 

How much should I donate?

Gifts of all sizes matter. The act of giving is just as important as the gift itself. By giving what you can, you are making a commitment to the mission of CIS. You are claiming CIS as your home too, and celebrating everything this school does for your children. We ask each family to give to the best of their ability. For some that amount is $50; for others it is $50,000.  We appreciate every donation, and are grateful for the support of our school and programs.