The Commonwealth Fund


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The Commonwealth Fund provides essential support for the School. Each year, tuition covers 78% of the School’s annual operating budget; earnings from our endowment contribute 10%; and the remaining 12% comes from generous donations to The Commonwealth Fund. We rely on our community of parents, alumni/ae, grandparents and friends to make a Commonwealth education possible for our students each year.

Commonwealth Fund Priorities: Options for Gift Designation

Unrestricted gifts to The Commonwealth Fund will be used where the immediate need is greatest. We encourage you to consider making your gift unrestricted as it ensures your donation will have an immediate impact.

Financial Aid & Student Support
It is the School’s fundamental commitment that any opportunity available to one student be afforded to all. Commonwealth’s financial aid program makes this possible. Thirty percent of our current families receive some form of financial aid or support. You may choose to allocate your gift to support financial aid generally or direct it to one of the named funds below.

Named Funds and Scholarships for Student Support

Mary P. Chatfield Cultural Scholarship
David Allen '87 remembers vividly his school trip to Italy after the Renaissance history and art history courses he took with Mary (Polly) Chatfield. It opened his eyes and heart to new art, new cultures, new ways of life. In short, it changed his life. In honor of his teacher, Allen established the Mary P. Chatfield Cultural Scholarship Fund to help open such horizons to future generations of students. The scholarship underwrites travel for Project Week, Senior Projects, summer projects, and our exchanges with schools in Spain and France.

Mary P. Chatfield Scholarship Fund
Donations to this fund supplement the income from the endowed fund that supports the Mary P. Chatfield Scholar. A beloved advisor and teacher for more than thirty years, Polly Chatfield taught Latin, ancient history, art history, and English, and developed a Renaissance history course for 10th graders that continued the rigorous attention to close reading and writing her students had encountered in 9th- grade English. After her first retirement, Mrs. Chatfield returned to Commonwealth in 1994 as Chair of the Board of Trustees, a position she filled with extraordinary devotion and industry. In 2002, she retired definitively to Cambridge and Maine with her husband, former Headmaster Charles Chatfield.

Ellen Cole Scholarship Fund
This spendable scholarship fund honors Ellen Cole, whose keen intelligence and compassion marked the School forever. For more than three decades, her unparalleled capabilities as teacher, administrator, editor, writer, advisor, friend, and trouble shooter for students and colleagues alike percolated through every aspect of life at Commonwealth. A long-time colleague remembers: "Her feel for what a school could offer to help shape educated, civilized young people--regardless of their past experience--was second to none."

Homework Project
Homework Project is a twice weekly evening study hall for current students. Proctored by adult and peer tutors, Homework Project offers a quiet, dedicated space for students to do their work. The program helps students to manage their assignments and avoid distractions. Productive work habits and study skills developed during Homework Project serve students well in their own homes, neighborhood libraries, and in college and beyond. Gifts designated to Homework Project help to cover the cost of dinner for students and compensation for proctors and tutors.

Judith Keenan Scholarship Fund
Judith Keenan served as Head of School from 1990 to 2000. One of her first concerns was to find ways to incorporate the uniqueness of Boston into our curriculum. She sought grants to initiate the City of Boston course that all ninth graders now take, broadened our community service program, and reached further into the Boston community for assembly speakers and project mentors. This scholarship honors Mrs. Keenan by supporting a promising student from the city.

Dane Morgan Scholarship Fund
Dane Morgan taught at Commonwealth for many years and retired in the mid 1990s. The sciences (all of them), math, and psychology were his official subjects; kindness and generosity his method of teaching. His infinite patience and consistent devotion in the classroom were matched by countless hours of tutorials for those who needed additional support. Mr. Morgan's students all learned the material, but perhaps more importantly, he taught them how to learn it and how to have confidence in themselves.

Faculty Development & Enrichment
Commonwealth has a deep commitment to investing in and supporting our dedicated faculty and staff. Our teachers have a passion for their subjects and for inspiring exploration and discovery in their students. A gift designated for Faculty Development and Enrichment will allow the School to continue to attract and retain such talented individuals.

You may choose to allocate your gift to Faculty Development and Enrichment or direct it to one of the named funds below.

Named Funds for Faculty Development & Enrichment

Chatfield Fellowship Fund
Both Charles and Polly Chatfield recognized the importance of recruiting young teachers for our faculty and mentoring them as they learned to develop the skills that would serve them in their lifetime pursuits (be they academic or other). This fund is earmarked to support a young teacher.

John Hughes Fund for Faculty Development
This fund is named in honor of the late John Hughes, the first teacher hired at Commonwealth and the master of ninth grade English. The way he conceived of his classes—characterized by close reading, rigorous writing, and love for the texts—has formed generations of Commonwealth students. The Hughes Fund supports our teachers by paying for courses they take, their summer initiatives, conferences they attend, and materials they require. 

Faculty and Staff Appreciation Fund
Our generous Parents Committee hosts a Faculty and Staff Appreciation Luncheon each year to honor our dedicated teachers and staff members. This fun themed luncheon features a delicious potluck meal prepared by parent volunteers and festive decor, allowing faculty and staff to enjoy a relaxing break during a week of grading meetings. Gifts to this fund primarily support this luncheon in addition to other professional development and enrichment.