Named Funds and Designations
All gifts to The Commonwealth Fund enhance the School and our mission. An unrestricted gift will support the School’s most immediate needs and priorities. If you wish to specify a particular use for your contribution, you are welcome to allocate your gift to a named fund or Commonwealth initiative.
Commonwealth has a strong commitment to financial aid and has been dedicated to welcoming as many qualified students as possible since our founding in 1958. 30% of our students receive financial aid each year and the average grant is about $30,000. Your gift to Financial Aid ensures that this commitment can continue.
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.
Chatfield Cultural Scholarships
David Allen '87 remembers vividly his school trip to Italy after the Renaissance history and art history courses he took with Mary P. 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.
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 careers (be they academic or other). This spendable fund is earmarked for a young teacher.
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."
Commonwealth enrolls a few students each year whose middle-school backgrounds have not prepared them sufficiently for our program, but whose talent and determination make them valuable additions to the School. Carefully chosen Commonwealth advisors connect with these students even before they finish eighth grade. Starting with meetings in late August, we work closely one-on-one with them to help them succeed. Our aim is to make the ninth-grade year an exhilarating, welcoming one for some of our most tenacious yet vulnerable students.
The budget for the program supports extra in-house tutoring (in proportion to financial aid), and subsidizes enrollment in the evening Homework Project (see below).
Twice a week we offer a voluntary study hall that runs from 6 to 9 p.m. We serve dinner, after which students undertake an evening of uninterrupted work, proctored by adult and peer tutors. The project helps students manage their assignments and avoid distractions. They also learn to transfer productive work habits and study skills to their own homes and neighborhood libraries. The budget covers dinner and the salary for the tutor/proctors.
Named in honor of the late John Hughes, the first teacher hired at Commonwealth and the master of 9th-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. Gifts to this fund are spent in the year they are made.
Judith Keenan Scholarship Fund
Named after the head of the School from 1990-2000. 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 9th graders now take, broadened our community service program, and reached further into the Boston community for assembly speakers and project mentors. The scholarship honors Mrs. Keenan by supporting a promising student from the city. This is a spendable, not endowed, fund.
This spendable scholarship fund honors Dane Morgan. The sciences (all of them), math, and psychology were his official subjects, kindness and generosity his method of teaching them. His infinite patience and consistent devotion in the classroom was matched by countless hours of tutorials for those kids who "didn't get" the math or the science. 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.
Pier Franco Paci Endowed Scholarship Fund
When Dr. Paci, a renowned Boston pathologist, first entered Commonwealth, the atmosphere seemed familiar. With two of his children enrolled here, he realized how much Commonwealth reminded him, in all the best ways, of the intimate, academically intense and exciting liceo he had attended in Assisi. After his untimely death, his wife, Mary , and her children set up this fund in his name to enable students in future generations to receive the sort of education he so deeply believed in. As an endowed fund, only the interest is spent.