Why the Annual Fund?

By Ken Liszewski '10


As an alumnus, I personally benefited from gifts made to the Blue Doors Annual Fund because of the scholarships and financial aid I received to help make it possible for me to attend Canisius. I am sure many of you reading this have also personally benefited from the annual fund or know someone who has.

It is important for all of us in the Canisius community to know and understand just how important the Blue Doors Annual fund is to the school. Annual giving is the lifeblood of Canisius High School, providing the financial footing that makes Canisius the extraordinary place of education, athletics, art, and innovation it is today.

Look around the campus at the new buildings, the upgrades to classrooms, and most importantly the students walking the halls; all of this is made possible because of gifts made to the annual fund.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the concept of an annual fund, let me explain.

The Blue Doors Annual Fund is Canisius High School’s yearly appeal for unrestricted donations to help support the current year operations. Every penny goes into supporting the mission of the school, whether it is for hiring and retaining the most qualified and dedicated faculty and providing them with professional development opportunities; or ensuring state-of the-art technology, educational strategies and materials; or funding a full complement of enrichment and athletic programs.

One of the most important parts of the Blue Doors Annual Fund is that it provides the critical revenue needed to afford any qualified student, regardless of his financial situation, access to a Canisius Jesuit education. Specifically, funds help underwrite the nearly $2,300 difference between the cost of educating each student and the tuition charged.

You may ask yourself why not just raise tuition to cover the difference instead of asking for donations?

If tuition were raised, many families could not afford to send their son to Canisius. The result would be a drop-in enrollment, higher tuition costs, and cut-backs in the educational program. For these reasons, nearly all private schools engage in fund-raising activities to close the gap between tuition and operating costs.

Over the course of Canisius’ history, the annual engagement and support of the Canisius community—alumni, students, parents, and friends—have strengthened the school and fostered our greatest advancements. Over the last ten years, the Blue Doors Annual Fund year-end total has increased 62%. This past year the annual fund raised over one million dollars, which is a testimony of our generous Canisius community.

Now that you know a little bit about what an annual fund is and where the money goes, you may be asking yourself why should I donate?

Why participate? Because Canisius provides the academic, artistic, athletic and spiritual experiences that prepare students to be the future leaders and changemakers in their careers and in their communities. A contribution to the Blue Doors Annual Fund is an investment in the graduates who will shape the future, whether they become teachers, business leaders, public servants, artists, scientists, doctors, entrepreneurs, or pursue any of a number of other careers.

All constituencies of the school engage in annual giving: faculty and staff, trustees, current and past parents, grandparents, alumni, corporations, foundations and friends.

Canisius Day of Caring is one example of our community coming together to raise money for the annual fund. In 2020 we raised more than $100,000 from 350+ donors in 24 hours!

Ok. Now that you know the what and why, here is the how.

Maybe you played a sport during your time at Canisius, or you were a cast or crew member in one of the school plays, or had a favorite subject and teacher that helped you become incredibly passionate about a specific subject area. We provide donors with the flexibility to designate their gifts to specific areas. The choice is yours when it comes to where you’d like your gift to be designated.

Annual Fund gifts may be designated to:

  • Greatest need
  • Current year scholarships
  • A specific academic or co-curricular program.

Gifts to the annual fund can be made directly online at canisiushigh.org/giving, or call me directly at 716.200.0267. You can email me at liszewski@canisiushigh.org. We can also send you a paper pledge form and return envelope if you do not wish to give online.

If you have any specific questions or comments regarding the Blue Doors Annual Fund please reach out to me. It is a good time to be a Crusader, and I look forward to another record-breaking annual fund this year!



Ken Liszewski ’10
Director of Annual Giving

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