The Annual Fund

The annual fund is a catch-all term for general nonprofit fundraising. It helps to cover everyday expenses, while other fundraising efforts, like capital campaigns have specific purposes. For O’Neal, the Annual Fund helps to cover the annual operational expenses not met by tuition dollars.

For twenty-five years when O’Neal had a need for funding that went over and above tuition revenue, administration would ask those who were generous donors for the School to assist with the need. It was not an annual planned fundraising program.

In 1996, Hank Brandt was a teacher in the Upper School and a part time development officer. He thought that the School should have a development office and paved the way for its creation. He hired Mary Ann Salemme to be the annual fund director. From her past work experience and with tremendous support from founding parent and Trustee Ted Taws, she put The O’Neal School Annual Fund into place.

In her first year, she executed a successful and well-received annual fund campaign. She had parent chairs for each division to help in asking their peers to give to the Annual Fund. “I tried to take a personal approach,” says Mary Ann. “It was important that parents and past parents could relate to the stories given showing the success of the Annual Fund.” She also wrote ten grants and received six of them. Not only did Mary Ann create structure for the Annual Fund, with help from a major donor, she also developed the Endowment Fund. Her start to what has been deemed essential in private schools has continued to grow and improve over the years.

Upon Ted Taws’ wishes for an official school publication to be sent to the constituency, especially the alumni, The O’Neal Quarterly was published and then The O’Neal Magazine. In these publications, the annual report and giving lists are included – all for the benefit of the Annual Fund.

O’Neal’s Annual Fund has provided for professional development for teachers, athletics, the arts, technology as well as other beneficial programs.

In 2009, the Annual Fund name was changed to The O’Neal Fund and kept this name for nine years.

There have been many creative programs and promotions to encourage giving to the Annual Fund. It remains an essential part of O’Neal’s ability to offer quality programming unique to the School and in keeping with its mission.

For more information on this school year’s Annual Fund Giving, which is ending June 30th, please visit the Annual Fund Webpage –

Falcons Fly to 50

O’Neal is excited to share its history with readers as it quickly nears its 50th year in educating and cultivating youth in becoming successful, effective contributors to communities large and small. The official celebration starts school year 2021/2022. This weekly blog will focus on different aspects of the School as it grew through the years. With every entry, there is just as much more information to gather than what is already written. Readers who have been a part of the O’Neal community are encouraged to reach out and share their O’Neal memories. It is with great hope that the efforts of many in contributing information and photography can be published into a book for reflection and reference as the School continues to prosper for the next 50 years.

Please send your memoirs and photos to:
The O’Neal School
c/o Kathy Taylor, Director of Communications
P.O. Box 290
Southern Pines, NC 28388

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