The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

Marlborough School Student Newspaper
The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

The Student News Site of Marlborough School

The UltraViolet

Lizze Small Contributing Illustrator
How to help our Earth
April 12, 2024

A tale of two Marlboroughs

Exploring equity in the Marlborough Fund and its first all donor event

Courtesy of Marlborough Fund

Over winter break, the Marlborough Fund sent out a single Save the Date postcard for their two parent donor events in April. One event, for all parent donors, was advertised as a cocktail hour on campus. The other, for donors of $25,000 or more, was advertised as a dinner hosted at a family’s house with “craft cocktails, imaginative entertainment, good food, and great company.” 

Within the UltraViolet staff, this postcard ignited an initial feeling of discomfort. It felt unfair that there were two separate events, and more so to advertise them on the same postcard when the economic disparity between the two events was so blatant. How can Marlborough, a school that has made its mission, “Equity Leads Education,” so flagrantly endorse stratification between parents based on socioeconomic status?

However, when taken in its full context, this narrative becomes more complicated. This is the first year that Marlborough is hosting an event for all parent donors. In past years, the school only hosted events for “leadership donors,” donors who gave large amounts of money. As a private institution, Marlborough will always rely on donations. There is no way for students to enjoy the school’s academic excellence and abundant opportunities without them since a large part of the school’s budget is made up of donations. This means that having people in the community who can afford full tuition and/or make large donations benefits the entire community, furthering students’ access to resources and opportunities at Marlborough.

Given the immense importance of donations, the UltraViolet poses the uncomfortable question: How can Marlborough be equitable when it’s a private institution and therefore inequitable by nature? 

As a start, we can begin by acknowledging the amount of wealth within the Marlborough community and being more transparent about how important fundraising is to the school, in both its endeavors towards equity and its overall functioning. 

Take, for example, the Save the Date postcard for parent donors to the Marlborough Fund. The Marlborough Fund, in part, subsidizes financial aid. One out of 5 students at Marlborough receive financial aid, and Marlborough commits to covering all costs of a student’s experience at school by carrying the percentage of tuition covered by financial aid over to extracurricular expenses such as school events, supplies, technology and class rings. This, we believe, is one of the truest steps towards equity Marlborough can take.

We don’t pretend to have the final answer on the issue of socioeconomic status and donations in private institutions. However, we ask that you keep this question of equity in mind while enjoying the benefits of the Marlborough community we all love.

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