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Nature Class

The DGS Annual Fund

Our leadership has long strived to keep tuition low so that the unique and outstanding DGS experience may be available to a wide range of families. However, to do this, we must rely on the dedication, effort, and generosity of our small community to support and cultivate the school. Each family is asked to contribute to the DGS Annual Fund

Why The Annual Fund?

While tuition is calculated to cover the “shoestring budget” to operate the school, this doesn’t leave anything extra to cover unexpected loss, unplanned expenses, and capital growth. Years ago, we contemplated requiring families to purchase Tuition Insurance like most other private schools. However, we decided we could do better!

We decided that if all families could contribute what they can beyond tuition, we would hold onto the money in a separate account for times of need; tuition loss and much more. We call this the Annual Fund. The funds contribute to three buckets...

The Buckets


Unexpected Financial Loss

Because we are so small, if a family defaults on tuition, it could significantly impact our operations. The Annual Funds fills this bucket first to ensure the regular operating budget is fully funded and critical line items can be funded such as utilities, materials and teacher salaries.


Unplanned Expenses

Life happens when you least expect it! The Annual Fund can help us pay for unexpected large expenses that do not have a line item in the regular operating budget, such as roof repair, replacing the furnace, or removing dangerous trees. The Annual Fund contributes to this fund second to ensure we are not financially wiped out by a crazy unplanned expense.


Capital Growth

Once all other buckets are full, we can then think about the fun stuff! By saving our pennies and being super frugal, we have been able to fund capital growth. The biggest project was our addition to the building, which took years to save up for. We have also used some of the Annual Fund to build the amphitheater, the geodesic dome, improve the Woodland Cottage, and renovate the Cabin (now used as the Sustainability and Science Cabin). 

This Year's
Bucket "List"

This year, our goal with the Annual Fund is to be able to use funds for both an Unplanned Expense (Bucket 2) and Capital Gains (Bucket 3) at the same time!

The Problem...

Due to a new roundabout that will be put in on the Cornelius side of the train trestle, we will be losing a significant portion of our main Playground area.


In order to re-align Main Street on the Davidson side, NCDOT will be taking part of the DGS front yard through eminent domain. While NCDOT will pay for the property taken, those funds will go to the mortgage lender.

So, now we need to replace and add new play spaces. Fortunately, we have just the plan. The Forest Playground Project!

Forest Road

Problem Solved

The Forest Playground Project

DGS has three beautiful acres, and even though losing some of our most beautiful trees and part of our playground is devastating, we plan to turn this negative into a positive. Our plan is to take the focus of play from the front yard to our beautiful woods in the back, away from the road. This is our Forest Playground Project and falls under Bucket 2 (Unplanned Expense) and Bucket 3 (Capital Growth), as we would love to expand and improve our woodland space anyway. However, the preparation and upgrading of the forest will be costly, which is why we need help from our community. Here's our vision! 

Natural Play

We love our kids to be able to play in nature, as nature intended. There should be natural elements to jump, climb, and places to explore. Plus, plenty of room to relax, enjoy, and connect with our planet. 

This space will have elements for all ages. Opportunities for students to challenge themselves, and to enjoy the space regardless of age.

Mind & Body

Our Forest Playground can help our students strengthen their bodies, develop skills like jumping and climbing, and also provide space to find peace for nurturing their creative minds.

Playing in nature adds yet another opportunity for our students to grow further appreciation of our world and see the value in Sustainability. It's in all things!

What This Could Look Like...

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