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Herb Allen Family Donations Support Private Schools

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Herb Allen Family Donations Support Private Schools

For many people who went to public school, it may be difficult to justify spending upwards of $35,000 a year on tuition for private schools, especially during economically uncertain times. In reality, many elite private schools throughout the country offer facilities and services on par with college campuses—acres of free space, high-tech lab facilities, several dining options, expansive gyms, and rigorous academics, among other features. While the tuition does go towards the upkeep of these standards, it also goes towards providing scholarships to kids who may otherwise be unable to attend such institutions.


Private schools, just like many universities, also rely on endowment funds to cover scholarships. Corporate, as well as private donations help to make this possible. For example, in New York City, the Goldman Sachs Charitable Fund donated millions of dollars to hundreds of private schools throughout the area. Private donations can range from anonymous sums, to the gifting of new buildings. Ethel Strong Allen, the wife of the late Herbert Allen Sr., recently donated one of Monet’s water lily pieces from 1905 titled “Nymphéas” to Hackley School in Tarrytown, New York. Herbert Allen’s son, Herb Allen graduated the school in 1958, and has given back to the school on various occasions. The piece was later sold by Hackley School for $43 million at a Christie’s auction. Among other endeavors, the school hopes to use the new funds to provide scholarships to local Spanish-speaking students in the area, and increase the school’s diversity.


An October 2012 article of the New York Times highlighted the economic and cultural divides of New York City private schools, in large part, because of high tuition. Financial aid is helping to improve minority representation. In the 2011-2012 school year, just under 30 percent of students were classified as minority, while only 21.4 percent of students in New York City private schools were minority ten years ago.


Hackley School has taken proactive measures to promote diversity in the school, even creating official positions for Diversity Coordinators to ensure students receive the most comprehensive education experience possible. Hackley School offers education for students from Kindergarten to twelfth grade, with tuition for the 2013-2014 school year estimated to be from $33,000 to $38,500 depending on the student’s class. Three generations of Allens attended the school, and Herbert Allen Sr. served as a trustee and honorary member of the board for close to 45 years.

Sources: New York Times, Examiner