Success story: Fifty by Fifty

On April 16, 2021, Aspen Country Day School celebrated a “moonshot” – successful completion of an ambitious and transformative campaign to raise $50 million by the school’s 50th anniversary year.

Work towards the “Fifty by Fifty” objective began in 2007, when the school faced an existential crisis: a major redevelopment of the Castle Creek campus was long overdue. Neither the Aspen Music Festival and School, which owned the property, nor Aspen Country Day School, which had leased it since 1970, could continue without major renovations. As a tenant, ACDS’s future was uncertain.

The Board of Trustees launched a capital campaign initiative to ensure that ACDS would remain a “forever school.” An initial lead gift of $3 million in 2007 inspired a first phase of fundraising to ensure that the school would have a permanent home. Upon negotiation of a long-term partnership with the Aspen Music Festival & School in 2012, Aspen Country Day School’s future on the Castle Creek campus was finally secure. In a creative, complex, and collaborative agreement, each school contributed to the redevelopment costs, and each now owns 50% of the facilities.

Groundbreaking for the first phase of construction began in 2012, when students and teachers moved to the Aspen Meadows for a “school year abroad.” By the time the infrastructure and new classrooms and arts buildings were complete in September of 2014, the school community had raised $24.5 million toward the campus buildout. The campaign’s name referenced not only the campus home we’ve known and loved, but also the school’s personal approach to education, where each child is valued as an individual.

capital campaign logo our children our future

In 2016, with the new campus open and the school thriving, Aspen Country Day School embarked on the final element of the 50 x 50, a campaign called Our Children Our Future. This effort built a powerful endowment and supported special projects and initiatives, including a dedicated endowment for financial aid, the Bill Huffman Fund for Outdoor Education, and a Teacher Wellness Fund.

The school community celebrated the 50th “first day of school” on Tuesday, September 8, 2020, in the midst of the pandemic. In this challenging year, Aspen Country Day School committed to learning in person, on campus, all year. At the same time, the school community rose to meet an additional challenge: completing the $50 million campaign in the 50th anniversary year. Gifts of all sizes made this possible.

Because of all who believed in this school over the 14 years of the Fifty by Fifty Campaign, Aspen Country Day School is stronger, better, and prepared for an even brighter future. Thank you.

Go to the 22:05 mark on this video to watch the announcement of the successful landing: the Fifty by Fifty Campaign at Blue Green Night in April 2021.