Browse Issues

There are no issues to display

Browse Categories

Many Hands Make Light Work

Many Hands Make Light Work

After gathering for their 50th reunion, members of the Class of 1971 banded together to create an endowed gift that would impact students for the next 50 years and beyond.

When the Class of 1971’s official 50th reunion was upended by the COVID-19 pandemic, it didn’t stop classmates from holding a gathering in the summer of 2021. And what resulted from their efforts to stay in touch will impact students for years to come.

“It was a really fun reunion and I think we came away feeling grateful about our experiences as USM students,” said Fred Geilfuss ’71. He, along with classmates Chess Barbatelli Jr. ’71 and Stuart Lindsay ’71, among others, were inspired to do something for  their alma mater and to impact future students. Thanks to his many years volunteering on both the USM Board of Trustees and USM Endowment Board, Geilfuss thought an endowed fund could be the perfect solution.

The USM Class of 1971 celebrates their 50th reunion.

Class of 1971 50th Reunion

With endowed funds, only a small, set percentage of the principal is spent each year so the fund lives on in perpetuity. That’s one reason why members of the Class of 1971 wanted to make sure their contribution was endowed. Another reason was because they knew that they, and others, could contribute to the fund over time, including making memorial gifts for classmates, thus growing its principal and its ultimate impact on students.

“It was important to all of us that the gift be somewhat permanent,” he said. “And I knew if we could collectively raise $50,000 we could start an endowed fund named for the Class of 1971.” Once Geilfuss, Barbatelli, and Lindsay started making phone calls to their classmates, it didn’t take long for others to get on board.

Members of the Class of 1971 chose to establish the fund in support of student scholarships and also outdoor education initiatives. “Establishing this fund was an opportunity for us to look back on our time and honor our class on a permanent basis,” said Geilfuss. “It’s a wonderful way to commemorate our good memories and friendships, our great teachers, and our feelings about the school while helping current students at the same time. Our  hope is that other classes will follow in our footsteps.”

“Establishing this fund was an opportunity for us to honor our class on a permanent basis.”
Fred Geilfuss '71

How USM Endowment Gifts Can Grow

Donors Make an Initial Gift of $50,000

$50,000 is the minimum amount needed to establish a named, endowed fund, but a gift of any size will support the general endowment and the school's ongoing priorities.

The gift yields $2,500* annually

*In keeping with the school's long-standing USM Endowment Fund policy, 5% of the average value of the fund, from the trailing eight quarters, is distributed to the fund's designated program.

Compounding growth

of the Endowment Fund provides the donors a lasting legacy far beyond their expectations, and creates meaningful support that reflects the donor's interests while advancing the priorities of University School of Milwaukee.

Like all independent schools, USM's tuition and fees cover only a portion of the total cost of educating our students. USM's operating expenses are supported in part by the school's Endowment, which insulates the school—and school families—from expenses both planned and unplanned. The value of USM's Endowment reached an incredible $100 million in 2021, thanks to the generous support of our donors, and puts USM in very healthy financial standing. "USM is a school that, pridefully, has a significant endowment and no debt," said Fred Geilfuss '71, a USM Endowment Board member. "Our tuition is lower than comparable schools in the Midwest, and that's in large part because of our great endowment." 

Learn more at

  • Alumni