Emerson Waldorf School is fortunate to have generous parents, alumni, grandparents, and friends. From the beginning, our history has been full of giving. Our school was started by a group of parents and teachers who donated and loaned their money to first rent space and then to buy land and build. Since then, giving has continued, as parents donated both money and time to build the West Wing, the High School, the Nursery, the Hinoki Outdoor Theater, our school Farm, Sports Fields and, most recently, the new High School building.

The Emerson Fund helps to bridge the gap between tuition and the cost of sending a child to EWS.  Each year, 100% of our Board members donate to The Emerson Fund, as well as most of our parent body, faculty & staff, alumni, grandparents, and EWS friends.  Thank you


Please CLICK HERE for more information and frequently asked questions (FAQs) about giving.

The EWS Tax ID # is 56-1379068

The Emerson Waldorf School is a non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.

Giving FAQs

1. I already pay tuition. Why are you asking for more money?

Our goal is to keep tuition as low as possible and have a diverse student body from a wide range of income levels. Every school year, to sustain The Emerson Fund, we ask those families who have the ability to pay more for their children’s education to do so, and for those who can to give a little to do so as well in order to reach our goal of 100% community participation.

2. What if I don’t like asking for money?

Every year, we have two goals for The Emerson Fund: first, to raise $80,000 to meet the year’s financial obligations and strengthen our programs and, second, to have every family and employee contribute. When we reach outside the community to ask for grants and loans, one of the first questions we are asked is, “How strongly does your community support the school?” There are many ways to give but the clearest way to measure this support is through financial contribution. We don’t necessarily like pressuring parents or spending evenings at fundraising meetings and phone-a-thons but we do it because we love our school.

3. Can I pay online or with a credit card? Can I pay over time? Can I donate stock? Can my employer match my gift?

Yes! For details, call Deb Feinberg on x117.

5. I volunteer, do I still have to give to The Emerson Fund?

Yes! While volunteering is the backbone of every community, financial need still exists. Volunteers of limited financial means are encouraged to shift some of their volunteer hours to fundraising through their networks and by using the Peer-to-Peer tools under the "Fundraise for Us" tab on the Giving page.



October 12, 2017

Dear Friends,

There is so much strife in our world today - terrorism, attacks on human rights, climate change, disease and famine, to name just a few - that it’s hard to decide which cause to take up first. Add the staggering number of dedicated, worthwhile charities, and we can feel overwhelmed, frustrated and saddened by our uncertainty about where to offer our financial support to bring about the change we so deeply want.

So how do we choose the best way to help?

I believe the change we yearn for can come from right here in Chapel Hill, from students educated to become independent, analytical thinkers and creative, resilient problem solvers. Change comes from an education that instills a passion for social justice, the skills necessary to synthesize difficult, often conflicting ideas, and the will to undertake the necessary work to shape an uncertain future.

Change comes from a child educated in a Waldorf school.

In a minute, I’m going to tell you about the best way you can support Emerson Waldorf School and help our students reach for the stars, but first, I want to share a story.

As a parent, few things are worse than watching your child get hurt. Thankfully, most accidents are minor and, after they recover, our kids seem to be stronger in mind, body and spirit. But, at that moment, you hold your breath and pray for the best.

That’s surely what Jill Austin did as she watched her toddler, Ben, tumble into a nest of bees. Ben was always curious about the insects in his father’s hives, mesmerized by their speed and business. Ben loved watching the bees’ furry black and yellow bodies, swirling like a brilliant meteor shower in the night sky. 

Upon rescuing Ben from the spinning mass, Jill tended to 35 stings. After tears and ice packs, Ben was back to being his usual, inquisitive self.

As he grew up, the bumps and bruises acquired along his journey strengthened the exploratory nature of his intellect. Different stars began to twinkle in his universe. With her PhD in Folklore, Jill engaged him in historical recreations and performances like the Nauvoo Pageant in Illinois. Father Colin’s work in elder law and estate planning instilled a deep interest in how things work and their order. 

Ben moved through public school, exploring everything from chemistry to rugby. But by the eighth grade, increasing social pressures and boredom with the middle school’s curriculum convinced Ben that he wanted a different experience for high school. Three months before his 14th birthday, Ben enrolled at Emerson Waldorf School.

Suddenly, galaxies of possibility opened to him. Coppersmithing, embryology, history through art and botany inspired him. He appreciated the smaller class size and close community, feeling that the constellation of students and faculty were making an indelible impression. 

Ben’s experience broadened. He volunteered at El Centro Hispano in Carrboro, where he tutored middle schoolers in reading; hosted a German exchange student who became like a brother; and travelled to Switzerland for an exchange himself. 

During that European trip, he ventured to Florence and saw in person a masterpiece he’d only known through photos in Ms. Guinan’s History through Art class: Michelangelo’s David. Looking up at the statue, he felt like he was reading the lost diary of one of the most complex figures in the history of western art.

With each new experience, Ben’s capacities grew. He gazed at the “stars” around him: His parents, teachers and classmates. Then, a bright spark inspired him to challenge himself further. Block teacher Strouse Campbell took Ben’s eleventh grade class on a field trip to Spikenard Farm, a Honeybee Sanctuary in rural Floyd, Virginia.

At Spikenard, Ben’s past met his future. Bees. Millions of them, happily buzzing through fields thick with sweetly-scented, multicolored flowers. The biodynamic Sanctuary is a haven for honeybees during the crisis of colony collapse. Spikenard takes care of the bees while serving the needs of nature-deprived humans, too. These issues are as inseparable as bees and flowers, and the honeybee crisis could not be addressed without also meeting the needs of their caretakers.

The diversity of the blossoms was staggering. Just as all the stunning colors melded into a single, gorgeous tapestry, the disciplines of Ben’s Waldorf education wove together to form a cohesive whole. Quickly, he understood what he was experiencing: The interplay of all his studies. He saw the sciences--botany, biology and zoology--mingling with mathematics, art, history and the social sciences. 

The picture was clear: Without these crucial pollinators, humankind eventually would starve to death. In that moment, Ben knew that this delicate relationship among the bees, plants and humans would be the focus of his Senior Project, the culmination of his rigorous high school studies.

Dear friends, you are our pollinators. Your generosity and support keep Emerson Waldorf School alive and enable students like Ben Austin to become engaged and poised to do something truly wonderful and amazing in the world—in short, to bring about the changes that our world so desperately needs.

This fall, Emerson is celebrating its 33rd birthday. We’re a relatively young school, considering that the Waldorf movement will be 100 in 2018. (By coincidence, one of the major projects being promoted around the world to celebrate this centennial is the establishment of bee hives at all Waldorf schools!)

With your support, Emerson can continue to educate children who will grow to change the world. Would you please make what you consider a significant gift to the Emerson Fund? Our goal is to raise $80,000 by December 31. We can be successful if we, as a community, link our stars together to form a shimmering vision of generosity and abundance. An intentional galaxy of hope in the face of fear, uncertainty and doubt.

To learn more about Emerson’s achievements over the past year, please read our new Annual Report, available online here.

Jill Austin recalls that, when Ben was little, he’d often say he would grow up to be President of the United States. With your help, maybe he will.

Thank you for your consideration and support.

In community,

Mark Hulbert

Chair, Board of Directors

Emerson Waldorf School