Skip To Main Content

A Million Dollars, One Reason

A Million Dollars, One Reason
Brett Harkey, Director of Advancement

Approximately a year ago, the parent-led Board of Directors for Liberty Common School passed a formal resolution to open a second elementary campus in southwest Fort Collins. This decision initiated a frenzy of hiring teachers and staff, purchasing curriculum and supplies, and enrolling new families. Truckloads of well-loved furniture were purchased from an elementary school that was closing.

This new elementary campus, our Aristotle campus, welcomed new families into the Liberty community in August. Opening a brand-new school is never easy, but these young scholars, grades k–4, have thrived these many months as they have experienced well-honed, sequenced, knowledge-based educational delivery.

Opening a brand-new school is an expensive endeavor. Well before the doors were opened, we began securing start-up funds from several sources to make this vision a reality. One source of funding came from our partners at The Daniels Fund. This foundation, founded by cable pioneer Bill Daniels, has been a generous supporter of Liberty Common School for many years. When it learned we were creating seats for more children to receive a Liberty education, it was eager to participate. The Daniels Fund’s generous grant of $400,000 had a tremendous impact on our ability to open the doors of the Aristotle campus while maintaining our excellent educational standards.

Another funding source was sought from the Colorado Department of Education in the form of the Colorado Charter Schools Program (CCSP) grant. The CCSP grant is funded by the federal government with the express purpose of expanding opportunities for students to attend high-performing public-charter schools. This grant helps fund the creation of new schools as well as the replication or expansion of existing high-performing charter schools. This 2–3-year grant is complex and detailed in both the application and implementation. Our application process began in the summer of 2022, and just last week we received our grant-award letter—official notice we are recipients of a two-year CCSP award.

At Liberty Common School, CCSP grant funds will be used to purchase curriculum and supplies, new furniture, technology equipment, a bus, and more. Our first-year award is $378,000 (22-23). In year two, we will receive $462,000.

The Daniels Fund and CCSP are only two examples of funds raised this year. We have also received a state grant in support of school-security efforts, a grant from OtterBox in support of our engineering department, countless donations in support of our various clubs and sports teams, and significant private donations given toward the launch of our capital campaign, Raise the Torch. So far this year, we have received total funds in excess of $1.1 million. This a significant milestone—the first year we’ve ever raised over a million dollars!

The endeavor to raise millions for our students is both worthwhile and critical. The hard work to secure these funds is done for one reason—to ensure all of our students receive the best education possible. This is why we exist.