$500,000 Pledge Encourages Leadership Giving

Cathy Bessant sees opportunity in this campaign. As a long-time Providence Day parent and national chair of the CHARGING forward initiative, she understands both what this campaign can accomplish and what it signifies.

“I think what the campaign does is help ensure that the physical environment is as supportive and nurturing and accommodating as the cultural environment,” explains Bessant.

She also relishes the idea that the emotional and intellectual connections made at the school can be translated into a sense of place. To her, it’s that sense of place that can bind a family together, and generate feelings of pride, confidence and forward-looking optimism.

“State of the art facilities matching a state of the art mentality. I just love all of that.”

With her family’s $500,000 leadership gift to the campaign, Bessant and her husband John wanted to help set the tone for others to consider their level of giving.

“This is a really important time for people to contemplate stepping up and to actually make commitments because others will judge the momentum, and the unification, and the galvanization of all of this by what comes out of the quiet phase.”

It’s these early commitments – coupled with her energy and drive – that Bessant intends to use to create buy-in, engagement and ownership around the campaign. The goal for the quiet phase of the campaign is $12 million. Once that target is met, broader campaign activities get underway, providing more opportunities for greater school community involvement. Bessant welcomes that transition, realizing that participation across all stakeholders — faculty, administration, parents, alumni, grandparents, and the extended PD family — is key to the success of the campaign.

“People will look to leaders in the school community for their affirmation that this is a great set of ideas. And we know it is. We just need to make sure that the support is tangible, and it’s visible, and that it ignites enthusiasm once we’re in a more public stage.” That’s why leadership gifts early in the campaign are critically important.

“I think a real lasting legacy that this campaign should provide is really deeply instilling a culture of giving, and that culture of ensuring that the next generation and the generation after that benefit from all of the incredible things that Providence Day has to offer,” said Bessant.

The CHARGING forward campaign — with its comprehensive approach to doubling the school’s endowment and growing the Annual Fund – will leave an indelible mark on the campus, and secure the future of Providence Day School.


– Cathy Bessant and John Clay are the proud parents of Meredith ’14 and Hayden ’18