Jim and Michelle Croft’s Wellington connection formed before their children were even born. The couple attended Wellington fundraisers as guests of the former chairman of Jim’s company, Bill Roberts, whose children attended the school. “We were really impressed with the kids who went there,” recalls Jim. “When we had kids, it seemed natural to send them to Wellington.”
The Crofts’ three children—Matthew ’17, Mia ’20, and Macy ’22—have benefitted tremendously from their Wellington experiences. Since kindergarten, says Jim, “Our kids have felt very comfortable in the community. Wellington’s progressive education style has helped them become better learners.” And, jokes Jim, “Our kids aren’t elite athletes by any stretch, but they’ve been able to be involved in team sports at Wellington. These are the kind of opportunities they may not have gotten at a big public school where varsity sports are so competitive.”
A standout feature of a Wellington education? Opportunity for travel abroad. Matthew was able to travel to Mexico and Canada, and Mia traveled with classmates to Italy and did an exchange program in France. The Crofts are thrilled that Wellington has now instituted the Wellington International Student Experience (WISE) program, which will give every junior a funded opportunity to travel internationally as part of the curriculum. Macy just completed the sophomore course where the students determine their travel destination and area of study.
The Crofts have seen firsthand how Matthew, now a senior in college, was shaped by his Wellington education. Despite being fairly shy about things like public speaking, he gave a final presentation to his college art history class that his professor complimented extensively. When his mother saw the note of praise from the professor, “It was like a lightbulb went off over my head,” says Michelle. “This was all Wellington—all those experiences you get in a smaller school because you feel safe in a community that encourages you to take risks.”
The Crofts know that without philanthropy to the school, these experiences would not have been possible. “We knew people who donated to previous Wellington campaigns and are impressed by the generosity of the school’s founders. Their gifts benefitted our kids,” says Jim. “Now it’s our turn to step up and help take the school to the next level and maintain it as an institution for future generations.”
I’m proud to be part of bringing a progressive school with unique ways of educating children to the Columbus community. I think we need and deserve it.
The Believing Campaign—which the Crofts are deeply involved in through their leadership giving and volunteerism—is the way they give back. “This is about making sure that students and faculty have the physical environment and technical capabilities that help them be at their best,” says Jim, who serves as treasurer on Wellington’s Board of Trustees. “Financially Wellington is on very solid ground, but we need to raise this money to finish out the campus that’s been on the drawing board for years, to get the school to the level it aspires to.”
Michelle concurs. “I think the benefits of the campaign go beyond the Wellington community. I’m proud to be part of bringing a progressive school with unique ways of educating children to the Columbus community. I think we need and deserve it.”
When it comes to the campaign, it’s important to think long term, Jim emphasizes. “This isn’t about immediate gratification and how this will benefit ‘my kid.’ As board members, parents, and leaders of the school, you’ve got to look long term. You’re planning now for the next 10 to 20 years.”
Do you believe in Wellington? Join the Croft family in making a gift to the Believing campaign today. Learn more at wellington.org/believing.