Matt Micciche: Believing Deeply in What Friends Schools Have to Offer

Head of Friends School of Baltimore Matt Micciche may be originally from “Puritan” Boston but when it came to selecting an organization for a planned gift, he went Quaker. Matt recently joined Friends Council on Education’s planned giving group – the Evergreen Circle of Friends – by designating Friends Council as a beneficiary on his TIAA retirement account.

When asked what motivated him to join the Evergreen Circle of Friends, Matt shares, “It’s a sense of gratitude for the role that Friends Council plays in general, and for my experience in the Leadership Institute specifically, as well as believing deeply in what Friends schools have to offer. Friends Council keeps us – heads and schools -- asking what it means to be a Quaker school and what we are called to do as Quaker schools.”
“If you have spent any amount of time in a Friends school you know how important, and how hard, it is to maintain the qualities of a Quaker institution when so many of our students, faculty and staff are not Quakers. Friends Council on Education is uniquely equipped to help us accomplish this critical task,” says Matt. “The health of our Quaker schools is directly related to the health of Friends Council.”
Matt’s discovery of Quaker education was what he describes as a “happy accident.” Fresh out of college, he applied for a teaching job at Wilmington Friends School. “I didn’t get that job but I went on to graduate school and was ultimately hired at Wilmington Friends. That was my introduction to Quaker education. I knew right from the get go that I loved the environment. The culture of the school was so palpable and it was just what I was looking for.  At the time, I couldn’t see how clearly its distinctive qualities derived from Quakerism, but over the first few years I came to understand that was the case.”
Today, some 24 years later, Matt is still in Friends education and shares that what resonates most powerfully for him are the two central tenets of Quakerism – the belief that there is that of God in everyone and that the Truth is continually revealed. “When you truly act as if there is that of God in everyone, every child can feel safe and honored and respected, and, because of that, those children will take the kinds of risks that lead to genuine learning and growth,” says Matt. “And, if you - as an individual and an institution - function with the expectation that the Truth is continually revealed, you make room for an ongoing process of questioning and interpretation.  The combination makes for such a rich and stimulating environment, for children and adults.”
Matt’s relationship with Friends Council on Education started when he attended the Educators New to Quakerism (ENTQ) workshop at Pendle Hill in the fall of 1995. “It was a very profound experience for me. I had had enough time at the school to get some sense of the Quaker environment and yet I was still very much in a questioning and seeking mode, about both Quakerism and teaching as a profession.”
The impact of Friends Council’s offerings continued when Matt was accepted to be one of the first participants in the Institute for Engaging Leadership in Friends Schools (IELFS) Program. “That was truly life-changing. The experience of reflecting on leadership in a Quaker context over a period of time was so powerful.  And the cohort residential experience spread over two years with a small group of fellow educators talking about key issues in depth was transformative,” says Matt. “It has stuck with me as I have continued in leadership roles. It helped me enormously as I was considering school headship. It was the best possible preparation for what I was jumping into.”
Today, as a head of a Friends School, Matt highly values the annual heads of school gatherings offered by FCE. “Friends of mine who are heads of Friends schools, we don’t miss that conference...” says Matt. “It’s rejuvenating in a way regular professional development is not. There’s something about being in a setting where you don’t have to explain the unique character of Friends schools. We speak the same language; we share the same values; we know the same joys of being leaders in a Friends school; and we share the unique challenges that go along with that role.  It’s a group you are already in tune with. Friends Council provides a unique forum for me to spend time with that really extraordinary collection of people.”
Designating Friend Council as a beneficiary on his TIAA retirement account(s) was quick and easy, says Matt.  “It really took me all of three minutes. I just went online to the TIAA website and added FCE as the recipient of a percentage of my estate. It was literally a click of a button and it was taken care of. You do not need an estate attorney. Just go to the TIAA web page and add a beneficiary. Do not be deterred!”
When asked what he would say to others about making a planned gift to Friends Council, Matt offers, “This is such an easy way to support an organization that makes a real difference in people’s lives. The opportunity to do something that will ultimately have a significant impact but doesn’t cost me anything in the short-term strikes me as a win-win proposition. You have the chance to let your life speak and let your values guide your decision-making. It just feels so right.  And after all, you can’t take it with you.”

Evergreen Circle of Friends

You can provide for upcoming generations through a planned gift to the Friends Council by:
  • Making a Meaningful Gift
  • Leaving a Lasting Legacy
  • Securing the Future of Friends Education

The Friends Council on Education welcomes gifts of appreciated securities. You may avoid capital gains tax and take a charitable deduction for the full value of the stock.

A bequest is a gift that can be made by almost everyone involving no immediate loss of capital or income. Tax benefits minimize the ultimate cost to one's heirs.

A trust permits you to make a gift to Friends Council during your lifetime while still receiving the income from capital, securities, or other property involved.

Retirement Assets
You may be able to designate the Friends Council on Education as a beneficiary of your IRA or other retirement plan. This can help to reduce income and estate taxes.

Life Insurance
You can make a gift to the Friends Council on Education by taking an existing policy and making Friends Council the beneficiary; or by gifting a policy to Friends Council for its cash value, which qualifies for a charitable deduction.

To discuss these and other giving options, please email Friends Council or call 215-241-7533.

We look forward to talking with you about sustaining the vital work of the Friends Council on Education.

Paul Smith: Supporting Tuition Aid for Quaker Children Nationally

Paul Smith says he owes a lot to Quaker Education. In the late 1940’s Paul attended Haverford College where he met a number of outstanding Quakers: Gilbert White, President of the College; Archibald Macintosh, Vice President; Gilbert Hoag, Dean; Douglas Steere, Chair of the Philosophy Department; and Rufus Jones, retired Chair of the Philosophy Department.  “I absorbed the character of those men,” says Paul, and indeed he absorbed a whole lot more.

Paul’s experience at Haverford College led him to join the Religious Society of Friends by joining Radnor Monthly Meeting, which he calls his “spiritual home.”  Eventually he was asked to be the Treasurer of Haverford Friends School, a Quaker elementary school under the care of Haverford Monthly Meeting.  Paul also served as Acting Principal of this school on two later occasions.

When asked why he has supported Friends Council on Education for so many years, actually thirteen years in a row, Paul says, “Why not?  The strength of Quakerism has a lot to do with their educational institutions. Many students are eventually led to join the Religious Society of Friends because of their Quaker school experience. Friends Council helps maintain and build these Quaker institutions, and that is very important.”

Recently Paul chose to extend his support of Friends Council beyond his yearly Annual Fund gift by joining the Evergreen Circle of Friends, Friends Council’s planned giving circle.  Paul said, “I noticed recently that I had no Quaker bequest in my will, and I wanted to remedy that oversight.” He recently had received a mailing from Friends Council about the tuition aid to help Quaker children attend Friends schools. “I thought that would be an excellent idea.”  Paul is the first Evergreen Circle member to designate his bequest to Friends Council’s endowment for tuition aid.

It was the national impact of the endowment that caught Paul’s attention and inspired him to add FCE to his will in this way.  “We need to encourage more Quaker children nationally to attend Quaker schools,” says Paul.  “I am very impressed with this effort.  It is a very worthy cause.”

Following our Values: Lili Herbert & Tim Sheldon on Planned Giving

Ari & Shauna Betof on Planned Giving

Ellie Elkinton on Giving Back with Gratitude

Kay Edstene on Long-Range Support for Friends Council on Education

Living into the Future: Harry & Melody Hammond on Planned Giving

The Backbone of Support: Mimsey Potts on Planned Giving

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