Frequently Asked Questions

Please click on each question to see the answer. For a complete overview of all Annual Fund projects by campus, please visit the Annual Fund page.

What is the Annual Fund?

As ZIS’s yearly appeal to all members of the ZIS community, the Annual Fund supports strategic projects on each campus that enhance educational excellence for current students. Like other international schools, ZIS relies on support beyond tuition to continue to provide challenging and innovative academic programs, utilize the newest technology to enhance teaching and learning, and offer a wide variety of extra-curricular opportunities. The Annual Fund supports projects across all four campuses.

What are the projects the Annual Fund is supporting at my campus(es)?

For a complete overview of all Annual Fund projects by campus, please visit the Annual Fund page.

Why does ZIS need money in addition to its tuition and fees?

ZIS is a non-profit organization and school fees cover the cost of staffing, facilities, and buying most supplies. To keep tuition as low as possible and continue to offer our students special enhancements to their educational experience, ZIS relies on additional income sources other than tuition, such as donations to the Annual Fund. For more information about why ZIS carries out fundraising, please read the annual fundraising letter from ZIS Director Jeff Paulson.

Why doesn't ZIS just raise the tuition instead of fundraising?

Raising tuition to the level necessary to cover all of the costs of a ZIS education would limit the number of qualified students (both corporate pay and private pay) who could afford to attend. It is important that ZIS remains affordable to all of its constituents, and the school therefore tries to keep fees as low as possible. Annual Fund donations of all sizes make a difference by creating a truly remarkable educational experience above and beyond tuition. ZIS families are encouraged to support Annual Fund projects at a level that is appropriate for them.

What is the school's financial position?

The school's annual operating expenses for the 2015/16 school year (most recently printed financial information) are CHF 47.9 million, of which approximately 70% is compensation for personnel and 12% is expenses for educational materials, student life and student support. Remaining expenses make up logistical expenses (facility maintenance, rental), depreciation and financial expenses, and administration and marketing.

Does ZIS receive support from other sources?

ZIS does not receive any operational support from governmental or other sources. ZIS did receive financial support at favorable terms from the city and canton of Zurich for the construction of the Upper School in Adliswil which opened in 2008.

Can I get tax benefits from my donation?

Yes. ZIS is a registered charity and donations made to ZIS are tax deductible for Swiss taxpayers. Donors to ZIS will receive appropriate tax receipts for their tax returns. For US taxpayers, the Zurich International School Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)3 organization that supports ZIS. Dollar donations to the foundation are tax deductible for US taxpayers.

Does ZIS accept matched gifts from corporations?

Many US companies match employee donations to ZIS’s qualified associated US 501(c)(3) foundation. If you would like assistance in determining whether your company has a matching gift policy, please contact Jennifer Wyss

How can we donate?

Donors may support ZIS by making a Swiss franc donation (e-banking, cash, wire transfer, payment slip), paying by credit card, or making a US dollar donation via the Zurich International School Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 organization that supports ZIS. All Swiss franc and US dollar donations are tax-deductible. For more information and to donate, please visit the Giving Online page.

How much should we donate?

Donations of every size are important and help us realize our goal of high participation which in turn demonstrates to corporations and foundations that people inside the school support its fundraising efforts. Donors are encouraged to donate at a level appropriate for them. Each donation is important, appreciated and encourages others to donate.

When is the best time to donate to the Annual Fund?

Support of the Annual Fund is welcome at any time; however, donating early in the academic year allows students to benefit from your generosity for the entire academic year. Furthermore, a strong Annual Fund early in the fiscal year is crucial as it provides a gauge by which to plan for the end of the year.

Why is the focus on greater participation?

Community-wide participation is important for several reasons. It sends an important message to external entities (government, corporations, foundations, etc.) that our community values and supports ZIS. This is critical for showing the importance and need for international schools and pursuing financial support from these entities in the future. In addition, ZIS is a school that values community involvement. Our success depends on having engaged parents. One of the ways parents can show their involvement is by supporting the Annual Fund. Lastly, each donation is important, appreciated, and encourages others to donate.

I receive more than one Annual Fund letter each year. Why?

Families who make a donation before the February break receive only one appeal. The follow-up appeal letter is sent as a reminder to those who have not made a donation by that time.

I've donated in the past, why should I support this year's Annual Fund?

Donations to the Annual Fund support strategic priorities in the current fiscal year, so we ask our community to renew this support each year. Current and future students benefit from this annual support.

Our family won't be here next year. Why should I donate?

Annual Fund donations are put to use immediately to enhance programs in the current academic year. Furthermore, many ZIS parents recognize that their children are benefiting from the generosity of families who donated in the past. The Annual Fund provides them with the opportunity to keep this cycle going.

I volunteer with the Parents' Association. Why should I also support the AF?

There are many ways to support ZIS, and participating in the Parents' Association allows parents to donate their most valuable assets – time and expertise – to benefit our school and our students. Donating to the Annual Fund is another way for our parents to make a difference for each ZIS student.

We already give to other charities that need the money more.

Our community is very generous, and many of our parents are committed to causes that are extremely deserving of support. We hope that our families also make their children’s school a high philanthropic priority. Donations to the ZIS Annual Fund benefit your own children as well as those who will follow them through our doors in years to come.

Where can I find more information?

Please visit us at or contact Jennifer Wyss, Head of Development, at 058 750 25 43 or Past Annual Reports are also available online.

What is an endowment?

A school's endowment is its savings account. A large, well-invested endowment provides a school with another source of income other than tuition, thus providing financial stability. ZIS has just started a fledgling endowment based on an alumni contribution.