Dewey Benefield was born in Decatur, Georgia, in 1931. He attended the University of Georgia (UGA), where he earned an undergraduate degree in journalism and a law degree. While in Athens, he was a sports correspondent for the Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Constitution. During this time, Mr. Benefield had a part-time job in the UGA Athletic Department, where he was a protégé of Dan Magill, UGA’s legendary Sports Information Director. Mr. Benefield served as a lawyer in the Air Force before attending the Atlanta Business College in preparation for a short career with Arthur Anderson in Atlanta.
In 1958, Mr. Benefield accepted a position with the Sea Island Company, where he served as the executive assistant to the president of the company and also worked closely with the company’s owners, Bill Jones, Sr. and Bill Jones, Jr. Until his retirement from Sea Island, Mr. Benefield held positions of increased responsibility, most notably in helping develop and activate a comprehensive master plan for the company’s real estate portfolio.
Mr. Benefield and his late wife, Tiggie, hosted a group of friends at their home for a series of meetings in 1969 to discuss the need for a college preparatory school in the Golden Isles. On August 31, 1970, their children, Jim Benefield ’81 and Helen Benefield Billings ’83, were the first two students to enroll and attend Frederica Academy in the old abandoned hospital in downtown Brunswick. He led the effort to move Frederica Academy to its current location in the mid 1970s. All four of his grandchildren graduated from Frederica Academy, with Catherine, his youngest, graduating in 2020. Mr. Benefield remains a civic and community servant leader icon within the Golden Isles and a valuable advisor and benefactor to Frederica Academy.
The Annual Fund is the primary fundraising program designed to close the gap between tuition revenue and what it costs to operate the school. Frederica Academy, like other National Association of Independent School (NAIS) schools, only charges about 70-80% of what it actually costs to operate the school. Donors who make leadership gifts ($1,000 and above) to the Annual Fund qualify for the Dewey and Tiggie Benefield Society, named in honor of Frederica Academy’s leading co-founders. While every gift to the Annual Fund is important, gifts at the Benefield Society level provide transformational opportunities. During the 2019-2020 Annual Fund campaign, 97% of the revenue came from Benefield Society donors.
Through the Annual Fund, Frederica Academy is able to provide the differentiators that are the very reason parents and other stakeholders support the school in the first place. Meeting and exceeding each year’s stated fundraising goal helps ensure that Frederica: maintains low student-teacher ratios; offers a portfolio of 14 AP courses: provides a foreign language curriculum spanning pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade; allows students to pursue and participate in any artistic or athletic passion; implements health and wellness safeguards during the COVID pandemic; and offers countless other hallmarks of the Frederica experience.
Donor support ultimately helps to keep tuition as low as possible for all FA families. By making a gift to the Annual Fund, parents receive a tax-deductible benefit for at least part of their investment in their child’s education.
Tuition revenue basically covers salaries and benefits for faculty and staff each year. A school’s Annual Fund is the primary source of revenue for covering all of the other school expenses each year. Since independent schools do not receive government funding, all curricular and extracurricular programs are provided through fundraising and auxiliary income. The signature fundraising program for almost all NAIS schools, especially this year when in-person events have so many restrictions, is an Annual Fund campaign.
- What does reaching the Annual Fund goal provide?
- What does exceeding the Annual Fund goal do?
- Annual Fund Donor + Gift Information
- Faculty professional development opportunities for growth and learning, which benefit teachers and students as well.
- A rich portfolio of sought-after AP courses totaling 14 for the 2020-2021 school year and 13 Honors courses for Upper School students, which further enhance Frederica’s college preparatory curriculum.
- A premier college counseling program that has proven results. Over the last three years, 122 students have graduated from Frederica Academy, earning 297 college acceptances and $8,839,519 in scholarships awarded (excluding the HOPE Scholarship). 100% college acceptance rate for 100% of seniors.
- A foreign language program that offers Spanish in grades pre-kindergarten through twelfth, where students gain early, consistent, and advanced exposure. Latin complements the foreign language portfolio beginning in Ninth Grade.
- A commitment to small class sizes and low student-teacher ratios, reflecting FA’s commitment to student-centered, individualized learning.
- Students in Lower School are exposed to performing arts through the Orff method of integrating music, movement and creative dramatics. From mallet instruments and percussions, to string, brass, and wind instruments, students gain a broader understanding of the arts. Donor support has significantly enhanced music and other performing arts opportunities in Middle and Upper School as well as a relaunched digital media program anchored by the school’s new Mac Lab in the Ralston Fine Arts Center.
- An extensive Athletic Program affording participation for Upper and Middle School students in a diverse variety of 11 programs and 29 teams at the Middle School, Junior Varsity and Varsity levels. More than 90% of FA students participate in athletics.
- A commitment to the health and wellness of each FA student through health education, healthcare services, regular screenings, and parent education.
- The social-emotional support of each student in each grade through dedicated, divisional counselors providing education and support.
Incremental revenue will be used to make important classroom enhancements in all three divisions over the next year. Tremendous improvements were made to the Middle School academic buildings in recent months as a result of gifts given in memory of Ellen Fleming. A very successful Annual Fund campaign will create the ability to make similar classroom enhancements and innovative improvements to all of the academic buildings on campus. The scope of the work will be proportional to the success of the Annual Fund campaign.
Gifts in the form of cash, check, credit card, or stock transfer are accepted
- Visit https://www.fredericaacademy.org/support-fa/give-online to make a gift online
- Contact Brad Hutcherson (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information regarding a stock transfer
Donors are encouraged to make their gift prior to December 31, 2020
- However, any gifts received prior to June 30, 2021, will be applied to this year’s Annual Fund campaign
Gifts are tax-deductible
- Following receipt, Frederica Academy will mail a donor thank you letter that may be used for tax filing purposes.