King’s Academy Chairman of the Board HE Bassem Al-Salem explains why giving is essential for a school like King’s.
Last month, at a gala dinner held at his home and attended by guests from all over the world, including keynote speaker HRH Prince Talal bin Muhammad, HE Bassem Al-Salem helped raise 1 million JD for student scholarships at King’s Academy.
Although new to his role as chairman of the board of King’s Academy, Al-Salem has been a board member and a steadfast supporter of King’s Academy since its founding in 2007 as a non-profit boarding school by His Majesty King Abdullah II.
A firm believer in the importance of philanthropy, he has succeeded in raising funds for the school through special events over the years and in 2008 he made a generous gift to King’s in honor of his late father HE Khalil Al-Salem.
So why does he do it? “Financial aid is a vital prerequisite for any school to deliver an outstanding education,” Al-Salem explained. “This is because talent, ambition and passion for excellence know no socio-economic barriers.”
In keeping with His Majesty’s vision for a school open to all deserving students regardless of financial means, King’s Academy is committed to educational accessibility, need-based financial aid and diversity in its student body.
In order to achieve its mission, Al-Salem said, the school relies on the generosity of donors – parents, friends of the school, corporations and foundations. Currently, 43 percent of King’s Academy students are receiving need-based financial assistance – something few schools in the Middle East or even in the world can boast.
“A school that cannot bring together the best students regardless of income will never offer the best to any of its students – a concept that is well understood by the best universities of the world,” he added.
Over the years, many international donors have proven to be enthusiastic supporters of the school, believing in King’s commitment to social inclusiveness.
“The purpose of education in this part of the world, which is a volatile area that desperately needs more positive experiences, is to give the younger generations the opportunity to participate in shaping a more enlightened and rewarding future,” Al-Salem said. “Therefore it is no coincidence that international donors get excited about King’s mission.”
Yet the concept of fundraising – particularly fundraising for a school – is a relatively new one in Jordan.
“In order to work with local donors, we address how the money is spent and how the programs will contribute to the implementation of the vision of the Academy, rather than just convincing them of the necessity,” he explained.
“The main challenge is to create an endowment large enough to be self-sustaining in order to turn to its expansion and continuous improvement in providing scholarships and financial aid,” Al-Salem added. “We still have a way to go before achieving this goal.”