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Important Announcement from TJ’s Head of School: Legacy Fund Gift – Making A TJ Education More Accessible

Important Announcement from TJ’s Head of School:  Legacy Fund Gift – Making A TJ Education More Accessible post thumbnail image


Dear TJ Community:

I am writing to share some very exciting news as TJ is poised to begin celebrating its 30th Anniversary next fall.  The School has received a multi-million-dollar legacy fund gift from Debra and David Humphreys.  As co-founders of the School, Debra and David have provided ongoing and generous support for TJ’s programs and facilities.  Their $15 million 20th Anniversary gift in 2012 enabled us to build the Humphreys Arts and Student Life Complex which doubled the size of the School’s facilities and completely transformed the TJ campus.  The Humphreys Legacy Fund will make TJ’s world-class education even more accessible to students and families in the four-state area. 

  • The Humphreys Legacy Fund gift provides $15 million across the next decade to support more affordable tuition for all students. 
  • Full price tuition will be reset to $11,000, and current TJ students already served by scholarships and tuition assistance will continue to receive those benefits. 
  • Substantial tuition assistance for families who qualify will continue to be available at TJ.
  • Our dedication to academic excellence and support for our robust co- and extra-curricular programs, including athletics, the arts, and STEM opportunities, will only be enhanced by this gift.


Through its Mission, TJ has helped hundreds of students realize their full potential and set them on a path for success in college and in life, instilling lifelong lessons and key virtues supported by our Honor Code.  Our continued growth through this gift will enhance the vibrancy of our school community and ensure that TJ is able to thrive for future generations of students.  We are so grateful for the generosity displayed through the Humphreys Legacy Fund.  This gift will support TJ in its delivery of the best education in the area for the next 30 years, continuing to create engaged citizens prepared to meet their futures with success. 

With appreciation,

Laura McDonald
Head of School



Thomas Jefferson School Receives Legacy Fund Gift to Provide More Affordable Tuition

JOPLIN, MO – March 28, 2022 – The Thomas Jefferson Independent Day School has been honored with a multi-million-dollar legacy gift as the school approaches its 30th anniversary.
Debra and David Humphreys, co-founders of TJ in 1993, have committed a gift of $15 Million toward a new Legacy Fund dedicated to more affordable high-quality education for area students.
The immediate impact of the gift will be to lower the cost of tuition to $11,000 for all students beginning with the upcoming 2022-2023 academic year. In addition, TJ will continue to provide significant tuition assistance for eligible students as well as continuing selective full merit-based scholarships. Current TJ students already served by scholarships and tuition assistance will continue to receive such benefits.

“TJ’s mission is to help students realize their full potential so that they are successful in their own lives and active and engaged citizens in their communities. Looking back over three decades, we see that mission realized in the hundreds of TJ graduates who continue to be life-long learners and reflect the virtues instilled by the TJ honor code from integrity and honesty to respect and compassion.” said Debra Humphreys, who also serves as Chair Emerita of the Board for TJ.

Debra added, “Watching our students compete and perform, I am often awed by their knowledge, talents, and leadership skills. Looking ahead to the future, we wanted to make the opportunities at TJ more widely available to our community. More than 50 percent of current TJ students are already being served by a robust tuition assistance program, so we understand the necessity for affordability in quality education. We hope this new Legacy Fund gift will make the promise of a TJ education a reality for as many area students as possible.”

Laura McDonald, Head of School for TJ, said, “TJ’s mission is directed at helping all students make the most of their abilities. We believe in that wholeheartedly. To accomplish the mission, we have to reduce barriers to a child realizing their full potential. Unfortunately, tuition can be one of those barriers. The Humphreys’ Legacy Fund gift reduces our tuition and, along with our substantial tuition assistance, ensures that top-quality educational opportunities through TJ are now available to more young people in the four states area than ever before.”
Part of what makes a TJ education unique is the focus on developing character in young people. TJ students sign an Honor Code at the beginning of every school year, pledging to conduct themselves with integrity, compassion, respect, and honesty. McDonald added, “The joy of learning is realized every day at TJ and we are thrilled that this transformative gift will allow TJ the ability to share that joy with even more students over the next 30 years and beyond.”

About the Humphreys Family

Debra and David Humphreys have shown commitment to philanthropy aimed at educational gains for young men and women in the four states community. Following the co-founding of TJ in 1993, they have made several gifts totaling millions toward the growth and support of the program including their 20th Anniversary gift in 2012 of $15 million to construct the Humphreys Arts and Student Life Complex.

Many other area educational institutions have also been gifted with funds toward growing their programs including the Humphreys Academic Support and Enhancement Grants to support programs at College Heights Christian School, Joplin Area Catholic Schools, and Martin Luther Christian School. The Humphreys have also supported Joplin Public Schools including a large contribution to help with rebuilding efforts following the tragic Joplin tornado. In addition, the Humphreys Scholars scholarship program was established by them for local area Missouri Southern State University students with a $1 million scholarship fund to provide scholarships over a ten-year period.

Debra Humphreys also founded and serves as the Executive Director for Compass Academy Network to provide a free summer school program in partnership with rural school districts in the four states area to support student growth and learning during the summer months.