The Pathfinder School: Traverse City Community School

Support Pathfinder

A school without hallways, an education without limits!

The Pathfinder School depends on fundraising events and donations in order to sustain our robust Financial Aid program as well as the school itself. By supporting Pathfinder, you are assuring the Pathfinder experience for future generations.







Revenue from tuition covers less than 70% of annual expenses. Donations to the Annual campaign help the school support classroom materialsfield tripshigh quality faculty, facility improvementsutilities and other operational expenses.  Public schools receive state funding, can present bond proposals to voters, and levy taxes to cover operational expenses. Non-profit institutions, like Pathfinder, rely on the Annual Campaign, foundation grants and charitable giving to sustain their operations.



Arthur and Nancy Baxter and their children founded The Pathfinder School in 1972 in order to provide a vibrant and independent learning experience to the families of Northern Michigan. Their founding principles of small classes, trust, responsibility, experiences in nature, and a broad and enriching curriculum remain at the very heart of Pathfinder today. It is their unique vision that is validated daily in the accomplishments of Pathfinder students, alumni, and faculty.

Art and Nancy have remained steadfast supporters, advisors, and cheerleaders of The Pathfinder School, visiting often, and inspiring always. The Founders Fund was launched by Art and Nancy in 2016 to provide financial assistance to Pathfinder 7th and 8th grade students, helping them to see their Pathfinder journey through to graduation in the company of their classmates and friends. By contributing to this fund, you are helping children experience the full benefit of the Pathfinder experience.





Financial assistance is an important part of our mission in serving the families of Northern Michigan. By making our school as accessible as possible, we maximize our impact and improve the quality of education for the benefit of all of our students.

The late Stanley and Elizabeth Auwers represent the spirit of stewardship that has sustained The Pathfinder School through generations of learners. Their decades of advocacy, generosity and support championed countless students. Stan and Betty are alumni grandparents and also parents to Ellen Northway (Business Manager), who beyond anyone else in the school's history, embodies the spirit of independent schooling, the ideals of service, and fierce commitment to our role as active partners in the lives of each Pathfinder family. Ellen’s career has been dedicated to ensuring a Pathfinder education can be accessible to those best served by its mission. She has assisted countless families navigate their children’s education.

By giving to the Stanley and Elizabeth Auwers Scholarship fund, you are providing tuition assistance to those most in need and deserving of our help.



In the past two years, the number of financial aid requests from families has dramatically risen. The money that you donate can help support a Pathfinder education for children who benefit greatly from the creativity and intellectual curiosity fostered in this dynamic learning environment. In addition, funds raised are directed towards programmatic improvements, facility maintenance and other operational expenses. Help us remain a beacon for education in this community with your gift. As always, our goal is to maintain a top notch program for our students, filled with hands on, experiential learning, engaging faculty and life long relationships with peers and the school. Your donation, big or small, will help us achieve that year after year!


You can follow one of three ways listed below:

  • ONLINE PAYMENT (Credit Card): To make your donation right now using a credit card or PayPal account, please select Annual Fund Scholarship Fund or Founder's Fund buttons above or one of our DONATE buttons in the upper right corner of our website.  
  • CHECK: Please mail all checksmade out to The Pathfinder School to: Ellen Northway | The Pathfinder School | 11930 S. West Bay Shore Drive | Traverse City, MI 49684. 
  • PLEDGE your Donation: You can make a pledge that you will fulfill a donation over the course of the year, either by electronic withdrawl or by monthly checks, etc. Please call Ellen Northway to schedule your payments: 231.995.3800


If you would like further information regarding development opportunities, please contact Ellen Northway, Business Operations & Development at (231) 995-3800 or by email at

We thank you in advance for your generous support!