Together We Shine demonstrates that the more alumni engage with each other and with today’s School community, the greater the philanthropic impact and good we can do together.
Rowena “Nina” Santiago ’98, P ’36, who is the clerk of the Friends Alumni Network Advisory Board and a member of the Alumni Campaign Committee, says volunteering has transformed her relationship with her alma mater. “In every interaction I have with alums or with students, I’m struck by the thoughtfulness and respect throughout, and with the paramount value of growing goodness in the world.”
She says working on the campaign has sharpened her understanding of exactly how Sidwell continues to let each student’s inner light shine from nurturing students’ interests in athletics, robotics, and the arts, to ensuring students can feel comfortable socializing in different groups to the strong emphasis on social justice. “These efforts help the School community thrive as a whole and can only help the communities our students are part of now and after graduation. An education based on leaving the world a better place is a mission deeply deserving of our support,” she says.
Championing that mission is exactly what alumni did during this year’s Founder’s Day for Scholars. The day kicked off with Let Your Life Speak Morning: a forum for alumni returning to campus to talk about their career paths and to offer advice to students. With so many inspiring alumni on campus, the day was a wonderful opportunity to rally support for making a Sidwell Friends education financially possible for more students. With 25% of alumni participating, the day proved how alumni engagement and giving go hand in hand.
Campaign events such as Summer with Friends and Winter with Friends have given alumni around the country the chance to hear directly from Head of School Bryan Garman about the School today and to share their own Sidwell Friends experiences. Board member and co-clerk of the Alumni Campaign Committee, Camilo Acosta ’02 who lives in California says, “It’s critical for alums to remain engaged to help shape the current and future path of the School. We know the School in ways parents and faculty will never experience.”
During the campaign, young alumni have helped relaunch Movers & Quakers, a group that recognizes and honors young alumni as emerging philanthropic leaders. These young leaders host dinners for college-age alumni, becoming philanthropic role models and helping to inspire the next generation to join the group during their fifth reunion year.
Reunions are a particularly special time for alumni to see their collective impact on the School.
Noah Feinstone ’98, P ’32, ’35, who has volunteered for his alma mater in multiple ways, describes his reunion host experience as incredible. “My connection with Sidwell Friends has grown deeper through being a class agent and a reunion host. Volunteering for Sidwell Friends is important to me because it allows me to give back to the institution that played a pivotal role in shaping who I am and contributes to enhancing the School’s strength for my children and for future generations.”
Creating these routes for alumni to stay informed and active is vital to Sidwell Friends’ future because as Feinstone says, “Alumni serve as a bridge between its past and future. We carry the School’s traditions and core values forward, providing valuable insight and continuity. Our active involvement ensures that the School’s history, values, and traditions remain intact, while contributing to the School’s continued growth and success.”