Contact us

For general inquiries, please contact shine@sidwell.edu.

Advancement

Tara Arras

Assistant Head of School for Advancement

arrast@sidwell.edu

General

What are the goals of this campaign?

The Together We Shine campaign seeks to raise $152 million to support the School in several important ways:

  • To fund the renovation of the Upton Street campus, acquired in 2015, to become the new home of the Upper School and lay the groundwork for Sidwell Friends to unify its campus later in the decade.
  • To increase the School’s endowment, which supports financial aid, faculty compensation, and special programs.
  • To create three new endowed faculty chairs in Spanish and Latin American Studies, African and African American Studies, and Asian American Studies.
  • To continue to expand the Center for Ethical Leadership that helps students and faculty frame and explore ethics in the Quaker tradition.
  • To create a new Center for Teaching and Learning to support faculty development.


When did the campaign begin?

Sidwell Friends began framing the priorities of the campaign and soliciting donations in 2015. Since then, the campaign has continued to evolve into what we announced on Homecoming Weekend in 2022.

How much have you raised?

As of October 2022, we have raised nearly $118 million toward our goal of $152 million.

Who is participating in the campaign?

Everyone will be invited to support this historic fundraiser! All parents, grandparents, alumni, parents of alumni, Trustees, faculty, and staff will be asked to support this important work.

$152 million is a big goal. Will my gift make a difference?

Every gift is important, and it will take thousands of gifts of all sizes to make this vision a reality. Not only will your gift help make this campaign possible, your gift, no matter the amount, will show our community that we are invested in the School. Full participation sends a powerful message and demonstrates our collective support for Sidwell Friends.

I already support The Sidwell Friends Fund. Is that included in this campaign?

Yes, your annual contributions and pledges to The Sidwell Friends Fund (formerly called the Annual Fund) have been counted towards the total raised so far in this campaign and will be counted toward it until the end of the campaign in 2024.

How long do I have to make my pledge payments?

The typical pledge period is five years, although each donor can choose a pledge period and payment schedule that is convenient for them. Please contact a member of the Advancement team to discuss options. 

Is my gift tax-deductible?

All gifts to the campaign are fully tax-deductible as allowable by law.

Are there naming opportunities?

Yes. There are more than 125 indoor and outdoor spaces with naming opportunities associated with the Upton Campus as part of this campaign. Donors may also create or add to an endowed fund. Please contact a member of the Advancement team to learn more.

How do I get involved? I heard my peers are serving on a committee and I would like to join, too.

We would love to welcome you to our Campaign Committee! We will meet quarterly through June 2024 and there are a variety of ways to be involved and inspire your friends to join you. We invite you to contact us to learn more about volunteer opportunities and to help us celebrate the successful completion of this campaign.

Upper School Renovation and Design

What is the renovation plan for the Upton Street property?

The transformation of the Upton Street property, a former nursing home, into a modern school is a significant project and will touch every square inch of the building. The result will be a spectacular facility for learning and teaching. The decision to renovate the property rather than raze it and build a new structure was made thoughtfully and will minimize impact on the environment. The design incorporates a geo-thermal well, green roofs, solar energy, and use of reclaimed and sustainable materials.

Who is the architect?

Sidwell Friends engaged the international architectural firm Perkins Eastman to complete all architectural renderings, design development, and construction drawings.

When will you begin construction?

We expect to begin construction in the fall of 2024 or spring of 2025. Our agreement with the School’s lenders requires that we have 85 percent of the cost of the project in hand to begin the work.

When will the new building be completed?

The new Upper School is expected to open in September 2026, contingent on meeting our fundraising goals and an 18-month construction process.

How does the campaign fit into the overall Sidwell Campus Strategic Plan?

This campaign supports the first phase in our Campus Strategic Plan, which calls for the relocation of the Upper School to the Upton Campus. Phase two will entail renovating the Harrison Building (currently home to the Upper School) and moving the Lower School, which currently is located in Bethesda, MD, to the DC campus.

How will the new Upper School better serve students and faculty?

The new Upper School will provide students and faculty with a larger and more open campus that better serves the teaching and learning styles we see today, and that meets the needs of a school that in many ways has outgrown its current structure. Flexible and inviting classroom and common spaces will allow for more collaborative learning.

A state-of-the-art Science Center and Robotics Suite will foster the interest our student show in science and exploration. Featuring spaces specifically for individual student research, the Science Center is designed to encourage thoughtful scientific creation with ample room for prep and storage. There will be 10 wet and dry labs and 4 project rooms for collaborative learning and team-based approach. The robotics suite will be outfitted with contemporary tools for group design and prototype testing.

Evidence-based studies indicate that connections to nature and good air circulation reduce stress and improve learning outcomes. The new building will offer opportunities for spacious indoor and outdoor learning, including a 17,400 square-foot Science Grove. This outdoor space is adjacent to the Science and Robotics classrooms and will provided easy access for all students to propel scientific thinking beyond the classroom walls. 

What is the Center for Teaching and Learning?

Under the leadership of the associate head of school, this center will serve faculty across the three divisions as a primary resource to enhance the caliber of intellectual engagement with our students. The CTL will provide opportunities to support the continuing growth of teachers who seek to hone their craft of teaching, deepen their content knowledge and expertise, and explore new approaches to engage student learning.

What is the Center for Ethical Leadership?

Under the leadership of the director of Equity, Justice, and Community (EJC), this center will inspire ethical leadership and serve as a central space for student activities, civic engagement, and stewardship, an ideal deeply rooted in Quaker values. The center will empower students to examine and address social justice issues in the Capital region and around the world, to participate in active service learning, and to pursue internships. 

Endowment

A healthy, growing endowment is critical to securing the financial sustainability of Sidwell Friends School. Endowment makes permanent the values of parents and alumni and provides the foundation for an educational institution’s financial health, enabling it to weather market downturns, curb tuition increases, and support programmatic growth.

What is the current value of the endowment and how does it compare to peer schools?

The endowment was valued at $72.7 million on June 30, 2022. That amount is significantly lower on a per-student basis than some of our peer institution in the Washington, DC area.

Who manages the Sidwell Friends endowment and what are key investment questions considered?

The Board of Trustees Investment Committee oversees the management of the endowment, establishing appropriate investment strategies and allocations, and reviewing performance with the assistance of an independent investment firm that specializes in non-profit endowment and private wealth management. The Investment Committee, comprised of Trustees and non-trustee members with extensive expertise in the investment and banking industries, makes recommendations regarding the investment policy to the full Board of Trustees, which has fiduciary responsibility for the endowment.

How does the endowment serve the School?

The endowment provides critical funding to support faculty compensation and professional development, student financial aid, and special programs. Tuition at Sidwell Friends School provides 85 percent of the operating revenues to cover the full cost to educate our students. The remainder comes from philanthropy, endowment income, and auxiliary programs. Of that, the endowment provides approximately 5.2 percent of operating revenues that support financial aid, faculty compensation and professional development, and program support.

What are the three named endowed chairs as part of this campaign?

Thus far, the campaign has raised money to fully fund the creation of two endowed faculty chairs: Spanish and Latin American Studies, held by Silvia Niazi, and African and African American Studies, held by Jewell Debman. The campaign will fund a third endowed faculty chair in Asian American Studies.

Is it possible to honor an individual with a named endowed gift?

Yes, this is a wonderful way to honor the memory of a loved one. Gifts of $50,000 or more can establish a named endowed fund for an unrestricted purpose. Gifts of $100,000 or more can establish a named endowed fund for a specific purpose. Gifts of any amount can be directed to the general endowment or to the George Fox Scholarship Fund., which provides critical funding for students in need of financial assistance to attend Sidwell Friends School.

An endowed gift of $1.2 million would provide a full-tuition and expenses scholarship annually for one student, equivalent to $54,000, in perpetuity. Named and endowed scholarships may be established with a gift of $100,000. Named term funds for current use financial aid may be established with a gift of $50,000 per year for a minimum of four years. Please contact an Advancement representative to learn more.

The Sidwell Friends Fund

What is The Sidwell Friends Fund?

The Sidwell Friends Fund is the successor to the annual fund. Every dollar will be used to support the School’s highest priorities, including:

  • Supporting students through financial aid
  • Providing faculty with development opportunities
  • Creating engaging experiences for our students


Who will be asked to support The Sidwell Friends Fund?

Everyone is invited to support The Sidwell Friends Fund and ever gift to the Fund is meaningful. In addition, participation inspires others to join in our fundraising efforts.

Why is the Fund a part of this campaign?

This campaign is comprehensive and includes all gifts to the School made or pledged throughout the duration of the campaign, from July 1, 2015, through June 30, 2024.

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