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Tara Arras

Assistant Head of School for Advancement

For Me Personally, No Greater Gift

In conversation with Brittany Toscano Gore ‘03

Why is financial aid a giving priority for you? 

I know firsthand how meaningful and lasting the impacts of a Sidwell Friends education can be. It opened so many doors to what I now know is possible. Without financial aid, I would not have been able to attend. So, I can’t imagine a greater gift than being able to help another student experience the learning that happens in and outside the classroom and within the Sidwell Friends community.

Do you see providing financial aid as particularly essential for Sidwell Friends?

For me, financial aid feels firmly rooted in the Quaker values of community, equality, and equity. As a community, we can help ensure that a Sidwell education is accessible to as many talented and qualified students as possible.

A vital part of the financial aid story is not only the impact on the students receiving it but the benefits to the whole community— do you have thoughts about that?

When more talented students with diverse perspectives can attend an institution, everyone benefits. A diversity of views and outlooks, income levels, experiences, and knowledge all contribute to a rich and representative community that in turn helps prepare all our students for their future in an increasingly complex world. To best respond to the challenges of our world today and tomorrow, and to ensure that graduates can truly meet the needs of those most affected, they will need to draw on a multitude of approaches and perspectives. Having an education grounded in a diverse community will better prepare them to do that.

Other alumni have talked about the campaign as a pivotal moment because financial aid will allow Sidwell Friends to better reflect Washington’s multifaceted diversity. Does that resonate with you?

Absolutely. I think one of Sidwell Friends’ greatest advantages is its location in DC. The city brings together a multitude of people and cultures, making for a truly rich community. Ideally, the School would both reflect the diversity of the city around it and authentically engage the surrounding communities. Everyone benefits, not just from the exposure, but through true and meaningful participation within diverse communities.

There has never been a more critical need for the type of education that Sidwell Friends provides. It’s an education that extends beyond the classroom, and one many of us carry forward into so many facets of our adult lives. I can’t think of a better investment for our future than the education of the next generations.

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