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Tara Arras

Assistant Head of School for Advancement

Volunteers Lighting the Way

When a school undertakes a major endeavor like the Together We Shine campaign, helping everyone understand its goals and potential for impact is essential. As we near the campaign’s finish line, we could never have reached our current success without the tireless support of more than 100 active volunteers. From current families to alumni to grandparents, they are ambassadors helping to achieve this historic $152 million campaign.

From the start, Head of School Bryan Garman has said the campaign’s goals are big, but so is the community’s response. Volunteers have spurred excitement for the impact the campaign can have. Since the fall of 2021, scores of alumni, friends, current and former parents and grandparents have been welcomed into the homes of campaign volunteers to hear Garman describe how this campaign will transform our Washington, DC, campus, boost our financial aid resources, and invest in initiatives to deepen our students’ ethical engagement with the world.

“The events I have been to have been festive with lots of laughter and great conversations,” says Natasha Schooling P ’24, ’27, ’29. “It’s been a wonderful mix of new families and people who know each other well. Being invited into someone’s home, combined with the relatively small size of the gatherings, creates a very intimate, welcoming feel. It is not very often that you can have a long one-on-one conversation with Bryan or other members of the Sidwell administration on topics ranging from current events, favorite recipes, and future plans for the school.”

Elisa Miller and Josh Miller P ’27, ’30, who are also active volunteers, note that this campaign, like all capital campaigns, rely on a lot of individual moving parts. “We have been delighted by the widespread enthusiasm for the campaign as well as by the level of engagement with its specific priorities,” they say. “While there is a lot of excitement around new physical spaces, there is an equal amount of focus on financial aid, faculty development, sustainability, and the continued growth of the Center for Ethical Leadership. It’s been very gratifying to see such agreement around—and support for—the way forward for our community.”

Volunteers have also been instrumental in engaging countless peers to encourage giving to The Sidwell Friends Fund, which provides approximately 8 to 10 percent of the school’s operating budget and supports the school’s highest operational priorities, including financial aid, faculty professional development, and student experiences.

When asked what inspires her about her fellow volunteers, Natasha Schooling says, “In each of my interactions with volunteers I am impressed with their dedication to the school, its mission and its students—past, current, and future. I was surprised and impressed by the number of volunteers whose children have long since graduated but continue to volunteer their time. This is not a self-serving community. This is a community where volunteers are passionate about Sidwell Friends and are willing to dedicate their valuable time to ensuring that not only current students, but the next generation of students have the best opportunities to thrive and grow.”

Are you looking for a way to deepen your engagement with Sidwell Friends School?  Learn more about the Campaign Volunteer Committee and join us!

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