Five Things to Know About the Sidwell Friends Fund and Founder's Day for Scholars

Five Things to Know About the Sidwell Friends Fund and Founder's Day for Scholars


This school year, the Annual Fund was rebranded as The Sidwell Friends Fund to recognize and reaffirm our commitment to the friends of this community–generous donors and school families–whose annual giving helps to sustain the School. Each year, gifts to the Fund make a meaningful impact on several of the School’s top priorities, including: supporting students through financial aid, providing faculty with development opportunities, and creating engaging experiences for our students.

Additionally, Founder’s Day for Scholars is the new name for our annual fundraising event for financial aid (previously known as 48 Hours for Scholars, and before that as A Night for Scholars), as the event will now occur each spring in conjunction with Founder’s Day. Twenty-one percent of Sidwell Friends students receive financial aid, and this event is one of the ways that we affirm our belief that a community of students from a wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds enhances the educational experience of all Sidwell students, preparing them to succeed in the wider world.


Tuition accounts for 86 percent of Sidwell Friends’ revenue, and the School raises additional philanthropic support to close the gap. When you make a gift to The Sidwell Friends Fund, your donation helps to create vital learning opportunities for students and faculty. “I have to admit,” says Allison Alexander P '25, '29, “ I didn’t know a lot about the Fund when we first arrived at Sidwell a couple of years ago. As I learned more about its purposes, it became clear to me that the experience of each and every student at Sidwell today is due, in part, to the generosity of community members who made gifts to the school before we arrived here.” She adds that, in addition to supporting the School’s current needs, the Fund is also “an opportunity to pay it forward and shape the experience of a future Sidwell student. So, it was basically a no-brainer for us to jump in and give to the Fund.”


As our community pulls together to raise the final 20 percent of the School’s historic $152 million campaign by June 30, 2024, your gift to The Sidwell Friends Fund counts as a contribution to the Together We Shine campaign! While a donation to the Fund enables the School to direct your gift to its highest area of need within the Fund’s defined priorities, donors can also give to particular areas or initiatives of the School for which they are particularly passionate. In addition to making an annual gift to the Fund, some families are inspired to support such projects as the Upton Street Campus renovation, the Center for Ethical Leadership, the Center for Teaching and Learning, endowed faculty chairs, or other designated needs. As always, the School’s Advancement staff is pleased to answer questions and provide information about different ways you can structure your giving to ensure the impact you wish to have. 


On April 18th, Founder’s Day for Scholars will revive the element of an  in-person, ticketed event as part of its day-long fundraising effort to support financial aid, after three years of connecting virtually due to the pandemic. “The entire community will be invited to join us and participate,” says Assistant Head of School for Advancement Tara Arras, noting that “in place of the pre-pandemic auction format with paddles, we’ll take a more modern approach where attendees can make donations digitally and see our progress to goal in real time!” The event will be the culmination of a day of giving for the entire Sidwell Friends community in honor of the School’s founder, Thomas W. Sidwell. 


Whether you are a parent, grandparent, alumni, or friend, you are warmly invited to join us for Founder’s Day for Scholars on April 18th to support financial aid and The Sidwell Friends Fund. You will receive an email invitation with an RSVP link. Please direct questions about the Fund to Sarah Fordham at Questions regarding Founder’s Day for Scholars can be directed to Sarah Mason at


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