Donors Make Permanent a Leading Light’s Impact
“In my 32 years as a member of this community, Brittany has had an unmatched impact on the lives of Sidwell Friends’ Black girls— current and past,” says Upper School Principal Mamadou Guèye, whose first granddaughter was named after Brittany. “To me, she was the oxygen I needed to keep on breathing in my work in the Upper School principal’s office.”
As Guèye’s senior executive assistant from 2015 to 2021, Brittany Chase was a pillar in the Sidwell Friends community—a friendly face who supported and welcomed students, faculty, staff, and families. Through her service to the Black Student Union (BSU) and her leadership as the founding advisor of the Black Girls Society, Chase made a distinct and lasting contribution to the School’s culture of inclusivity and equity. When her life was tragically cut short in 2021, Sidwell Friends families, students, faculty, and staff came together in their grief to honor her legacy by establishing the Brittany Chase Memorial Fund. Now fully endowed by donors, Brittany Chase’s impact will be felt at Sidwell Friends for generations to come.
Stacey and Jarvis Stewart P’21 and P’23 were instrumental in helping to create the Chase Fund. “While we will never be able to replace Brittany’s presence in the School, we hope the fund will uplift our Black girls and all Black students at Sidwell Friends, ensuring their voices and perspectives are heard, respected, and celebrated,” Stacey says. “Brittany committed her time, outside her actual work duties, to building a school culture of respect, inclusion, and equity. Her commitment to students, like our daughters, and so many others made life at Sidwell Friends more fulfilling and validating.”
An enduring testament to Chase’s leadership, the Chase Fund will ensure that all Sidwell Friends students—particularly Black students—are valued, respected, and honored. Each year, a committee of students, parents, and faculty will designate funds to activities that promote a culture of inclusivity and respect, including a speaker series to inspire action on racial equity and an ongoing commitment to support of the Black Student Union and Black Girls Society.
“The most exciting part of the Chase Fund is that its investments in programming will be primarily led by the students themselves,” Stacey Stewart says. “If the goal of the fund is to uplift and affirm Black girls and Black students, we believe it’s important that the students themselves have a sense of self determination in how these resources will best meet their needs. Building this sense of agency is critical in building an authentic commitment to inclusion at Sidwell Friends.”
Guèye agrees. “The Black Student Union and the Black Girls Society students have expressed immense gratitude to the School for setting up this fund,” he says. “The Brittany Chase Memorial Fund says to faculty and staff that Sidwell Friends School and the people who support our programs, care deeply about employees who exemplify love and light in the community.”