$40MM comprehensive campaign to fund new facilities and high-quality educational opportunities for students around the city.
Germantown Friends School has launched the public phase of Picture This: A Campaign for Learning in Community, to realize a bold vision, build on the school’s strong foundation of excellence in teaching and learning, and amplify the power of learning from one another – in community.
“From our strategic visioning work, we know that community – authentic human connection – builds a sense of belonging in students and makes way for experiences that surmount educational barriers and fuel deep learning,” said Dana Weeks, Head of School. “As one of our foundational values, this sense of belonging informs the confidence students have, the way they learn, and their celebration of the light in others.”
With Learning in Community at its core, Picture This will bring GFS’ strategic vision to life by creating a home for cross-disciplinary learning in the arts and engineering while also supporting the well-being of our community, increasing need-based scholarships, expanding the teacher pipeline and offering meaningful academic enrichment opportunities for students in the greater Philadelphia community, and furthering the extraordinary teaching and learning that GFS is known for.
“The truth is that an inordinate number of GFS alums are using their voices and experience to better our world by leading with empathy, lifting up community, and applying all they have learned with deep regard for humanity,” said David Feldman, Clerk of the GFS School Committee. “This special school is surely worthy of our support, and we invite our entire community to join forces in ensuring that it thrives well into the future.”
I. All-School Commons and Center for the Arts: This new complex will transform the experience for all on campus by enhancing collaboration across the arts, engineering, film, and theatre, while also fostering community and wellbeing within a new state-of-the-art dining center. Projected for completion in Fall 2024, the new approximately 40,000 square foot, three-level building will connect to our primary theatre, the Loeb Center for the Performing Arts, and a new dining center (a renovation of Smith Gym).
Creative expression is a centerpiece of the GFS education, and this new home for the making and sharing art will invite the co-mingling of ideas, media, and disciplines. Intentionally designed to complement the outdoor Common and the Meetinghouse, the new facility will fortify the heart of campus, integrate art with engineering and design, and provide a welcoming community space where entire divisions can gather.
GFS now enrolls the most diverse student body in its history. Correspondingly, overall enrollment has grown more than 30 percent in the past decade. To continue to foster and support a connected and thriving community, a priority at GFS, this new facility is critical.
- A model of sustainable design and the first phase of our Sustainable Campus Plan.
- Expansive space and seamless integration with surroundings, inviting in light and nature.
- A hub for creativity, collaboration across disciplines, gathering, and wellbeing.
- Additional campus gateway opening onto Greene Street and creating a corridor to neighbors, including the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf.
- Construction and renovation that will bring the entire complex into ADA compliance.
II. Financial Accessibility Endowment: GFS will grow its endowment to increase the socioeconomic diversity of its student body. In continuing to foster a diverse learning community, the school will continue to better reflect its neighborhood and city, while also enriching the academic experience for all on campus.
The campaign aims to increase its endowment by 18 percent to fund additional need-based, full scholarships and welcome more low- and middle-income students across the lower, middle, and upper schools. This new investment will support an already significant commitment to tuition assistance. In 2022-23, 33 percent of GFS students received financial aid; of the new families who joined the community, 40 percent of students were awarded scholarships.
III. Community Education Programs: As GFS expands educational opportunities through financial aid, it will also do so through its many community education partnerships and programs. The most established of those are Breakthrough of Greater Philadelphia and Community Basketball and Enrichment Camp. These programs prepare area students for GFS and other selective high schools.
The campaign focus will be to grow the endowment to sustain community education partnerships over the long term at GFS. In the case of Breakthrough, this will support long-term financial health as it pursues its dual mission of offering academic enrichment to area middle students attending public and charter schools and nurturing diverse new generations of educators.
IV. GFS Annual Fund: In growing its Annual Fund, the first giving priority and a vital source of operational support, GFS will ensure the continued quality of student experiences and support continuous innovation and enrichment.
Funds raised through the GFS Annual Fund are a direct investment in the teaching and learning excellence for which GFS is known. Whether for a class research project or a new student club or professional growth for faculty, this support fuels continuous innovation and enrichment of the academic experience.
After quietly building momentum for two years, GFS kicked off the public phase of ‘Picture This’ with an event at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Saturday, October 21, for leadership donors and campaign supporters. We will hold a campaign celebration for the larger community this coming spring.
Leadership donors and campaign supporters kicked off the public phase of Picture This at an event at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in October. Several alumni shared about the impact GFS has had on their lives and why they support the school.
Thanks to the energy, support, and steadfast commitment to GFS, the campaign has surpassed 67 percent of its $40MM goal with $27MM raised to date.
“We must go further – for our students today and our students tomorrow,” said Weeks. “Our strategic planning made this clear but it’s also what we all hold in our hearts.”
We invite your support! Learn more.