Supporting Equity and Excellence

By Michael Oreste, Director of Foundations and Partnerships

Our partnership with The Edward E. Ford Foundation, now in its 36th year, continues to benefit students, teachers, and families. In June of 2021, the foundation awarded Catlin Gabel a $50,000 grant in support of our ongoing efforts to build a more equitable school environment.

Our partnership with The Edward E. Ford Foundation goes back decades, to when we received our first grant in the form of an endowed scholarship in 1986. Since then, the Foundation has supported various school priorities, ranging from financial assistance and professional development to capital projects and our Outdoor Education program. In total, the Foundation has awarded the school over $375,000 through grants and gifts.

To maximize the Foundation’s most recent $50,000 equity grant, Catlin Gabel is matching it 2:1. The $100,000 raised by our Advancement Team, through the generosity of three donors, will then be placed in a named endowed fund that will support the school’s equity efforts in perpetuity. “Grants like the one we just received from the Ford Foundation are instrumental in supporting school priorities and initiatives,” says Advancement Director Nicole Rinetti-Clawson. “This grant, in particular, demonstrates how the Advancement Team, in coordination with faculty and staff, can partner with a long-time supporter to create a meaningful philanthropic partnership that will impact students for years to come.”

With the funds secured, program planning is well underway. One exciting aspect of this grant is how it will help fund equity training for Upper School students who are a part of the Judicial Council (JC). John Harnetiaux, Upper School Dean of Students and Tony Stocks, Judicial Council Faculty Advisor, are already working together to coordinate age-appropriate training for next year’s Judicial Council members.

With this training, the students will then be given agency to reimagine the JC’s structure and rewrite its guidelines. Students will restructure the Council through the lens of restorative justice principles that align with the school’s anti-racist, inclusive, and equity-based philosophy.