It is with gratitude and appreciation of the Friends Seminary community and its donors that I present to you an audited annual report on our Endowment.
Through the collective efforts of our parents, grandparents, alumni, faculty and staff, our endowment for the 2022-2023 fiscal year closed at $40.3 million. This incredible achievement is a testament to the generosity of our donors and to our community’s commitment to the students and longevity of the School.
While the Fund for Friends remains the most important fundraising initiative for the School, as it ensures we can carry out the mission-driven work that we commit to every year, our endowment is essential for our future. It provides relief to the operating budget and safeguards the School against future economic and global challenges. It helps us control tuition. A strong endowment indicates the School’s excellence and fiscal health, and a commitment to carry that excellence forward for future generations.
As I reflect on the generosity of our community, I can’t help but feel that these endowment funds serve as an important reminder of why we have all committed to the critical work of Quaker education—to ensure our students, and students to come, can engage and learn about the world around us and help bring about a world that ought to be.
With gratitude, I am pleased to present to you this report.
Robert "Bo" Lauder
Head of School
ENDOWMENT TOTAL: $40,337,355
The 2022-2023 fiscal year showed extraordinary growth of the endowment, as we surpassed the $40,000,000 mark.
Newly Created Endowment Funds
Class of 2023 Endowment for Financial Aid
Friends Seminary is committed to ensuring that its community is enhanced by students who bring to it a rich blend of cultures, talents and interests. Many of the families of the most academically talented Friends students do not have sufficient resources to cover the cost of tuition. This fund, created by the students in the Class of 2023, provides tuition assistance for students in need.
The Larry Carter Legacy Fund
The Larry Carter Legacy Fund was created by the Alumni Council's Diversity Equity & Belonging Committee in honor of beloved Math teacher Larry Carter, who in teaching and mentorship inspired a sense of belonging for students of color. This fund will be used to attract, enroll, and provide financial aid to Friends Seminary's students of color, therefore supporting the School's commitment to diversity and inclusion. To make a gift, click here.
Special Funds to Share
Artists for Artists Fund
The Artists for Artists Endowed Fund contributes to financial assistance for the children of practicing artists at Friends Seminary. Friends Seminary's unique history connects it to the art culture of the City; the School has educated the children of renowned artists, many of whom live in the surrounding neighborhoods. A robust arts program has always been a part of a Friends education, and we continue to encourage parents in the creative community to apply for admission to the School.
Total funds: $354,093
Contributions FY23: $144,987
Henry Lee '43 Memorial Scholarship Fund
Established by friends and family of Henry Lee ’43 in his memory, this fund provides aid for Asian-American students.
Total funds: $1,537,967
Contributions FY23: $52,472
Why the Endowment Matters
A robust endowment, well-invested, is the key financial foundation for any school and is our greatest resource for safeguarding the School’s mission through fluctuating economic conditions. Those who contribute to Friends Seminary’s endowment can take great satisfaction in knowing that their gifts benefit the School now and in the future. The endowment allows us to maintain our commitment to prepare our students for the world that is and help them bring about a world that ought to be.
Endowed gifts provide both immediate and long-term benefits. Each year, funds released from the endowment total are used to fund our annual operating budget. In 2005, The endowment totaled $6.1 million and contributed $206,000 into the budget. Each year since, that contribution has grown. In the 2022-2023 school year, more than $1.6 million was released into the operating budget, relieving pressure on the Fund for Friends and financial aid.
Spending release to the operating budget: $206,000
Spending release to the operating budget: $1,643,657
The endowment consists of both unrestricted funds, which can be designated to the School’s highest need, and named funds.
Financial Assistance 55%
Curriculum & Program 15%
Faculty & Staff Support 7.51%
Endowment for the Education of Quaker Children 2.48%
Endowment from Unrestricted Bequests (combined in unrestricted) 1.92%
Currently, Friends Seminary has
The annual income from endowed funds contributes to the student financial aid program and permits the School to develop new courses and stay at the forefront of curricular development. Furthermore, the endowment provides the School with the resources to take advantage of unplanned educational opportunities–from new teaching materials to off-campus experiential endeavors.
Our Endowment supports essential programming and opportunities for the School and students, including:
Professional development for faculty and staff
Speakers, library programming, and capital projects
Commitment to Diversity
Friends Seminary is committed to building a socially and economically diverse student body. Friends firmly believes that economic diversity is integral to a strong and healthy school and vigorously supports a meaningful financial aid program. In the 2022-2023 academic year, more than $5.9 million was awarded to 20% of students in Kindergarten - Grade 12. The average financial aid award was $40,850.
Financial aid funds provide essential funding to support everything that makes a Friends Seminary education special, including smooth curriculum programming, professional development for faculty that translates into unique, evolving syllabi, school plays, sports teams and coaches, student clubs, healthy and nourishing breakfast, lunch, and snacks every day, and a safe school environment in classrooms with every physical and technological resource that teachers need.
Financial Aid Budget
received tuition assistance
with a median award of
Due to the growth of the endowment, the Board of Trustees’ aim to increase the financial aid budget to the level where it represents 17% of gross tuition revenue was achieved in 2021-2022.
Many costs of a Friends Seminary education go beyond tuition, including:
school bus service
Early Bird (supervised play and breakfast before the school day begins)
After Owls (our after-school program)
the purchase of instruments
childcare during evening school events
The Friends Endowment allows the School to fund the programs and opportunities that are loved, while also planning for innovative and creative realities for future generations of Friends Seminary learners.
New Courses/Curricular Developments Piloted
With support from our professional development endowment funds:
The Friends Seminary administration and divisional teachers embarked on a new school-wide Social Emotional Learning initiative in collaboration with the Institute for Social and Emotional Learning. This encompassed multiple professional development opportunities, including multiple school-wide on-campus training, for faculty and staff to learn key SEL strategies, tools, and classroom practices. This school-wide initiative supports children feeling more self-regulated, having more emotional and intellectual clarity, and becoming better learners. It has also provided language for adults to understand and communicate more effectively as members of the community.
Rachel Barany, Middle School teacher, participated in an archeological dig in Greece over the summer in order to enrich students’ understanding of, and appreciation for, ancient history. The Grade 5 history curriculum is based on world-famous artifacts: Sumerian burial objects, Chinese bronze vessels and Greek amphorae. By participating in this dig, Rachel was able to provide more context to this history, as well as an on-hands view of what being a historian can look like outside of the classroom.
Christel Johnson, Greek teacher, spent the summer developing the Immersive Greek course with the aim to craft a solid foundation in rudimentary and intermediate conjugation, declension, and idiom uses. Rather than focus on a single text, this program was developed to include adapted historical and literary texts, where students read excerpts of Greek texts in translation as well as engage with podcasts and vlogs.
Yuxi Lin, Middle School English teacher, wrote a new poetry textbook for 7th grade English with the aim to expose students to contemporary, avant-garde writing methods, and poetry translated from Spanish, French, Latin, Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic, in order to reimagine poetry as a vehicle for fostering compassion, social engagement, and community-building.
Andrea Aimi, Visual Arts teacher, completed a summer grant to expand a cross-curricular art class that begins with students building things from recycled cardboard to make a forest, which is then hung to raise awareness about the importance of nature conservation. The seed balls are then made in Science class, along with a seed zine in the Library. This curricular development aimed to teach students to be stewards of materials and practice the art of recycling, reusing, and reducing.
Maria Fahey, Middle and Upper School English teacher, received a summer grant to re-think her English 12 class “Speaking the Unspeakable: Language, Gender, Crime, and Reconciliation”, which, by opening with two classic tragedies– Oedipus the King and Hamlet— focuses on how language both conceals and reveals unspeakable crimes and how literature (and film) shapes and reshapes the histories we tell about ourselves, our communities, and our nations. This was an important opportunity for Maria to ensure that this important and well-received class remains relevant for the students she teaches.
Physics 1, a new heterogeneous course, was piloted for all grade 9 students. This course was designed to address placement-based inequality in the Upper School by allowing all grade 9 students to learn the same course material together for their first year. This provided teachers with the opportunity to ask: are students prepared for Upper School science? Do we know who our students are as learners? By learning about the students in this way, teachers were more equipped to ensure classes were student-centered. The pilot was a huge success and will be continued in the 2023-2024 school year.
Creative Computing Lessons, a new First Grade series, was piloted that weaved together computational thinking, robotics, SEL and literacy. As a part of the project, First graders engaged in a robot “check in”, which helped children articulate the difference between robots and people, think about “real” vs. “imaginary” robots, and write simple code to control their own and then the Bee-bot robots' physical movement.
Made possible with the support of our endowment:
Organized through the the Center for Peace Equity & Justice, Upper School students traveled to Memphis, Jackson, and New Orleans for an experience entitled Civil Rights and Music: Blues, Jazz and the Politics of Race. This immersive trip allowed our students to delve into the painful chapters of our nation's history, from slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, to our present day while embracing the resilience and power of Black music as a form of expression, protest, and celebration. This was a profound experience for students, who were able to witness, rather than just read about, this important part of American history. Click here to view story.
Exploring the Adirondacks
Stefan Stawnychy, History Teacher and Department Chair, led the History of the Adirondacks trip that provides an important experiential learning experience with a breathtaking backdrop. Last spring twelve seniors embarked on a five-day excursion to a remote island in the region to gain hands-on camping experience and explore the historical landmarks that they had been learning about in a new course, History of the Adirondacks This course is built around case studies related to Indigenous people, the abolitionist movement, conservation and representation in outdoor recreation, and was designed by Stefan after completing a summer professional development grant to develop a course based on his personal passion for the subject. Students canoed, hiked, and set up camp, enduring some primitive conditions while maintaining a high morale. Students visited "Dreaming of Timbuctoo," an exhibit which shares the story of a farming community created by local abolitionist Gerrit Smith for Black families to migrate to the Adirondacks and homestead. By providing land to Black men, they were then entitled to the right to vote, a crucial step in the fight against racism and slavery. This powerful part of their itinerary hallmarked the trip and served as the subject matter for their visual presentation to the school community. Click here to view story.
Thank you again for your generous support of the Friends Seminary endowment. We are so thrilled to see an increase in the fund after a challenging market backdrop in FY22. Our growth, from $4.9 million in 2002 to $40.3 million this past year, reflects the remarkable commitment of our community. This dedication is not only aimed at aligning Friends Seminary with the standards of peer independent schools, but also at fortifying our institution against challenges and positioning us to embrace exciting opportunities.
The Friends Seminary endowment is overseen by the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees and managed by a dedicated team at Goldman Sachs. As Co-Clerks of the Investment Committee, we are proud to serve our community and to steward this important asset of the School.
While we are proud of the growth the endowment has seen since the turn of the century, and grateful to all that made this incredible feat possible, we still have more to achieve. According to NAIS, a healthy independent school should have an endowment equal to approximately $100,000 per student. As it stands, Friends Seminary’s endowment is roughly half of that level. As we look forward, our goal lies in growing the endowment closer to this benchmark. A larger endowment provides more relief from our operating expenses, and allows us to prioritize the work that makes Friends unique.
Thank you again for your support of the endowment and to Friends.
Nicole Fox // Trustee, Clerk of Finance and Investment Committees
Jared Hendricks // Trustee, Clerk of Investment Committee