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January 20, 2022

By Molly Alpern, Communications Manager for Advancement

At ECFS, philanthropy comes in many forms. For the ECFS Annual Report of Giving 2020–2021, we spoke to a few of our donors to learn why they give to the School.

Why do you give to ECFS?

Lauren and Andrew Janian P’32, Orange Fund donors: We give to ECFS because — even though our family has only been a part of the school community for a short time — it has already given so much to us. Particularly last year, during the most uncertain time of the pandemic, we were really motivated to give back as we saw how the teachers, administrators, and staff worked tirelessly to provide students with a safe, dynamic, and joyful learning environment. To us, being part of a community means stepping up as much as you can when your community needs you.

Lauren Janian, Andrew Janian, and Rya J. ’32

Daniel Lederman ’06, Loyal Oaks Society member, Fieldston Alumni Network Leadership Board: Going to Fieldston directly shaped who I am through the kind of learning experiences that only Fieldston offers. Tuition alone only covers a portion of costs the School incurs to teach each student, and the rest is made up through giving. I give to make sure that the School can continue to provide the level of education that I was lucky enough to experience, and to ensure that ECFS can continue its financial aid mission that allows a diverse population of students to attend the School.

Princess Prince-McCoade and Timothy McCoade P’22, P’27, P’31, Loyal Oaks Society members, Orange Fund volunteer, P+T volunteer: Our family has been a part of the ECFS community for 13 years now. One of the primary things that drew us to ECFS was that it inherently allows our children, and therefore our family, to truly become members of a community as our children navigate their respective journeys. Giving to the Orange Fund is just one of the many ways we like to model to our children how to give back and participate as an engaged and committed community member.

Timothy McCoade, Princess Prince McCoade, Timia M. ’22, Amira M. ’27, and Zoi M. ’31
How does ECFS inspire you?

Nancy and John Dwinell P’06, P’11, faculty and staff, Loyal Oaks Society members: We are continually inspired by the joy in learning that we see across grades. ECFS truly lives the mission of the School.

Nancy and John Dwinell

Prince-McCoade and McCoade: ECFS inspires us daily, especially during these unprecedented and ever-changing times. Observing how our community navigated and continues to adapt to challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic is awe-inspiring. The pivot to virtual and hyflex learning, as well as the continued community engagement from administration, faculty, staff, parents/guardians, and, of course, our amazing and resilient children, is quite a testament to the fundamental work that is done daily at ECFS.

Gayle White-Wallace and James Wallace, P’32, Orange Fund donors, Orange Fund volunteers: As parents, ECFS inspires us to continue the work that happens during the day by making it a seamless transition to what happens at home. ECFS inspires us to think a lot more about ethics and advocacy. What’s happening in the classroom is teaching us to be less rigid, more open and flexible, and authentically ourselves. If Abigayle went to a different school, we’re not sure the transition would be so seamless.

Gayle White-Wallace, James Wallace, and Abigayle W. ’32
What is a favorite ECFS memory?

Janian: Before Rya started at Fieldston Lower, we heard about the bird program in the 1st Grade, so we had some expectations. However, nothing could have prepared us for the constant stream of bird facts our whole family learned last year. Rya’s bird exploration will be a lasting memory not only for her but for our whole family.

Lederman: There are so many great memories to choose from, which is what happens when you spend your entire youth at a place like Fieldston! There was a class about New York history called Inventing Gotham, and we would take day trips to local sites around the city for a hands-on approach to learning about history. It was on one of those day trips that I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge for the first time, something I do a few times a year now, and it always reminds me of that day. That class sparked a lifelong obsession with New York City’s history, and I still continue to read and learn as much as I can about our amazing city.

Dan Lederman ’06

White-Wallace and Wallace: The search for a school for Abigayle was like “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” How many school fairs, school visits, interviews, and tours did we attend? Countless. Our last interview was for Fieldston Lower. As a full-time working parent, I was so tired mentally from the runaround and I cried in the interview. I loved this place. I thought I loved other schools until we interviewed at Fieldston Lower. Coming here felt like coming home. A colleague said to me, “Don’t fall in love with a school until they fall in love with you.” When I got the acceptance email, I was shocked and my coworkers cried and celebrated with me. My colleague turned to me and said, “They still took Abigayle after you did all that crying. They must like you!” I was so happy, and we are all still so happy to be here.

Dwinell: Seeing our boys graduate brought both happy and bittersweet memories. They formed lifelong friendships and connections with students and faculty. We have had the opportunity to be part of this community in so many ways and value this school more than we could ever say.