Westover to Receive $75,000 Matching Grant from Edward E. Ford Foundation

Westover will receive a $75,000 matching grant from The Edward E. Ford Foundation to help fund a program to explore girls' empowerment.

Westover to Receive $75,000 Matching Grant from Edward E. Ford Foundation

Westover will receive a $75,000 matching grant from The Edward E. Ford Foundation to help fund a program that will use the School "as a living laboratory to explore girls' empowerment."

Once Westover secures matching gifts, the foundation will provide the grant monies which will be used to underwrite a Scholar in Residence in Girls' Empowerment for the School's Rasin Center for Global Justice, to sponsor women's empowerment-themed events, and to support the School's extensive Archives. Head of School Julie Faulstich was confident that Westover would secure the matching funds for the grant in a timely fashion.

"The generous support of the E.E. Ford Foundation will enable Westover to continue to be a leader in girls' education," Faulstich said. "Our new Scholar in Residence will be able to make an immediate difference in how we intentionally empower our students in every part of the program."

In addition, Faulstich said, "We are also very excited to explore our archival treasures accrued over a century as a trailblazer in this field because where we've been will inspire where we're going in the future."

The grant application was submitted to the E.E. Ford Foundation earlier this fall. As part of its review process, John Gulla, the Executive Director of the foundation, visited Westover to meet with administrators and tour the campus.

In its submission to the foundation, Westover's application stated, "We would research the best methods to foster developing specific methodologies and approaches to support girls in our signature programs and in day-to-day academic instruction. We will explore how a girl can find her voice, express herself with confidence, and be a leader from any level, in any context." The application noted that "Westover has a unique advantage in exploring how women can lead in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] fields given our long-standing, thoughtful leadership through our Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program. Empowerment is the process; leadership is the outcome.

"As part of its planned initiative," Westover's application stated, "we see Westover building a reputation in fostering girls and women's empowerment, not only for our own students but to be a resource for the independent school community by conducting workshops and sponsoring a speaker series, panels and other events to highlight challenges and achievements in women's leadership and empowerment."

The Scholar in Residence would work within the Rasin Center. Since its founding in 2014, the Center has ensured that the Westover community engages with the world beyond its walls through a focus on community service, diversity, environmental sustainability, and global programs, according to Kate Taylor, the Center's director. "We partner with students and faculty to plan curriculum and all-school justice programs and provide connections between learning and action, including socially and environmentally responsible service and experiential learning opportunities."

As part of its efforts, the School also would use funds related to the grant to enhance the School's Archives. "Westover has a treasure trove of materials that has been lovingly cared for by alumnae volunteers for many years," the School's application noted. "Our hope is that there is enough valuable research material collected since the School's founding that this would be worth an investment on the School's part to create a true research archive and a resource for both the Scholar in Residence and for outside scholars exploring the history of girls' education in the United States."

To support that effort, the application noted, "we need a professional archivist to spend time in the collection assessing the value of what we have and give thoughtful advice about how we best care for and organize the collection. This is a key component of our overall ambition to become known as a center for women's empowerment – to have a full and complete idea of where Westover has been to form our ideas of where we are going – and to provide a rich historical resource for scholars looking to explore the history of girls' education in America."

As noted on the foundation's website, "The mission of The Edward E. Ford Foundation is to strengthen and support independent secondary schools and to challenge and inspire them to leverage their unique talents, expertise and resources to advance teaching and learning throughout this country by supporting and disseminating best practice, by supporting efforts to develop and implement models of sustainability, and by encouraging collaboration with other institutions." Since the foundation was established in 1957, more than 800 schools have received more than 2,100 different grants from the foundation totaling more than $118 million.