Message from Morva: The Power of Partnership

Many of you have asked me, “How did we get here?” or, sometimes more directly, “Why exactly are we doing this?” I’m grateful for these questions, and for this opportunity to share with you a bit of where we’ve been and where we’re going.

Both of my children, Simon ‘15 and Sadie ‘18 attended Giddens and this year they entered high school and middle school respectively. Always, but particularly, in this moment of transition, I am grateful for the foundation that Giddens provided. Giddens grounded them academically. Giddens set the building blocks that have allowed them to be who they are. Giddens helped them not only see, but understand, the importance of community, of diversity, and of standing up for their own sense of what is right. For me, the essential reason for Giddens to secure its own home is so that other families and children have access, well into the future, to the same educational opportunities as Simon and Sadie.

To ensure such a future, we count on the power of partnership. To say that the decision to invest in a new facility was not made lightly is an understatement. In 2016, Giddens and Lake Washington Girls Middle School each separately faced multi-million dollar investments to upgrade the 100+-year-old buildings that we lease from the Archdiocese of Seattle. Faced with these and other costs, the schools discussed, planned, deliberated, and ultimately seized an opportunity to bring two socially and economically diverse schools together under one roof. As partners, we will share core services (gymnasium, lunchroom, common and outdoor areas, upkeep), together we will amplify our common commitment to social justice, and we will ensure an exciting long-term future for both schools.

After initiating the project and in parallel with fundraising efforts from philanthropic individuals and organizations, we envisioned a campus that would become home to two other like-minded nonprofits. With excitement, we engaged JazzED and Capitol Hill Housing. They purchased a portion of the original parcel and are collaborating to develop the space adjacent to the schools for music education and affordable housing. While this sale helped us to fund our construction project, when we step back and consider the future, what we can see is a rich, vibrant campus of organizations that will serve children and families in the immediate community and beyond.

Partnership is powerful. We couldn’t nor would we want to go it alone. Sharing our combined resources – financial, material, and intellectual – allows us to deepen, expand, and sustain our reach. It enables Giddens to stay true to its values of equity and access and diversity and inclusion. When I imagine a future, I am excited by a reality in which families ten years from now and beyond can choose Giddens and be assured that their children will thrive in a school committed to the idea that being educated is to be known, seen, and understood as someone who knows, who cares and who does.

Amy Bresslour