As a family, we represent every constituency that Oakwood serves—faculty and staff, students, parents and alumni. Oakwood has given me a most fulfilling profession in college counseling; Jojo ’20 and Clara ’22 their K-12 educations; and Michael an amazing volunteer experience serving on Oakwood’s Board of Trustees.
As Oakwood parents for sixteen years, Michael and I experienced, again and again, the joy and the privilege of witnessing those moments (and there were many!) when our girls were seen, appreciated, loved and inspired by a brilliant faculty.
Choosing to include Oakwood in our wills—providing a legacy gift that will help to ensure that Oakwood remains a special place for future generations of faculty, students and families—was one of the easiest decisions Michael and I have ever made.
From the moment I stepped on campus in 1992 to work in the Advancement Office, I was aware that Oakwood’s existence as an institution was only possible because of gifts that families had made generations before I arrived.
What’s more, they were gifts given long after their daily association with the school ended, gifts that would benefit families they would never know. Our hope is that others who want to ensure that the Oakwood experience is available for generations to come will join us in this effort to guarantee a future for this most amazing place.
Alex Susman, Board of Trustees Chair
Rafi ’29, Ezra ’26
When a group of passionate Oakwood high school seniors presented Oakwood’s Board of Trustees with an Environmental Impact Report, one trustee and his family decided it was time to make some big changes. Inspired by these students, Arpita & Brian Diamond, Jake ’29, Sophia ’23, established an endowed fund to benefit Oakwood’s sustainability initiatives and to work toward a more eco-friendly community.
This story begins with an amazing group of high school seniors who voluntarily created an Environmental Impact Report, which revealed Oakwood’s carbon footprint. They brought this information to the Head of School and Board of Trustees, of which I was a member. Unyielding in their efforts, they were able to convince the board to create the Oakwood Sustainability Working Group: a group of students, administrators, parents, and trustees tasked with studying the report and making strides to create a more sustainable Oakwood. These seniors were educating and inspiring others to make real changes to their lifestyles in an effort to reduce global warming. I joined the task force and met with these students and others regularly. I was blown away by their passion and understood their frustration as they tried to encourage the school to install solar panels on the roof of North Campus. I remember getting off of that zoom and feeling as impassioned and frustrated as those students.
I sat down with my wife Arpita and we discussed how we could support them. With global warming reports in the headlines, my whole family felt uneasy about the state of our planet. It was with this inspiration, and in the spirit of the Oakwood Statement of Philosophy, that Arpita and I started thinking about endowing a fund to support the wills and desires of these students, who moved us both with their thoughts, teachings, and feelings. As Oakwood’s Statement of Philosophy states: “We believe that teachers and learners should inspire one another, a school must be rewarding in its own right, and that young people’s feelings and thoughts should be accorded respect and dignity.”
We couldn’t think of any way better to honor and empower these students than to give a gift of $50,000 to buy Oakwood’s first-ever solar panels and $250,000 to create the Arpita & Brian Diamond Sustainability Fund. This endowed fund will support sustainability initiatives and assist Oakwood in meeting its goal of creating a zero carbon footprint. With global warming posing a significant threat to us all, we hope that this fund will continue to amplify those students’ voices and highlight the important changes we must make to build a more sustainable future. In the future, it will support solar panels, composting, gardening projects, sustainable water fountains, and it will allow for more eco-friendly construction projects at Oakwood. We hope our fund will continue to support Oakwood’s commitment to sustainability for many years to come and that all of its uses align with the vision of the exceptional Oakwood seniors who inspired us to take action. Arpita and I also hope it inspires others to live a more balanced, carbon-neutral life. While we don’t know what the future holds, we do know that we can work together to create a better future for our planet and the generations of humans to come.
Nancy Leptuch Virrey, Director of Advancement
We extend our heartfelt appreciation to those who, throughout Oakwood’s rich history, have established endowed funds, thereby securing our enduring growth and prosperity well into the future. Our gratitude also extends to the generous contributors who continue to nurture and strengthen these funds, extending their impact.