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Shaping Our World Goals
Beginning with the founding of Lenox (1916) and Birch Wathen (1921), and maintained with dedication since the two schools merged in 1991, The Birch Wathen Lenox School has taken the next important and most exciting step in its history with the Shaping Our World Capital Program. Created after a long-range planning process to identify and apply the BWL family’s collective vision for the future of the School, The Shaping Our World Capital Program financed the creation of an improved facility commensurate with the superior academic program at Birch Wathen Lenox.
The Board of Trustees, faculty, over 200 families, alumni and student representatives contributed vital ideas regarding the changes needed to enhance the continued excellence of a BWL education. Three primary goals emerged from the planning process to form the foundation for this campaign:
• Increased classroom space
• Larger and improved spaces for performing arts, athletics and common
meeting facilities
• Preservation of enrollment at current levels

Through extensive building enhancement, the facilities that were renovated included:

• BWL Commons
• Four Reading and Math Labs
• Middle/Upper School and Lower School Libraries
• Three Science Laboratories
• Center for Learning and Technology
• Expanded Gymnasium
• Five Art Studios
• Two Performing Arts Studios
• Photography Lab
• 28 additional Classrooms
• Meeting Room and Faculty Study
• Administrative Offices

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

Q: What is the difference between the Shaping Our World Capital Program and the School’s Annual Fund?

A: When you make a gift to the Annual Fund at BWL, you are making a gift that will be spent during the fiscal year in which you make your gift. Your gift supports the School’s ongoing operating needs. Gifts to the Annual Fund benefit virtually every aspect of life at BWL. Examples of how an Annual Fund gift may be spent include library purchases, financial aid, science lab supplies and equipment for physical education classes.

Gifts to the Capital Program are gifts made in addition to the Annual Fund to support specific goals, programs and projects identified by the Board of Trustees as part of the School’s long-range plans. Beyond BWL’s need for annual operating support is the need to plan and provide for the school’s long-term financial health and academic vitality.

Q: Will the School increase its enrollment with the addition of new space created by the expansion?

A: No. The enrollment at Birch Wathen Lenox will remain at its present level as per the mandate of the School’s long-range planning process.

Q: How do I make a gift to the Shaping Our World Capital Program?

A: You can make a gift to Shaping Our World by clicking on “Supporting BWL” on the home page of BWL’s website. To make a gift by phone, call Janine Karbon and Elizabeth Leventhal in the Development Office at (212) 861-0404.

Q: Are gifts to the Capital Program tax deductible?

A: Yes. Pursuant to IRS provisions on acknowledging charitable gifts, the Alumni and Development Office confirms that the School did not provide any goods or services in exchange for your gift.

Q: Do all independent schools have Capital Programs?

A: Yes, all schools must make capital improvements that require fundraising campaigns.

Q: What is the admissions profile at Birch Wathen Lenox?

A: In a typical year, BWL considers more than 400 candidates to fill the openings from Kindergarten though Grade 12.

Q: With which schools does Birch Wathen Lenox compete in the admissions process?

A: Because of an academic program that appeals to a superior pool of prospective students and their families, The Birch Wathen Lenox School shares its applicant pool with an elite group of institutions, from large schools such as Dalton, Trinity and Horace Mann; to similarly sized schools such as The Town School, Allen Stevenson and Nightingale; and boarding schools such as Groton, Miss Porter’s and Lawrenceville. 

As we embark upon Phase Two of Shaping Our World, with ten million raised to date, our ability to continually assess the needs of the School while maintaining our high educational standards hinges on your generous participation. Our vision for the future is not to enroll a larger student body, but rather to enhance our School as it continues to respond with dynamism and flexibility to the challenges and demands of a new decade.
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