The Gunnery in Washington has received a $100,000 grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation to establish a Center for Ethics, Leadership, and Civic Engagement on campus.

The new center will expand upon The Gunnery’s longstanding commitment to character education, which stems from the ideals of school founder Frederick Gunn, while building on the success of The Gunnery’s LEADS Program, a four-year curriculum based on the mission of the school.

“The first pillar of Gunn’s vision for his eponymous school was ‘the importance of building character,’” said John C. Gulla, Executive Director of the Edward E. Ford Foundation.

“The E.E. Ford Foundation believes this is as true in 2019 as it was in 1850, and we are pleased and proud to be awarding a grant to The Gunnery to support the creation of an ‘integrated Center on Ethics, Leadership and Civic Engagement,’” Gulla said.

Edward E. Ford was the son of A. Ward Ford, who founded and developed a manufacturing business in Binghamton, N.Y., that ultimately became a part of International Business Machine Corporation, or IBM.

Educated at Mercersburg Academy and Princeton University, Edward served IBM in various capacities during his lifetime and was a member of IBM’s Board of Directors until his death in 1963.

He established The Edward E. Ford Foundation with a relatively small gift in 1957, and three years later infused it with additional resources to begin developing a program directed towards his major objective of improving the quality of education at independent secondary schools.

All grants from the foundation have a required matching component of at least one-to-one.

The grant received by The Gunnery requires a successful one-to-one match. To accomplish this goal, the school’s Alumni & Development Office must raise $100,000 in matching funds by July 31, 2020.

“We are extremely grateful to the Edward E. Ford Foundation board and John Gulla for choosing to award this grant to The Gunnery in support of redeveloping our LEADS Program through the establishment of the Center for Ethics, Leadership, and Civic Engagement,” said Head of School Peter Becker.

“This program will expand on Frederick Gunn’s vision for education in a way that applies to the 21st century,” Becker said. “We’re excited about the team that put together this vision, developed the grant application, and will continue to drive this project forward.”

In addition to Becker, the team includes Seth Low, Associate Head of School, Emily Gum, Assistant Head of School for Teaching and Learning, Jess Matthews, Dean of Students, and Bart McMann, who currently serves as History Department Chair and has been appointed director of the reconstituted center.

LEADS, which stands for Leadership for Ethical Engagement, Active Citizenship and Dedicated Service, was first introduced at The Gunnery in 2010.

The program impacts every student, from freshmen to seniors, with a four-year curriculum that augments the school’s broader efforts to help students develop character through the development of self-awareness, discussions on ethics and responsibility, training in public speaking, and active citizenship through an independent Senior Service Project.

“Character education is privileged above all at The Gunnery, across multiple channels, from the classroom to our athletic and co-curricular programs,” said Low.

“This grant will allow us to integrate our existing efforts and ultimately increase the learning outcomes around citizenship education for all of our students,” Low said. “We will be revamping our LEADS curriculum, and those students who are elected to positions of leadership, such as team captains, residential advisors and Prefects, will experience another layer of character development through their leadership training.”