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Lifelong Friendships Fuel Meaningful Action

Lifelong Friendships Fuel Meaningful Action

In the spring of 2010, a group of Dana Hall alumnae from the Classes of 1977 and 1978 met in New York City for dinner. It was the inaugural event of the MADAMES (Middle-Age Dana Alums, Meeting, Eating & Sharing). 
In 2017 Marylou Wellbrock-Reeves ’77 came to the group with a personal appeal to start an endowed fund to ensure that domestic boarding students in need of financial aid can attend Dana Hall. Inspired by her words, the group launched the MADAMES Fund over Peking Duck in New York City’s Chinatown. And now, seven years after they initiated their fundraising efforts, the MADAMES’ Fund has met and exceeded its initial $100,000 goal, which means it has cleared the threshold set by the School for dispersing money generated by the fund. 

“As a financial advisor, I have helped clients put together a way to memorialize their love of something — whether it’s a scholarship or endowment,” said Wellbrock-Reeves. “I love this group of women, I love Dana Hall, and I thought why aren’t we doing something that honors that love? We were all boarding students. We came from different backgrounds. We wanted other young women to have that same experience.”

Though the original MADAMES group was based in New York City, contributions have come in from near and far, including Elizabeth Browning Riley ’77 in Kansas and Susan Miller Copperman ’77 in Florida. Copperman knows that not everyone has the kind of fond memories of their high school experience that she and her Dana Hall friends have been lucky to enjoy. “So much of who I am today was directly influenced by my experiences at Dana Hall,” she noted. “It was there that I first realized that I am an independent person, and I can be who I want to be.” Copperman is particularly proud that her mother, Harriet Miller P77, chose to support the fund, along with alumnae from the Classes of 1977, 1978 and 1981 and a former faculty member. 

The goal of the MADAMES’ Fund is to remove financial barriers and provide the means for students who are accepted to take part in the Dana Hall boarding experience. Though the COVID-19 pandemic shifted the in-person MADAMES gatherings to virtual ones and slowed their fundraising efforts, the group is still in close contact and remains determined to expand the fund’s impact and ensure that it can exist in perpetuity. Wellbrock-Reeves is clear about their goals. “We have so much more work to do. We want this fund to grow,” she stated. “We need everyone to see our vision, because we don’t want this to be a fund that just gives out a small amount each year. We want to accomplish big things with this fund. Even if you don’t know me, or the others who have contributed, please consider making a donation.”  

If you would like to contribute to the MADAMES Fund or are interested in establishing a restricted fund as part of the Fearless Futures campaign, please contact Chief Advancement Officer Christie Baskett

In the photo: MADAMES members Xanda McCagg ’78, Amie Block-Ratajczak ’78, Susan Miller Copperman ’77 and Marylou Wellbrock-Reeves ’77