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GDS Receives $7.8 Million Gift—the Largest in the School’s History

GDS Receives $7.8 Million Gift—the Largest in the School’s History

Greensboro Day School has received a $7.8 million gift from the estate of Fred M. Kirby III, a former trustee and long-time benefactor of the school. The gift is the largest in the school’s 54-year history.

Over the last 30 years, the Kirby Family and the F.M. Kirby Foundation have been consistent and generous supporters of Greensboro Day School. Fred served on the Board of Trustees, and his wife Barbara was active for many years as a volunteer. To recognize and honor the legacy of support from the Kirby Family and the Kirby Foundation, in 2004 Greensboro Day School named its main administrative building The F. M. Kirby Administration Building. Their daughter, Leigh Kirby Klein, entered GDS in kindergarten and graduated in 2004. 

“My father didn’t grow up in North Carolina,” said Leigh Kirby Klein. “He was a transplant from New Jersey, but he grew to love Greensboro and Greensboro Day School. He treated the school as if it was his alma mater and was a strong supporter of the school’s role in the community. Even after I graduated in 2004, he loved keeping up with news from the school and staying connected to the GDS community.”

The Kirby Family and the Kirby Foundation have been steadfast and generous supporters of Greensboro Day School’s strategic priorities for many years. We are truly grateful for this historic gift and the Kirby Family’s long history of leadership and support.

Head of School Tracie Catlett

“A gift such as this can change the trajectory of an institution,” said Chief Philanthropy Officer Dr. Ian Patrick. “The gift was born out of many years of involvement by Fred and Barabara at Greensboro Day School, Leigh’s involvement as a student, and the caring and committed faculty who delivered, and still deliver, an outstanding educational experience.”

The gift from the Kirby estate comes nearly a year after the announcement of a $5 million gift from Jackie and Steve Bell—at the time the largest gift in the school’s history. These historic gifts provide tremendous momentum for the $27 million Be BOLD comprehensive campaign, announced in January 2023. The Be BOLD campaign includes three major capital projects, including a new Center for Student Life, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation, which will be the new central hub for the school and will include a new dining commons and centers for programs in entrepreneurship, design and the arts, engineering, robotics, public purpose, and student wellness. In addition to entrepreneurial incubator spaces, the Center will include an industrial makerspace that will accommodate textile design, woodworking, 3D printing, and welding. The Center will also include flexible, hands-on spaces allowing students to explore current and emerging technologies in robotics, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence.

The campaign also includes the Helen Monroe Preschool—scheduled to open in August 2024—campus security enhancements, and a new maintenance facility and tennis center restrooms. Still in the leadership phase, the Be BOLD campaign has raised 86% of its capital goal.