Doors to Discovery FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Together, we are embarking on a mission-driven campaign that will leave an incredible legacy for generations to come. Thank you for your help, leadership, and support of our wonderful school!

  • How did Overlake decide on the Whitten Math & Sciences Center, financial aid endowment, and Welcome & Discovery Center for the Doors to Discovery capital campaign?

These three projects were critical pillars of the school's strategic plan, Overlake@50, to fulfill our long-term vision and priorities to address the need for: 1) improved and expanded space for our math, science, and computer science programs; 2) increased socioeconomic diversity; and 3) a new flexible, multi-purpose space to bring our community together in new and meaningful ways.

  • Is the fundraising complete for the Whitten Math & Sciences Center?
    Yes. We have completed fundraising for this project and are so grateful to all our donors who are investing in our future through this transformational effort. Since the building opened in Spring 2021, it has become the popular, thriving hub on campus. New classes and sections are now offered that weren't possible before, especially in the stunning Idea Lab, and the Robotics Team now has a permanent home. It is truly an incredible facility for teaching and learning.

  • Why does Overlake's endowment for financial aid need to increase? 
    Increasing our endowment for financial aid is critical to fulfilling our mission-based goals of providing greater accessibility and inclusivity, as well as increasing the number of students on financial aid from 10% to 15% and eventually 20%+. Growing our financial aid endowment from an initial $2 million to $11 million will also ensure that we are able to meet 100% of the demonstrated need of students who otherwise would not be able to attend Overlake. In additional to tuition assistance, we will also be able to fully fund the cost of attendance for families, including transportation, textbooks, technology, trips, and more - making the entire Overlake experience possible for more students and families from our community.
  • Why is socioeconomic diversity important?
    A student body diverse in backgrounds, outlooks, and life experiences kindles critical thinking and deepens discussions in the classroom, strengthening the education for all Owls. Great leaders are also great problem solvers. And solving complex problems increasingly requires the skills to collaborate with people of all situations, viewpoints, and circumstances from across the world. Financial aid unlocks this diversity and creates a stronger learning environment for each and every Owl. Moreover, research (including Forbes, Harvard Business Review, McKinsey, and more) has shown that the most effective learning and decision-making happens when people come together from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. Investing in Overlake's financial aid endowment is essential to providing a world-class education for the entire student body.
  • How is Overlake going to increase socioeconomic diversity? 
    The Admission Office is working hard to increase its outreach, including connecting with local nonprofits, hosting regular Owl Talks about financial aid for prospective families, expanding communications and advertising in new markets, hosting online school fairs, and more. Additionally, the team is endeavoring to make the overall financial aid application process easier for families. 
  • Can I create a named endowed scholarship fund?
    Yes. Named endowed scholarship funds begin at $100,000 and can be in honor of family, a loved one, or someone who made a meaningful difference in your student's life.
  • What is an endowment?
    An endowment is like a large investment account, carefully managed to maximize return, for eternity. Each year a portion of the earnings is spent to support programs like financial aid and school operations; the remainder of the money in the account (also known as the "corpus") is reinvested so that the corpus continues to grow. The investment objective of the school is to maximize the long-term total return of endowment assets, subject to appropriate risk limits. The Board of Trustees is charged to administer Overlake's endowment, held in a diversified portfolio actively managed by JP Morgan. 

  • Why does Overlake need a new Welcome & Discovery Center?
    The Welcome & Discovery Center will be the new home for our community. It will both transform our campus' entry and include a 250-seat multipurpose space for gatherings, meetings, events, and functions for everyone in our community. From admission events for prospective families, to parent/guardian meetings, socials, guest speakers, college counseling programs, memorable student events, alumni reunions, and so much more, it will bring our community together in new and meaningful ways. It will also include new collaborative spaces and administrative offices so that our professional staff can serve students at the highest level.
  • When will the Welcome & Discovery Center open?
    King County has already approved our CUP (Conditional Use Permit); our goal is to break ground in 2024 before our permits with the county expire that year. The precise timing of the building's opening is dependent on receiving a minimum of $5 million in gifts and pledges. 
  • Will the building be sustainable built?
    Yes. Our architecture firm Mithun incorporated sustainable materials in all their designs for Overlake; the Welcome & Discovery Center would be able to qualify for LEED status with the capability for solar energy.  

  • Will there be a permanent donor wall?
    Yes. All donors, at every level, are included on the donor wall, currently displayed in the lobby of the Whitten Math & Sciences Center. Leadership donors are distinguished from participation donors by the size and color of tiles. The donor wall will be updated throughout the campaign. Please note donors must have fulfilled 75% of their pledge to be included on the donor wall at the conclusion of the campaign. 
  • Can donors choose which phase to support?
    Yes, donors may choose to support either financial aid endowment or facilities. 
  • Who supports Doors to Discovery?
    We have 100% participation from the Board of Trustees and Campaign Steering Committee in gifts and pledges. More than 300 donors have contributed to date with gifts ranging from $10 to $10 million, and our entire community is invited to participate. 
  • Will the Overlake Fund continue during Doors to Discovery?
    Yes. The Overlake Fund has a different annual goal and purpose than capital campaign. The Overlake Fund is our annual fundraising initiative that provides ~5% of our current operating budget and directly supports all our students, faculty, and programs each year. Our capital campaign is a special effort to fulfill our strategic plan goals and address critical facilities and financial aid needs that will benefit Overlake for generations to come. We ask our community to consider their campaign gifts "above and beyond" their support of the Overlake Fund, and request that donors not reduce their essential Overlake Fund gifts while the campaign is underway. We are thankful and appreciative of our many Doors to Discovery donors who choose to make multi-year gifts to maximize their impact and leverage company matching gifts.