Anne Steele, who started taking classes at the Seattle school in 2000 and even joined the board of trustees, already has a gallery named for her in the school. Her newest donation will help with scholarships and youth programs.

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When Gage Academy of Art board member David Dwyer first met Anne Steele in 2003, he connected the woman standing in front of him to Gage’s third-floor gallery, which bears her name.

Steele did not exactly welcome the recognition.

“She was very shy about that,” Dwyer, the board’s development chairman, said of the encounter. “She was very modest.”

Steele’s modesty hasn’t stopped her from giving to the Capitol Hill art school. The former student and current trustee recently finalized a $1 million endowment to the academy, the first such gift for Gage.

“Art changes lives,” Steele said in a statement, issued through Gage. She declined to comment for this story. “I’m thrilled to be part of making that happen and I’m excited that this gift sets a strong foundation for Gage as it enters the threshold of its next 25 years as an arts school and a cultural organization.”

The endowment will go toward a variety of things, including scholarships, low-cost youth programs and finding and retaining teaching artists.

“The endowment is kind of like the compost in the garden; it feeds everything, but it’s a slow burn,” said Gary Faigin, co-founder and artistic director at Gage.

The nonprofit academy will still rely on donations for operations.

Steele’s endowment was discussed over the course of three years, and she joined the board of trustees to become more familiar with the school’s inner workings. She started taking classes at Gage in 2000.

“She’s become so involved with the school, she’s become almost like family,” said Dwyer, who helped work on the endowment with Steele. “If I had to describe Anne, I would say she’s very generous and thoughtful.”

Gage Academy, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, enrolls about 300 students per term, but has outgrown its 16,000-square foot, three-story building at 10th Avenue East. The endowment could go toward funding a new building in the next five years when the current lease is up, administrators say.

Information in this article, originally published Feb. 6, 2015, was corrected Feb. 6, 2015. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the number of students enrolled each term at Gage Academy.