Catholic Schools Foundation updates branding with focus on 'changing lives'

BRAINTREE -- While its nearly four-decade-old core mission of providing key support for Catholic school students and their families remains the same, the Catholic Schools Foundation (CSF) is updating its branding to ensure that mission is more fully understood by donors and the public.

Last week, the CSF unveiled an updated logo and tagline, and a new name for their signature scholarship program to better reflect their mission: impacting the lives of students, families, and communities by supporting Catholic schools.

The CSF raises funds for scholarships and programming to enable students from low-income backgrounds to attend Catholic schools. The foundation's signature program, the Inner-City Scholarship Fund, has been renamed the Building Minds Scholarship Fund.

The foundation's new logo depicts a student raising a hand, as though answering a question or reaching for the sky. Their slogan, which previously was "Building Minds, Changing Lives," has been updated to "We Change Lives."

Michael Reardon, the executive director of the CSF, said the organization had discussed modernizing their branding for several years. The conversation first centered on their identity and work, and then determining whether those attributes were being fully represented in their messaging.

"It really was a question of, visually and functionally, are we showing the world what we do, and did our previous logo and our previous tagline make it clear?" Reardon said.

They hired a consultant and conducted surveys among employees and trustees. During this process, the words "we change lives" came up again and again.

Reardon explained that they were not only thinking of this in terms of the lives of individual students, but also their families and communities.

"Catholic schools are anchors in the community. So, we change communities; we change families. The scholarship support provided to these young people is going to forever change the trajectory of not just their life but the lives of their families and the generations to come," he said.

Reardon said it was hard to tell, from the previous logo and tagline, what the CSF was about.

"We wanted to make sure it's very clear that we're about kids," he said.

The new name for the CSF's signature scholarship program came about unexpectedly, as a result of their market research. They found that the term "inner-city" did not resonate well, and they realized that it did not necessarily describe where they operate now, as demographics have changed over time. They wanted to reframe it in a positive way, focusing on the opportunity that the CSF provides.

The CSF grew out of St. Anthony's Scholarship Fund, which was established in 1983. At that time, Reardon said, the challenge they faced was how to provide opportunities for children to attend Catholic high schools. In the four decades since, the changing structures of parishes and the decline of vocations to religious life have posed new challenges for the Catholic schools.

Now, the CSF focuses on providing scholarship support and, in turn, creating a sustainable network of Catholic schools.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the CSF set up an emergency fund and turned to their annual donors for increased support.

Gina Rindfleisch, the foundation's director of development, said they raised about $800,000 in additional funds during the first year of the pandemic.

"We were so happy that we had all these loyal, committed supporters that would give above and beyond their already annual giving to support these children through this emergency that COVID brought onto the world," Rindfleisch said.

Reardon said the last two years "have shown, more than ever, the extraordinary impact of Catholic schools."

"We want to make sure that we are demonstrating that very actively and we are inviting more people to see the extraordinary value provided, both to the individual students and families but also to the wider community of Catholic schools," Reardon said.

The CSF's 32nd annual celebration and fundraiser is scheduled for April 7, with the hope of holding it as an in-person event for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

At last year's celebration, the CSF honored the archdiocese's Catholic school teachers with the Carolyn and Peter Lynch Award in recognition of their dedicated work during the pandemic.

Reardon told The Pilot that the CSF "couldn't be more proud to partner with the Catholic schools and teachers and principals."

"This brand is about demonstrating what they do each day, which is lifting kids up," he said.

More information about the Catholic Schools Foundation is available at