Catholic Schools Foundation raises funds for Ukrainian refugee students
You can help Ukrainian refugees in our Catholic schools
BOSTON -- The Mosakowski Family Foundation, in cooperation with the Catholic Schools Foundation, has made a gift of $100,000 to give tuition assistance to local students whose families were displaced by the war in Ukraine. Additionally, they have pledged to match up to $50,000 in donations for CSF's emergency fund, which will be used to support families in crisis.
When the war between Russia and Ukraine broke out, CSF had already allocated most of its scholarship and emergency funding. Since then, cities like Boston and Lynn have seen an influx of Ukrainian refugees, and many Catholic schools have reached out to CSF expressing an increasing need to support those who want to enroll their children in Catholic schools.
"Unfortunately, as the Ukrainian crisis has unfolded and economic challenges persist, CSF has not been able to fully meet the demand for support. This gift will allow CSF to respond to these needs better and on a larger scale" said Michael Reardon, executive director of CSF.
Speaking to The Pilot on Oct. 21, Reardon said the impact of the war on families has been "fairly profound," and that the need has been "greater than we anticipated."
"We have many students and families (from Ukraine) who have come to this area, and they're really seeking stability. And what they've found is that the Catholic schools are offering them that stability," Reardon said.
He said they at CSF feel obligated to do whatever they can to assist in that.
"As we think about the Gospel, this is where we should be, at the margins, trying to respond to this crisis situation with openness and love. So, the generosity of the Mosakowski Family Foundation is allowing us to reach out and to make sure that we can be available and help the schools respond as we should," Reardon said.
In the press release, the Mosakowski Family Foundation said they currently support schools in Poland, which have received hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian students.
"As many families from Ukraine now reach our own shores, we knew it was time to do the same in the Boston area. We are grateful to have CSF lead this initiative," they said.
Jamie Gigliotti, executive director of external affairs at St. Mary's High School, has interacted with multiple Ukrainian families in Lynn. St. Mary's initially enrolled three siblings at the end of the previous school year. Over the summer, they worked with the New American Association of Massachusetts, and ended up enrolling five more Ukrainian students. The City of Lynn helped them arrange for an English as a Second Language teacher to support the students.
Gigliotti said the families appreciate the support they have received, but also wonder if it will continue next year.
She said it is "amazing" to be able to tell them that it will.
"We try to do that for all of our students, we really try to make sure we're meeting the need and make St. Mary's affordable and accessible to all families who want a St. Mary's education, but these folks really have such extenuating circumstances that we're going above and beyond to make sure they have a place to be safe and to learn and to be happy. It's an unfortunate situation that they're here, but we're trying to help them make the best of an unfortunate situation," Gigliotti said.
Dr. John Dolan, head of St. Mary High School, said that while there are many things in Scripture he cannot relate to, like performing miracles, one story he does relate to is the parable of the Good Samaritan.
"You find someone in need, you get them a place to stay, you come back and check on them. That's something we can all relate to and make part of our life," he said.
He applauded the work of CSF and their willingness to expedite the process of providing funds for Ukrainian students.
"We couldn't have told those families the great news that we've got funding for you without their support and without them acting quickly," he said.
The matching campaign to support Ukrainian refugees and CSF's emergency fund will end on Oct. 31. However, Reardon confirmed that donations can still be made after the deadline.
"So many people are trying to figure out, 'How do you help those impacted by the war in Ukraine,' and this is a very direct way to provide a continuation of the education of these students, and also provide a place of stability and support during a time of extraordinary upheaval," Reardon said.
Contributions can be made at www.csfboston.org/ukraine.