Raffle gives shot at free college education

Did you ever think that you could get a college education for only $100? Well you can, with the help of the archdiocesan Sisters of St. Joseph.

The Sisters of St. Joseph have established the Educational Scholarship Campaign — a $100 raffle with a grand-prize of up to a $100,000 college scholarship — and are currently selling tickets. Each drawing is limited to 5,000 entries, and tickets will be sold until March 1.

The sisters, who administer several schools throughout the archdiocese, established the scholarship not only as a fundraiser for their ministries, but as a way to continue to provide avenues of education for the community.

“We were looking for new creative ways to fundraise for the congregation — something that would be within their charism and also something that they would be proud to attach their name to,” explained John Panarese, assistant director of development for the Sisters of St. Joseph in the archdiocese.

“There is nothing better than the gift of a lifetime, which is an education,” he continued. “The sisters have been involved in education for over 130 years in Greater Boston.”

Ultimately, both the winner of the scholarship and the sisters will benefit, said Panarese. “It’s a classic win-win,” he said.

Some participants, he said, have bought tickets because they want to win, others because they want to support the sisters.

“One fellow bought 27 tickets — one for each of his grandchildren. One woman bought 50 tickets, just because she wanted to support the sisters,” Panarese said. “So it goes both ways.”

The odds of winning are “fantastic,” said David W. Faulkner, director of development for the sisters. Participants will have a one in 5,000 chance of winning, if all the tickets are sold. Potentially the odds of winning could be “much better” if fewer tickets are sold, he continued.

The scholarship can be used to pay of for any legitimate educational-related expense and the scholarship recipient has up to 10 years to begin using it. The $100,000 will be payable up to $25,000 per year for four consecutive years. The scholarship can be used at any college, university or technical school, including post-graduate education. The scholarship can even be used to repay student loans.

The raffle winner does not have to be the recipient of the scholarship, organizers point out. For example, if a grandparent were to purchase the winning ticket, he could designate one grandchild to receive the scholarship. However, according the scholarship’s rules, it cannot be divided among multiple students.

Organizations, such as parishes, can also decide to buy tickets and give the scholarship to a parishioner, who has been active in the Church and local community, said Faulkner.

“It is another creative way to tune into your parishioners,” he stated. “If a parish wins this and gives it as a scholarship, it will probably be the highest paid scholarship by a parish in the country or in the world.”

“Kids who are looking at colleges are spending $65, $75, $100 per application,” noted Panarisi. “For another $100 they have the chance to go to school for nothing.”

Further information about the scholarship program is available at www.csjboston.org. Tickets can be purchased at the archdiocesan Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph, 637 Cambridge Street in Brighton, or by calling 617-746-2115 or 617-746-2113.

The winning entry will be drawn at noon on March 19 at the Motherhouse.