... with a renewed hope in the future for Catholic schools, the Catholic Schools Foundation has refreshed its look and also renamed the signature fundraising program.
Crisis creates clarity. Noise shifts to the background and the task at hand becomes obvious. This is certainly true in the case of Catholic education over these last two years. It has become quite clear that the impact of a Catholic education, especially among the most vulnerable in our community, is profound. There is no question that Catholic schools are anchors in the community, places of hope and high expectation. Catholic schools change lives.
The Catholic Schools Foundation (CSF) exists for one purpose, to provide access to a high-quality Catholic education for students and families. Amidst the backdrop of 7 percent inflation and the lingering impacts of the pandemic, the work of CSF is more impactful than ever. Families rely on CSF to help provide assistance so their children can receive a high-quality education -- an education that shapes the mind, heart, and soul. An education gives students a better opportunity in life.
Since 1983, the Catholic Schools Foundation has been committed to this mission of providing access to Catholic education, and through the signature fundraising program the Inner City Scholarship Fund since 1991. In those almost 40 years, tens of thousands of students have benefitted from the generosity of donors who know that a Catholic education is good for the student, is good for the family, and is good for the community. Catholic Schools were originally built on the vision and personal sacrifice of the thousands of religious sisters and brothers who gave their lives to this work. These women and men laid a foundation for the future and created opportunity and access for all families who desired a Catholic education. The sisters and brothers were a living endowment, giving their lives in service to others and ensuring a Catholic education was within reach for families regardless of their means.
As the numbers of religious declined, the parishes continued to support schools. Parishes also were trying to respond to a decline in vocations, a decline in Mass attendance, and changing demographics. It has been a challenging 40 years for parish life and, in turn, the Catholic schools.
Laypeople have stepped forward to teach and lead in Catholic Schools. Donors have stepped forward to provide the resources previously made available by the gift of the religious communities who staffed schools and the parishes who supported them. Without these religious and the historic support of the parishes, there would be no Catholic education.
Reflecting on the changes over the last 40 years, some feel a sense of loss. A loss of a time of robust parishes, filled with multiple priests, and an order of sisters staffing the local school. Neighborhoods that were once filled with children have been transformed into condos with one or two people occupying apartments that once held five, six, seven, or more people. The neighborhoods have changed, our Church has changed. However, we must believe the Spirit is at work. We must believe in the hope of the Resurrection. God is present in all of these changes.
In response to these changes and with a renewed hope in the future for Catholic schools, the Catholic Schools Foundation has refreshed its look and also renamed the signature fundraising program. Moving forward, the Inner City Scholarship Fund will be known as the Building Minds Scholarship Fund. As we look ahead, we leave behind the outdated verbiage of "Inner City." The new name is a reflection of the changing demographics of our region and the real focus on our work -- helping to build the minds of young people and giving them the opportunity of a life-changing Catholic education.
CSF will have a new look and a firmer resolve to ensure that the life-changing opportunity a Catholic education provides is available for generations to come. This bright future will be possible because of those who have stepped forward as teachers, school leaders, donors, and advocates. People who believe in the work of Catholic schools and give of themselves and their resources. With the help of these incredible supporters, the Catholic Schools Foundation will help more children realize their full potential. The future of Catholic education is bright because Catholic schools matter and are too important to let slip away. Catholic Schools Change Lives.
To support this bright future and to see the Catholic Schools Foundation's new look, visit CSFBoston.org.
- Michael B. Reardon is executive director of the Catholic Schools Foundation, www.CSFBoston.org.
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