Foundations to Explore Sustainable Partnerships For Catholic Schools of The Future/ FADICA to Honor Big Shoulders Fund

Washington, DC – – Private foundations sharing an interest in new approaches to Catholic school financing and governance will meet next month to hear how several dioceses have fostered a more cooperative approach to the future of their Catholic schools.

The conference, part of FADICA’s 35th annual meeting, will feature a keynote presentation by Bishop William E. Lori of the Diocese of Bridgeport.

The Bridgeport Diocese is one of several dioceses which is taking a more proactive role in centralizing the management and support for its Catholic schools, monitoring their quality, and insuring that all parishes are involved in the school apostolate.

This gathering of grant makers will also hear from Boston College President William P. Leahy, S.J., on the success of a Catholic school partnership between B.C. and the Archdiocese of Boston.

Father Leahy will share what he has learned through a joint effort to reinvigorate Saint Columbkille School located in the Brighton section of Boston, Massachusetts.

In 2006, an historic Catholic School partnership established a new governance model for Saint Columbkille School—the first of its kind for Catholic education in the United States.

Saint Columbkille Parish, the Archdiocese of Boston, and have combined their resources in educational leadership, finance and enrollment management, student development, academic practice and research, facilities management, and religious formation to create a flagship Catholic school in Boston and a new national model of excellence in Catholic elementary education.

The partnership resources have made possible ongoing physical plant improvements, increased financial aid, and graduate training for all eligible faculty fully sponsored by the Boston College Lynch School of Education. Educational experts coordinated by Boston College faculty are collaborating at the school around state-of-the-art approaches to teaching from the early childhood program through middle school, using evidence-based research curriculum to teach math, science, literacy, and other subjects, as well as, working with bilingual students and children with moderate special needs.

The FADICA conference will also listen to new partnerships and collaborative approaches in the Archdioceses of New York, Chicago, and Atlanta that are showing promise for the future of urban based Catholic education.

The 35th annual gathering of the network of Catholic philanthropists will include a tribute to Chicago’s Big Shoulders Fund. Representatives of the Fund, will receive The Charles Carroll Award in Catholic Philanthropy, FADICA’s highest honor.

The Big Shoulders Fund was begun by a group of Chicago business leaders with the encouragement of the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.

Big Shoulders provides assistance to Catholic elementary and high schools in Chicago’s low-income communities. 100% of the funds raised by Big Shoulders are given to its schools to support a variety of educational mediums, including scholarships, special education programming, instructional equipment, facility improvements, faculty development, and operating grants. Nearly one third of the students benefitting from the Fund’s innovative work are not Catholic.

Currently Big Shoulders serves 75 elementary schools and 17 high schools enrolling 25,000 students.

The FADICA Conference, entitled: Built To Last, Sustainable Partnerships for Catholic Schools of the Future is one of several forums sponsored by the philanthropic association annually to foster cooperation and interaction among major Catholic donors and philanthropies.