by Vince Anch
This school year has brought a lot of excitement and new faces to our schools.
Enrollment is up again especially for the CEF schools. This school year has also brought a record amount of requests for financial assistance scholarships from families in need. The good news is that there is growing interest from parents wanting to send their children to Catholic schools. The bad news is that there are not enough donations to meet the need.
Interest in Catholic education has increased for many reasons. Once again, Catholic schools scored higher than public schools this past year on standardized math and reading assessment tests. Parents want their children to get the best possible education and feel that Catholic schools are the best option. Parents also want their children to grow in their faith and want to put their children in safe and nurturing environments. Catholic schools meet these needs while also helping to build strong families and strong communities.
There are over 330 children currently in need of financial assistance scholarships. This is the most ever. Economic factors like inflation and high interest rates are making it very difficult for families to make ends meet. CEF is working extremely hard to help families in need but is facing some challenges.
According to a recent Giving USA report, this past year charitable giving decreased by 10.5% across the country. This was only the fourth decline in over 40 years. More concerning is that the number of people who gave to charities last year decreased by 14%. The Catholic Education Foundation was not immune to these trends, which are expected to continue this year.
With the need for scholarships increasing and donations not keeping pace, there is a gap.
CEF has a great opportunity to bridge this gap. Some generous families have offered a special challenge opportunity to increase giving for scholarships. Every dollar donated to the CEF’s upcoming “Gaudeamus” (“Let Us Rejoice”) dinner will be matched. One hundred percent of donations will go directly to CEF’s scholarships and no administrative costs. Donors do not need to attend the dinner to have their donations matched. Donations can be made online at: cef gala.org, or by calling (913) 647-0344.
Last year, CEF awarded over $4.1 million in scholarships to 1,769 students. This year’s need for scholarships totals approximately $4.7 million for over 2,000 students in need. CEF hopes to end this school year knowing that over 300 new students were able to attend a Catholic school and meet their academic and spiritual goals.