Got a hundred million bucks to spare? The Archdiocese of Los Angeles has a good way to use it, with an ambitious plan to support its schools.
From the Los Angeles Times:
Dwindling enrollment and other challenges have decimated urban Catholic schools nationwide, but a high-profile initiative to raise $100 million in tuition assistance may allow thousands of children to continue attending schools in the Los Angeles Archdiocese and save those schools from extinction.
The initiative, headed by former Los Angeles mayor Richard Riordan, will ask supporters to make provisions in their trusts or wills for the archdiocese’s Catholic Education Foundation, which already awards thousands of grants annually to needy students. Riordan was the founding president of the foundation in 1987 and is a longtime supporter of education-related causes.
It is estimated that the two-year campaign will aid an additional 5,000 students annually, said Kathleen Anderson, the foundation’s executive director.
“We have so many kids that need to be supported in our Catholic schools, and they don’t have the financial means because their parents are living below the poverty line,” Anderson said.
The foundation awarded 7,300 grants for the current academic year, but there are 9,000 students on waiting lists, Anderson said.
The new initiative will help schools like Immaculate Conception Catholic School, a storied 93-year-old institution in the low-income Westlake neighborhood west of downtown, where paying for a parochial education is a struggle for many.
About 238 families at the school applied for tuition assistance, but only about half received grants, even though the others also met income qualifications, Principal Mary Ann Murphy said. Annual tuition is $2,820. The school reduces the amount for some low-income students and allows some parents to provide in-kind services in lieu of tuition.
“If we didn’t have the support of the foundation, I’m not sure we would be able to stay in operation,” Murphy said. “Students in Pico Westlake are very low-income, with parents that are working two or three jobs to afford tuition, which can be 10[%] to 15% of their overall income.”