The need for the Catholic Schools Scholarship Appeal is greater than ever.
“This year because of the coronavirus pandemic and the suspension of public Masses, some of the parishes experienced a decrease in their offertory collections,” Catholic school superintendent Theresa Hall said. “Because of this, many of the schools will not receive as much in subsidy from their church.”
Hall said schools also increased expenses for cleaning and sanitizing their buildings and bought and upgraded technology to offer virtual learning.
“Schools have to be more creative in their fundraising efforts,” she said. “In the past, many have hosted dinners with live and silent auctions or carnival activities, but because of the need to social distance these events look different, which might or might not bring in the donations that are budgeted for the school year.”
The diocesan appeal, which started in 2013, is kicking off Nov. 14-15. Past donors will receive a letter from Hall and a donation envelope to ask them for their support again.
Of the 6,143 students in Catholic schools, Hall said 1,640 students qualified for tuition assistance during this school year. The gap between what the families requested and what the schools were able to offer is widening. The schools were only able to contribute $1.2 million for tuition assistance, but the qualified need totaled $3.4 million this year.
Hall said other assistance for tuition comes from foundations or endowments, the Alliance for Choice Education program, the state’s Succeed Scholarship and individual donors.
The Catholic Schools Offices is asking Catholics around the state to help close the gap of $465,000 this year.
In 2019 the diocese was able to send $42,000 for 54 students in 10 schools with the greatest needs. Each family received between $500 and $1,000 in tuition help.
The students attend Blessed Sacrament in Jonesboro; Christ the King and Immaculate Conception in Fort Smith; St. John in Hot Springs; St. Joseph in Fayetteville; Immaculate Heart of Mary in North Little Rock; St. Paul in Pocahontas; St. Joseph in Conway; St. Joseph in Paris; and St. John in Russellville.
A tax-deductible donation can be sent to Catholic Schools Scholarship Appeal, Diocese of Little Rock, P.O. Box 7565, Little Rock, AR 72217-7565. Secure online donations can be made at dolr.org/online-giving.
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