CSAF partners with Aim Higher to benefit Catholic school students

| February 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

It simply made sense for the Catholic Services Appeal Foundation and Aim Higher Foundation to partner when their leaders saw how their scholarship-granting cycles aligned.

“We’re both doing the same thing. Our mission for both of us is to try to help as many children as possible who have financial need, to have the opportunity to attend a Catholic school,” Aim Higher President Jean Houghton said.

Aim Higher, a nonprofit in St. Paul that offers tuition support for Catholic school students, partnered with CSAF last year for a new scholarship program. With funds raised by the CSAF, Aim Higher administers $1,000 grants to the five students with the greatest financial need at each recipient Catholic school in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

“We’re delighted to be partners with them,” Houghton said of CSAF. “We think it’s a great way to not only form a long-term relationship, but we [also] have a shared mission. By increasing the visibility of this shared mission, it’s our hope that the entire community can help get behind the children that our Catholic schools serve.”

CSAF and Aim Higher hope to grow their efforts in this year’s campaign. Houghton said last year’s campaign helped Aim Higher distribute an additional $340,000 in scholarships.

But that’s a sliver of the actual need.

“If we were to meet their [the students’] needs, the need is over $20 million,” Houghton said. “It’s a little staggering.”

Aim Higher distributes the scholarship funds from CSAF to students identified by TADS, a Minneapolis-based financial aid organization. The scholarships are available to students of most Catholic schools in the archdiocese, with the exception of 11 inner-city Catholic schools that receive other funding from the CSAF.

Doug Ballinger, principal of St. Raphael Catholic School in Crystal, said the CSAF scholarship has made an impact.

“It is something that they [Catholic school families] greatly appreciate, not only because it’s financial, but [also because of] the care that has gone into such an award,” Ballinger said. “To know that Catholics are behind it just makes it a wonderful, wonderful thing for a family to have access to and to experience.”

Founded in 2011, Aim Higher has offered 5,500 scholarships for Catholic school students. Aim Higher still administers other $1,000 scholarships not tied to CSAF funding, but the ones funded by the CSAF expand Aim Higher’s reach. They also help Aim Higher’s visibility, Houghton said.

She sees the CSAF partnership as an opportunity to help the whole Catholic community in the archdiocese support Catholic education.

“Our ultimate hope is that together, we’re able to fund all the need,” Houghton said. “Of course, that will take a significant amount of assistance from everyone in the Catholic community to be able to do that.”

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