Foundation aims higher for tuition aid to students in need

| November 6, 2013 | 0 Comments
Isaiah Goodman speaks during the Aim Higher Foundation’s “Night of Light” celebration Nov. 1 at the Hilton in downtown Minneapolis.  Dianne Towalski/The Catholic Spirit

Isaiah Goodman speaks during the Aim Higher Foundation’s “Night of Light” celebration Nov. 1 at the Hilton in downtown Minneapolis. Dianne Towalski/The Catholic Spirit

Isaiah Goodman knows firsthand about the financial barriers that can prevent promising students from attending the school of their choice.

“I grew up in a family that didn’t have as much as those around me,” said Goodman, even though his father once played football for the Green Bay Packers.

“Most people would assume [professional athletes] should be pretty well off,” he said. “Typically, people in major sports made a lot of money. It wasn’t like that for our family. My dad played in the early ‘70s, got hurt and didn’t have a ton of money later.”

The family moved to Richfield, and Goodman said he didn’t think much about going to college, owning a home someday or “any of those big goals that were possible” — at least not until he began attending the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield, an opportunity made possible because of the tuition assistance he received from the school.

“I know without a doubt I wouldn’t have been able to go there if we didn’t get that help,” said Goodman, who participated in sports, student government and the National Honor Society at Holy Angels.

From there, he attended Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., where he graduated with honors. Today, Goodman works as a financial analyst with Northwestern Mutual in Minneapolis, where he helps other families plan for a better future.

Goodman shared his success story with some 450 people who attended the Aim Higher Foundation’s “Night of Light” celebration of Catholic education Nov. 1 at the Hilton in downtown Minneapolis.

The foundation was formed in late 2011 following the archdiocese’s initiation of a strategic plan committed to reinvesting in the future of Catholic schools.

In 2012-2013, the Aim Higher Foundation’s first school year of providing financial support, 730 students in kindergarten through eighth grade received $483,000 in financial aid, said Karen Rauenhorst, president of the foundation.

The recipients were from 71 of the archdiocese’s 80 K-8 Catholic schools, and nearly half of the scholarships were awarded to students of color.

The aid also “helped attract 238 new families to our schools,” she said.

In the 2013-2014 school year, students at 76 K-8 schools are receiving $750,000 in tuition assistance. Ninety-five percent of the students who received assistance last year are getting it again this year, Rauenhorst said.

As the foundation’s resources grow, it also will provide support to Catholic high schools in the archdiocese, she said.

The GHR Foundation, based in Minnetonka, provided a challenge grant to match pledged and received gifts from the “Night of Light” up to $150,000, Goodman announced as the evening concluded.

The event’s table captains and in-kind donations paid all of the expenses for the evening, which included musical performances by the Holy Family Academy middle school choir and students from Convent of the Visitation School and St. Thomas Academy. Every donation made at the event, therefore, will directly support student scholarships.

“The need continues to grow,” said Jennifer Cassidy, principal of Annunciation School in Minneapolis who addressed attendees and whose school has received Aim Higher Foundation grants the last two years. “The identified financial aid need now for our students is over $40 million. We know our schools cannot do that on their own, so we’re so grateful to the Aim Higher Foundation for stepping up to help.”

“It’s a critical time for them to help [in] that success and sustainability of our schools,” she said. “We need your help, and our students need your help. We want more Isaiahs out there in the world.”

For more information about the Aim Higher Foundation and how you can partner with the foundation, visit the Aim Higher Foundation website or call (612) 819-6711.

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