May 30, 2014

Holy Cross Academy Catholic Schools receives $260,000 grant from Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton

The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton, which is a ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System, has awarded a three-year, $260,000 capacity-building grant to Holy Cross Academy Catholic Schools in Stark County. The school system will use the grant money to meet its goals of aggressively increasing recruitment activities and enrollment, and for fundraising development.

Holy Cross Academy was formed in 2012 from 11 existing pre-K through 8th-grade Catholic elementary schools in Stark County. Holy Cross Academy was created to strengthen Catholic schools in Stark County, use human and financial resources more efficiently, and tell the story of Catholic education with conviction.

As seen in the Canton Repository:

Holy Cross gets $260k boost from Sisters of Charity

Holy Cross Academy Catholics Schools has received a $260,000 grant from the Sisters of Charity Foundation.

Monsignor Lewis I. Gaetano, Holy Cross president and CEO, said the three-year “capacity-building” grant will enable the system to aggressively increase its goals of more recruitment and enrollment, as well as developments in fundraising.

“It gives a lot of credibility to what we’re doing,” he said.

Gaetano said enrollment, recruitment and fundraising are “strategically and fundamentally” important because they directly impact tuition, staffing and parish subsidies.

“Tuition can only go so high,” he said. “Families only have so much discretionary money at the end of the month. ... We’re trying to provide education that is accessible and affordable.”

“We are so pleased to provide funding that we hope will strengthen and support the long-term viability of Holy Cross Academy,” said Joni T. Close, foundation president. “We believe students deserve a strong and vibrant system, and we believe the board at Holy Cross is making that possible. We’re just honored to help.”

Close noted that similar-sized grants were awarded to Central Catholic and St. Thomas Aquinas high schools to help them transition from a president-based system to a principal-based system, as well as to other agencies.

“We believe Stark County is a better place for the kinds of schools we have,” she said.

Last year, Holy Cross implemented its “Transitioning for Growth” reconfiguration plan for its 10 elementary schools. Under it, St. Joseph School in Canton will close this year, and St. Peter, Our Lady of Peace, St. Louis in Louisville and Regina Coeli in Alliance will house prekindergarten-to-fifth-grade programs.

Also, a new middle school will open on the St. Thomas Aquinas High School campus.

The plan came under fire from parents who argued that closing St. Joseph diminishes the presence of Catholic education in central Canton. Gaetano points out that local parochial schools have seen a yearly 5 percent decrease in enrollment during the last 16 years.

“Ideally, if we had 2,400 more students, that would be 10-percent turnaround,” he said. “I know people will look at that (grant), but the money is restricted in how it’s used. It can’t be used in a normal operating budget.”

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