Partnership with Connelly Foundation Benefits Greater Philadelphia Area Schools

May 2, 2011

A selected group of schools in the Greater Philadelphia area will now benefit from the CSDP approach through the International Education Foundation (IEF) partnership with Connelly Foundation. Connelly Foundation seeks to foster learning and improve the quality of life in Philadelphia and surrounding counties of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and the City of Camden. Through an initial two-year pilot project called PACE (Partners Advancing Catholic Education), scheduled to run until the fall of 2013, six elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will implement the CSDP Advancement Methodology.

“We had been watching the progress in the Diocese of Camden and have a great appreciation for CSDP’s capacity to lead and ability to execute,” said Josephine Mandeville, President & CEO, Connelly Foundation. “While the Archdiocese of Philadelphia is much larger, it is similar in construct to Camden and will most certainly benefit from CSDP’s comprehensive approach to sustainability. The wonderful people already focused on development for the Archdiocese view working with CSDP as an opportunity to adapt the private school model to Catholic elementary schools to expand their base.” (See related article from the March 2011 issue of Advance, Diocese of Camden Embraces CSDP Approach.)

Each of the partners plays a pivotal role in a collective strategy to advance Catholic education. “While CSDP offers strategic and professional expertise, we work with a network of other philanthropists who are combining resources to solve problems,” said Greg Geruson, Director, CSDP. “In addition to generous financial resources through grant making, Connelly Foundation brings a rich history working proactively on initiatives with Catholic high schools and elementary schools. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, which helped to identify which schools met our criteria for long-term viability, of course will play a continuing role in leading change.”

Mary Rochford, Superintendent of Schools, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, said, “We’re thrilled to be working with CSDP with support from the Connelly Foundation to implement a program that has already demonstrated results. At a time when we see closings locally and nationwide, we are encouraged that the call is being answered for creative solutions to ensure that Catholic schools not only survive but flourish.”

CSDP’s message of “helping schools help themselves” is focused on creating strategic partnerships to help schools increase enrollment, improve fundraising, and establish more effective school governance. The hallmarks of the program are a fulltime Advancement Director, a Board of Limited Jurisdiction, and providing hands-on consulting.

The schools selected for the pilot project are: Holy Child Catholic School (Manayunk-Philadelphia, PA), Holy Family Regional School (Levittown, PA), Ss. Peter & Paul School (West Chester, PA), St. Matthew School (Philadelphia, PA), St. Christopher School (Somerton-Philadelphia, PA), and St. Katherine of Siena School (Philadelphia, PA). In recent weeks, CSDP has led focus groups at the schools and has begun the process of hiring Advancement Directors. Comprehensive recommendations are being prepared for each school.

“No two of these schools are exactly alike, and yet they all share an enthusiasm for being a part of the PACE project,” said Sean Semple, CSDP Consultant. “They understand the expectations and what they have to do to make this successful, including their own financial investment in their schools. These schools are taking some smart risks in implementing a more effective governance model and in institutionalizing their advancement process.

Future issues of Advance will report on progress of the PACE pilot project with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.