Drexel Fund provides first grants to Oklahoma Catholic schools

Catholic schools have been making a difference in the lives of families in Oklahoma for more than 100 years. Today, 18 elementary schools and three high schools form a system of 22 communities of Catholic learning, educating 5,000 students each year.

This year, the first Celebrating Catholic Education Breakfast was held with 220 guests gathered to celebrate Catholic schools and their impact. The net proceeds of the breakfast were distributed through the Office of Catholic Schools for two new funds supporting priority needs in financially struggling communities and leadership programs for teachers and principals.

Superintendent Diane Floyd recently had the opportunity to make three surprise presentations to schools identified as the first recipients of awards from one these funds, the Saint Katharine Drexel Fund.

Recognizing that Catholic school education is important, but also a major responsibility for a single parish, the Saint Katharine Drexel Fund seeks to assist parishes that struggle financially to carry out the mission of Catholic school education. By empowering local parish communities to direct educational funds where they are most needed, the Drexel Fund seeks to ensure the system of Catholic schools in the archdiocese is financially stable for future generations.

Based on the proceeds of the breakfast, this year we could award Sacred Heart Catholic School in Oklahoma City, Sacred Heart Catholic School in El Reno and Saint Mary Catholic School in Lawton with a gift of $5,000 each. In cooperation with the archdiocesan Secretariat for Finance, the review of financial information specific to school income as a percent of parish income assists us in determining recipient schools.
 
The goal of the Saint Katharine Drexel Fund is to provide financial support so that the school can truly determine how funds can best be used, however there are a few guidelines that have been set forth:

. Funds should be used on capital expenditures or financial assistance, and not just toward operating expenses;

. The goal is a direct benefit to students in some capacity;

. Representatives of schools, including, but not limited to, the pastor and principal agree to be interviewed about the receipt of the funds to be used to help raise future funds as well as agree to attend the next Celebrating Catholic Education Breakfast on Feb. 2.

For more information, go online to www.archokc.org/stewardship/giving-opportunities/drexelfund.