Bishop DiLorenzo established the McMahon Parater Foundation in 2008 to secure the future of Catholic schools throughout the Diocese of Richmond. Our mission is to provide tuition assistance, enhance academic offerings and increase the professional development of the teachers in all 29 of our Catholic schools (Diocesan as well as independent Catholic schools). Our vision is to ensure that an excellent, affordable Catholic education is available for every family willing to sacrifice for their children: i.e., a Catholic education that affirms their faith, builds character and prepares their children intellectually for the challenges of the 21st Century.
Although the Foundation and the Diocese together contributed more than $4.4 million in scholarships in 2016, there is so much more to be done. Every year we turn away hundreds of students at the schoolhouse door because their families cannot afford the tuition. If we could simply meet a decent share of their documented financial needs, we could welcome scores of additional children into our Catholic schools.
We have the teachers. We have the buildings. It is borderline sinful that we leave so many seats empty in classrooms staffed by outstanding Catholic educators, especially when we know that there are families who are desperate to fill those seats.
In partnership with the Diocese, the work of this Foundation is beginning to have a positive impact. For the fourth straight year, all 29 Catholic schools in the Diocese re-opened this academic year. Enrollment has finally stabilized and even begun to grow slightly. We owe this success to the generosity of faithful Catholics and other friends who believe that this incredibly valuable institution — Catholic education — must be extended for the present and future benefit of our families and our faith community.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan identified at least four reasons why every Catholic, whether or not they have family members in Catholic schools, should support the future of Catholic education. Based on empirical data collected by professional researchers concerning the different outcomes between Catholics attending Catholic schools and those attending non-Catholic schools, Cardinal Dolan has drawn the following conclusions: (1) Catholic school graduates are more likely to believe in the efficacy of prayer, (2) Catholic school graduates are more likely to be actively involved in their parishes and faith community generally, (3) Catholic school graduates are more likely to affirm pro-life beliefs, and (4) Catholic school graduates are more likely to consider a religious vocation.
The McMahon Parater Foundation’s financial goal is to build an endowment of over $15 million to preserve and expand enrollment in our Catholic schools for years to come. We also invite you to learn more about the Commonwealth of Virginia’s new Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credits Program. Together, we can ensure that future generations will receive an education that is academically rigorous, grounded in morality and personal discipline, and inclusive of children from all walks of life. Please join us in this effort.
Charles V. McPhillips, Esq.
The McMahon Parater Foundation for Education