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Thursday April 24, 2008
MR. HAMILTON: Welcome. Welcome back from lunch and thank you. We're going to continue this terrific program today with a fantastic panel, a number of whom you have already heard about at least from the President if not in other ways. And there's full text or a portion of the materials for the conference, and I commend them to you.
My name is Scott Hamilton, and I am thrilled to be a part of this conference. In my experience, faith is necessary and truly key to all who work successfully with our neediest students in all kinds of schools, public, private or religious. Surrounded by the challenge, the struggle, the occasional failure, it is hard for many educators not to eventually surrender to low expectations. It's hard for us all. And it is certainly hard, as we've seen, for some not to begin to blame all the other factors.
We've seen the defenders of the status quo, and many who are defenders of the failing government school systems claim that we can only be succeed in schools if we solve poverty or solve health care or solve all number of ailments. But the bottom line I believe we all share is that education is a place to start.
I was lucky enough to have worked with CIP for about five years and started the effort to replicate two terrific school which has now turned into more than 50 schools, and I learned a lot from that experience. And very recently I was lucky to have had the opportunity to lead a study for the Thomas B. Ford Institute on the revival of urban Catholic schools.
And what I've learned from those two experiences are two things. There is a great philosopher who once said that the actual proves the possible, and he was right. And it is necessary, especially in the face of those challenges, that we prove the possible through the actual. And the other thing that I have learned is that catchy little phrase that nothing succeeds like success. We can't sit here committed to our goals and just wish that we could change policy or wish that these streams of funding that we so desperately need or want would appear. We have to get out of ourselves. We have to create the success that will attract that kind of support.
So on this panel today we have inspiration in the midst of our struggle, and we have reminders of what can be accomplished with vision and leadership, hard work, and yes, faith. They are examples of what growth and initiative can bring even in the tough business that we all share. So our panel of five are a panel of five actualities proving the possible, and they're going to share with you what can be done, have some ideas about how we can help our case and help ourselves and share some experiences learned.
And I encourage them at the conclusion of their remarks to ask each other questions as they arise, and I encourage you to keep in mind what questions come up that you'd like to ask if we have time at the end of the presentations for questions.
To begin, we have Mary McDonald. Dr. Mary McDonald, whom you heard about a little earlier with the President's remarks, who's done remarkable things for the Jubilee Schools in Memphis.
Next is Tom Tillapaugh. He's got a remarkable story to tell with the street school that he started and is replicating now.
B.J. Cassin is really the driving force behind the growth and reputation of the Cristo Rey and Nativity San Miguel network of schools. Reverend Scully is behind what you also heard the President talk about, the Ace program at Notre Dame and some other extraordinary initiatives that that university is undertaking.
And Rabbi Zwiebel is doing remarkable things with the Agudath Israel organization and has some terrific remarks on philanthropy that we can all learn from.
So please help me welcome this panel and Dr. Mary McDonald. (Applause)
DR. MCDONALD: Thank you for the opportunity to introduce you to the Jubilee Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Memphis. The Jubilee Schools are reopened Catholic schools in the inner city. They are schools that have been closed from eight to more than 50 years.
When we left these schools, we left more than old buildings behind. We left children, children in poverty, children of a new immigrant population, children who needed a Catholic education now more than ever. We needed to go back and reclaim our heritage in educating those who were disenfranchised by society. Even though most thought it was impossible, we found courage in knowing that with God, all things are possible.
When Bishop Steib appointed me as superintendent of schools in 1998, he shared his desire to have the Catholic schools return to the neighborhoods and children we once abandoned and reclaim our heritage of lifting up children and families in poverty. So after months of planning, hard work, long hours, and the generosity of donors who gave us the seed money to begin, in July 1999 we started the reopening of the Jubilee Catholic Schools.
Like most dioceses across the country the Diocese of Memphis was closing Catholic schools in the urban areas. This was due to the declining enrollment, lack of funding, and demographic shifts. Initially elementary schools were closed. Without Catholic feeder schools, several high schools were closed or consolidated.
When I started as superintendent, we had 15 schools, and five of those were struggling to survive. Now we have 29 schools and our highest enrollment since 1976. Our students in the Jubilee Schools come from the neighborhoods in which the schools are located. We do not test for entrance and welcome children regardless of religion or ability to pay tuition.
These schools are located in areas of some of the highest rates of poverty illiteracy, crime, gang activity, and violent death in the country. The children are victims of their surroundings. Most are raised by a single female with little or no means of support, but poverty does not mean a parent does not love their child. Poverty means there are no choices for her child.
Each Jubilee School was reopened with a preschool land kindergarten class and added a grade a year to the exit level of 6th or 8th grade. You cannot solve a systemic problem with a programmatic approach. In order to effect systemic change, to change the universe for these children, we had to provide a new experience, a new paradigm for education.
We started in August of 1999 with one school and 26 children. Now we have eight Jubilee schools two urban initiative schools, and more than 1,400 students. We are still adding grades in schools and still growing.
To ensure the systemic change that we sought, it is important that the students be educated in a Catholic school from preschool through 12th grade, so the financial assistance follows the students to each level of their education at the Catholic school. Every family pays something according to their ability to do so. It is their investment in their child's education.
95.5 percent of our Jubilee school families are at or below poverty level. This is serious poverty, particularly in comparison to the Shelby County median household income. Our schools are authentically Catholic, and the students attend daily religion class, mass, and paraliturgical services. The faith traditions of all students are respected and celebrated.
The Jubilee schools are considered community treasures and have done much to bridge the racial divide in Memphis. With only a four percent Catholic population, the schools have also shown the community how the church has reached out in service to all God's children.
Urban initiative schools are two inner city Catholic schools that struggled against all odds to stay open, and now they receive Jubilee scholarship dollars each year to assist nearby low-income students to attend one of these schools. It is equally important that Catholic schools in urban areas are assisted in remaining open.
The intense daily hardship experienced by families living in poverty are barriers that diminish a parent's ability to fully provide the time, energy, and guidance necessary for strong education. The Jubilee schools are a resource for parents to use to overcome the obstacles that they face in their struggle to provide for their children.
The Jubilee schools are proof positive that poverty does not equate with ignorance. Most of our students come to us with few language skills and are functioning two or more years below grade level. However, within their first year in a Catholic school, significant academic advances are accomplished. Outside research confirmed the positive results of our students' success. The success of our students is borne out in many ways, a 0 percent dropout rate, a 99.9 percent graduation rate, and 95 percent of our students continue their education in postsecondary schools. They are beating the odds. Their universe is changing. Their intergenerational cycle of poverty is being broken.
We learned early on that we first had to address the issues of hunger, of emotional distress, anger, fear, sleep deprivation all the adverse effects of poverty that victimize the children as well as teach of them. Addressing the issues of hunger and unemployment was critical. For many the food at school was their only meal of the day. In order to help the children, we partnered with the Food Bank and local businesses to provide students with backpacks every Friday filled with nutritious nonperishable food to eat and to share at home over the weekend.
We also started job training and placement programs for adults who are considered unemployable. We provide training, certification, and jobs in our cafeteria that lead to future employment in better-paying jobs.
Each parent or guardian and each student signs a pledge that holds them accountable for positive involvement in the educational process. The Catholic Schools Office is also held accountable to provide the professional management system and broad base of support needed to ensure the viability of these schools. During the past ten years, the Catholic Schools Office has worked to move from a caretaker stage to accreditation by SACS/CASI as a fully functioning school district.
But we cannot do this alone. We need the involvement of many others. We have formed partnerships with businesses, foundations, universities, and health care facilities, all people in the community. Bishop J. Terry Steib, Bishop of the Diocese of Memphis is a staunch supporter of Catholic education. And so we continue in faith to reclaim our heritage, these schools, and the children. Thank you. (Applause)
MR. TILLAPAUGH: That was inspiring. In 1984 I loaded up my wife and kids in an old 1970 LT and followed what I believe -- and I think in this room I can say I know -- was a vision from God to move to Denver, Colorado and open a Christian school for homeless, troubled and at-risk kids.
I'd been working in Christian education in the suburbs, and we couldn't take the kids that I really wanted to take. They said a Christian education isn't for them. A Christian and a faith-based education is for everybody in some form or another. I was 30 years old in the eyes of the world and my grandmother a fool. She offered me her house if I would quit this silly nonsense and come and teach in a nice safe town, but no, I knew my calling.
So my wife and I had nothing. We lived in Section 8 housing and did what we could to survive, including dumpster diving and whatever else it took as I began to cast this vision out to whoever would listen to me. I was just a kid, 30 years old. What did I know? We were going to solve all the problems of the world. We brought in -- started bringing them home with me. We had seven homeless living with us at one time. The city knocked on my door and say, "You can only have two at a time."
We've got two homeless right now at my house in Colorado. How did that happen? It's been many years later, and they're still there. (Applause)
This girl came in. She was 19 years old. She was homeless. She doesn't know her dad. Her mom conceived her, birthed her, and then dropped her off at her grandparents' house, and she's never seen her since. I'm going to turn her into a superstar, and she's going to go to college and you're going to hear from her someday. I'm so excited about that. But all these years later -- well, finally a local businessman answered the call, a guy -- if you know Denver, southern Denver is where the blonde people are. He rented me a house in the worst part of town in Denver.
Then on May 13, 1985, I grabbed three street people who were wandering around on the street, and I said, "Let's go back and let's have high school." And the first guy was never tardy because he lived in the crawl space under the house. It was so cool. He was right there every day.
Now the only way I can do it -- I don't know anything except to love kids. How do you run a nonprofit? I didn't know anything about operations and HR and accounting and all those boring things. And how was I going to pay the bills, including feeding my family? Then I learned about this thing called endowment, and all I knew to do was to share that heart and vision with others and hope that they would get excited enough to help me financially, so I just started speaking with people.
But my motivation for starting Street School was seeing so many young people dropping out because of the bad choices they had made and the circumstances of their lives and way the regular schools operated for those kinds of kids. So I thought how can we make a school an inviting place to produce success for these kids?
Well first, smaller is better. In those days bigger was better. You can have all the labs and all the fancy things, but they don't do any good for kids who aren't there. Smaller is better, 50 to 90 kids is all that a principal can really know of that kind of challenging kid. These kinds of kids, ten to one in the classroom.
And then the faculty is far more than teachers. I wanted teachers that were willing to go the extra mile. That's why I love CIP so much, because they do. They're advocates. We have and advocate program, and every day they meet with those kids formally in the classroom and then lunch and after school and weekends. And they're engaged in their life constantly, and they help the kids to catch a powerful vision for a successful future and then give them the tools to attain it. And that's what it takes.
By 1985 I began to receive calls from people in other cities saying, "I heard about what you're doing in Denver. Could you help me to do that in my city?" So ultimately we founded the National Association of Street Schools. It's a vehicle or a means by which to replicate this model around the country.
We have about 45 schools now, and we are part of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's Alternative High School Initiative. We are the only faith-based group in that right now, so keep praying for us as we try to be witness to the rest of those people.
Street schools initially served troubled kids, kids who have already manifested trouble. But as we started growing and growing our model, we began to realize that the best practices that we were advocating for those worked for other people, people like Tim Cox who started a school in Memphis for the younger kids, okay? A lot of people call it preventative. Get them while they're younger so they don't get in trouble in the long run.
Just a real quick -- you can read in your thing their the synopsis of our design model: Individualized academic development, diagnostic tests, sensitivity to different learning styles, high expectations. We're very big on economic literacy. We developed an urban economic literacy curriculum with college students. Personal social skills development. Like I said, I talk about advocates, and it's all about getting face time with the kids. And the more loving, caring help and wisdom and help them as they work to make changes in their life, the more better role models they'll have.
Career development. I became a teacher because my dad was a teacher. I didn't want to be, but you know so many times you become what your father is because that's what you observe every say. What if you don't have a father to observe? What if your father's in jail? What if he's an alcoholic or a drug addict? What you do in those cases? And also what if all your friends in your neighborhood are in the same position? So we have to be in loco parentis all time in our school and teach our kids what to do when they grow up. So we have had shadowing internships that our kids do.
Spiritual development. Street School is a Christian school. We believe that Jesus Christ gives hope and purpose in what can seem like a hostile, purposeless world, so we have Bible and chapel. Our kids go on mission trips to learn to serve others just as they're being helped.
When I started the Street School in '84 I didn't have a template to follow. Remember, I was just a kid, and so it took years of trial and error to figure things out. Our goal is to have a template so they won't have to go through all those years and they can pretty much be turn-key. So we do lot of things. We've been asked to do training, whether it be in our national conference or on site, anything, how to do a 501(c)(3) or all the major operations and HR and fundraising, a lot of fundraising training and so on.
Strategies for continuous school improvement. We have a continuum of elements and essentials for having quality urban Christian schools that our schools are continually doing, steps to a continuing improvement plan as they work through accreditation. We offer teachers for our schools' funding. Those funding is not our main focus, we have been given money that we can give on to our members. To date we have given our members in exchange for their $50 a year annual fee about $2 million, which is pretty exciting that we've been able to sub-grant to our members.
Advocacy, we try to advocate for our members here in the government and in colleges and so on. Communication networking, we want to facilitate the sharing of best practices, problem-solving between our member schools through our web sites and other means. We develop products and other resource. Data collection is important to have good data for grants and so on. We do that. Accreditation, we partner with CITA the Commission for International Transregional Accreditation to accredit our schools.
Lastly, just like all the schools, all of you, NASS members feel tremendous financial pressure. In order for our schools to enroll 40 riskier kids means we making a transition from tuition to donation-based fundraising. Most are apprehensive about doing so. I didn't start a school to raise money. I started a school to be with kids. But you have to turn from that and you have to get brave and not be afraid to pick up a telephone. That's a whole other workshop.
So you have to do that and one of our members, Tanya here, moved up from principal to executive director. She knows she's going to have to get out and beat the bushes and find the resources that she needs, and so we teach that as well as finding money for our members.
We teach our members how to fundraise and speak to others on their behalf. And in addition, we engage in the joint funding ventures and approach nationally based corporations to find financial and other resources for our school. An example is we have volunteer basketball teams. We need money for refs. We need money for gyms. We need money to feed the kids afterwards. It may be the best meal they're going to have all day. Gas. So one of our good friends is the president of a big company in New Jersey. We approached him. He gave us $10,000 to split between five schools so there's $2,000 each. So we very often try to find the resources that we need for our kids to -- our kids -- our schools to survive.
We receive grants from which we reward or sub-grant other members. In addition I'm always trying to be opportunistic and finding new creative and replicable sources of income. We encourage our schools to be financially responsible and to maintain tight operations. We believe that our schools can attain high academic quality and with our help find the financial resources to not only survive but to thrive.
Urban faith-based educational institutions are doing a tremendous job in serving the academic, social, emotional and spiritual needs of the children and adolescents of our nation's inner cities. It is imperative that we continue to find the funding needed to keep them open and viable.
Now, Scott, what you said here about those that say we have to solve health care and poverty before we can solve education, we believe that we have to solve education, and then the solving of health care and poverty will naturally follow. (Applause)
I have no doubt with the right training, hard work, and vision and our God that we continually plead with and pray to that we can develop the necessary resources to do so. Thank you. (Applause)
MR. CASSIN: Good afternoon. Today -- can we get the PowerPoint up? Okay, great. Thank you very much.
I've been asked to give you our experiences in scaling up to high-impact models and I'm going to give a little background on the schools and then talk about that. My wife and I have been concerned about inner city education, and our solution was to help with scholarships. But we felt uncomfortable. We were helping tens of people, but where was the leverage where we could help thousands of people?
And we all know what happens with the dropouts in inner city schools. We've had lots of statistics today. There's more up there. In 2000 I learned about the Cristo Rey in Chicago, the first Cristo Rey school. And at the same time we were visiting some of the NativityMiguel schools and doing our due diligence. And we came to the conclusion that these two models that could be replicated, and so at the beginning of 2001 we put a foundation that's specifically aimed at replicating these two models.
A little bit about the models and thank Mr. President. These are explicitly Catholic schools but are open to people of all faiths. It has a unique Hire For Program that I'll talk about, and the schools only serve the economically disadvantaged. The school themselves love to say this in their local communities, "We're the most exclusive school in town. If you can afford the tuition, you don't qualify." Think about it.
Rigorous college prep. Each of these kids when they come in are expected to go to college. Another key point of these schools and the NativityMiguel schools too, these are independent schools in their locale. And once they're launched, they are running those schools.
A little bit about the Hire for Ed Program. All students work five full days a week and basically what it is is job sharing. They do not miss any classes. And for the employer we take care of all of government forms that have to be filed. These are typical jobs. The highest turnover rate in jobs in business are the entry level jobs those jobs up there.
And just think of a freshman. When a school opens, it opens one year at a time, freshmen first, so you've got a 15-year-old that's going on the 25th floor of a Boston law firm delivering mail, faxing, copying, whatever you may have. And today there are over 1,000 employers of these students, and the job retention rate is over 90 percent. So in other words these are real jobs.
When we go to look to secure a job for a school and, "We'll do a make-work and consider it a donation," that's not a job, and we do not accept those kinds of jobs.
Amazing program impact. Basically the income from the job goes to the school, so in essence the student is earning 70 percent of the cost of their education.
The most important is second bullet. We're getting these young men and women into areas like the downtown that they've never visited and the 26th floor of an office building and relating to other people, their supervisor and, after a while, their co-workers, and they very much interact with each other.
So we're doing budgets. Maybe that's why we have to learn math. There's lots of emails and lots of reports. Maybe that's what English comp is all about. So these kids -- it gets in there. And the last bullet says we made a $450 million endowment fund to -- this is last fiscal year's where we raised 22 and a half million dollars.
After eight years there's now 19 schools. We opened six last fall, one here in Washington, Don Bosco, and a Cristo Rey Jesuit in Baltimore. Various statistics. We are here to serve the poor. We have three more schools that are scheduled to open next year and four feasibility studies are currently underway. And please remember this last bullet: 99 percent of those kids who graduated in 2007 today are in college, mostly in four-year college. These are two- and four-year college.
NativityMiguel. You can't be successful in high school unless you are prepared. You've experienced learning. You've had the joy of learning even though it may have been pounded into you on Saturday morning. So NativityMiguel schools are small schools. It's an 11-month program, 7:30 to 5:00, two meals, summer program. Some of these kids who have never been out of the city are going up to summer class.
Another unique feature of NativityMiguel is these kids are followed into high school to make sure they're successful and actually now being followed in college. Today there are over 64 of these schools. There were 17 when we started in 2001, and 90 percent of the students qualify for free and reduced lunch. So we are serving the demographics. You can see the demographics, and as asked you to remember the last bullet on the Cristo Rey slide, remember the two bullets on this slide, that 92 percent of these students who go to a NativityMiguel school are graduating. And these are in areas of 50 and 60 percent dropout rate. And those kids that then get into high school, 96 percent of them -- we track them -- are now successfully going on to college.
So the scaling thing. What was our approach? Really the feasibility studies, startup operating grants, and we too have a great partner in the Gates Foundation. Usually you go out looking for a grant. That's the first time I ever heard of they knocking on our door.
Was it the same thing for you? Yeah.
And the last key thing I think is establishing these networks, and I'll talk about it. Feasibility studies. When Wal-Mart was to open a new store, they find out where the demand is. Then they figure out where the store should be. Then they figure out the cash requirements to get the store opened. They find the leadership team and the rest of the employees and train them. That's what we do.
These are local teams, not consultants. We require a rigorous program on these facility -- on these feasibility studies. They typically take nine months to a year. But what they do is at the end, as I said, feasibility or the business plan -- when the feasibility study is done and the school leadership is identified the local community buys in, then that feasibility study goes to the two networks, the appropriate network for approval. Once they are approved, then the resources of the network come to help them open up that store.
The Cristo Rey network is located in Chicago, and NativityMiguel is located here in Washington. And to me this is extremely important. They're small staffs. They are the guardians of the standards. Each network has it's own ten standards, number two being important. Who do we serve? The poor. There's a lot to be learned. Collaboration -- we talked about that earlier. What are the best practices? There have been faculty brought together, not "How can we teach English better?" or "How can we teach math better?" but "How do we better understand the kids in front of us and what they face and what they're going through, and how can we respond and be better deliverers of that education?"
For the philanthropists in the crowd, I'll put up some lessons for philanthropists. Invest in proven models, and we'll be at the back of the room for anybody that wants to talk with us. (Laughter)
MR. CASSIN: Only work with strong, strong partners. And here is something else I want to emphasize. There are 21 religious orders that are sponsoring the Cristo Rey high schools. There are 29 religious orders sponsoring the 64 middle schools. A number of these are joint ventures, so what these two models have done is provide a platform for people who've been delivering quality Catholic education for 100 years in the United States to go into the inner city without having to worry about writing a check without worrying about having to supply three nuns, four brothers, two priests.
And for the incredible the religious orders, they saw dwindling numbers, and most of them did something about it, and that is train laity. Train laity in their parish in their method of teaching and where their mission was. We're big on outcome data. We have the benefit of starting from one school, 17 schools as opposed to trying to go back and get outcome data. But it's been said on this podium early this morning funders should demand data. The parents should demand outcome data. The teachers should. And we put it up on our web site. Some of it early on and maybe even today is ugly, but at least it identifies something that we've got to work on.
And I think the another key is sustainability. And the sustainability is the networks, what they can do for the schools once they open. And there's been a lot of passion on this stage this morning and this afternoon. And the real heroes -- if you want talk about action, the real heroes of those numbers you saw up there are the priests, brothers, sisters, lay people, men and women ACE volunteers, the Jesuit volunteers. They have tremendous passion for these kids, and they respond. And the bullets I asked you to remember, those -- that outcome of graduation rates, that's a byproduct of not only model but of dedication of the heroes of these schools. Thank you. (Applause)
REVEREND SCULLY: Thanks, B.J. We are not funded by the Gates Foundation, but I'd be delighted to join the group here, I'll tell you. What a perfect time to celebrate this summit. We just celebrated Easter a couple weeks ago, and Jews are celebrating Passover this week. I'm reminded that we're all people who have eyes to find in the darkest of place hope. Moreover, these dark places can even be causes for celebration. So whatever your faith tradition, I suspect we're all here because we know only two well the grim statistics facing many of our inner city schools, and we're bracing ourselves for another round of school closures.
But forgive me a question at the back end of Easter. Have the grim statistics become so familiar to us that we've forgotten that its ending is not inevitable? Might we dare to catch a glimpse of the vision that inspired Benedict here in Washington only last week to call these schools an outstanding sign of hope where no child should be denied a right to an education in faith, which in turn nurtures the soul of a nation.
Today my remarks issue from a conviction that our schools can and must be strong in our nation's third century. And they issue from an equally strong conviction that my business, higher education, must play a decisive role in sustaining and strengthening these schools, which despite the recent losses remain the largest most effective private school system in the world.
Universities possess three core missions, teaching, research, and service. Let me in the time I have remaining outline three strategies to address these three areas that we've undertaken in the northern woods of Indiana.
First of all, teaching our leadership formation if I can. Despite the virtual disappearance of the heroic men and women who gave their lives to build the world's most remarkable faith-based school system, I'm absolutely convinced that we need not have a vocation or leadership crisis in these schools. The leaders are here. They just changed in appearance.
The young people who can and are able to lead these national treasures, as Margaret Spellings called them, are among us, and we have only to invite them to respond and offer them a distinctively faith-based formation. Sadly of our nation's 240 Catholic colleges and universities, only one in five have built any program to form teachers and leaders for this bastion of hope. We can do more.
After two decades of practically ignoring the problem ourselves, Notre Dame created ACE in 1993 to help respond to this invitation. ACE prepares nearly 200 teachers and 100 principals to serve every year in communities across our country. In the past decade and a half we formed over 1,000 school leaders, and 75 percent of them are still in our inner city schools, well beyond that two-year commitment. (Applause)
REVEREND SCULLY: That's a reason you should know about. We've been greatly helped by partnerships in building this effort. After all, let me mention two. First of all AmeriCorps supplies us with needed resources and loan forgiveness for our recent college graduates, and I know a number of us have taken advantage of that wonderful institution that Steve Goldsmith leads so well.
Secondly, over the past 15 years, over faith-based universities, not just Catholic, have joined our efforts, forming teachers to serve the needs if at-risk faith-based schools. So together across America, this partnership is providing more than 500 talented and well-trained teachers each year in over 60 cities in 30 states. We must do more.
Imagine what's possible if we can harness the energy of these young leaders. So we've invited our thousand graduates and their young allies into what we call can the ACE fellowship. Ours is no longer a two-year service program. Ours is a movement, a national faith-based leadership corps in service to our inner city schools. The ACE fellowship is provided in 20 cities, working to transform inner city schools and deepen our faith in the process. We need new ideas and white hot passion. And these leaders with the right formation and support are just the people to give it.
Secondly, articulating a compelling value proposition. Higher education must provide incentives to scholars to conduct research on the broad set of problems that beset our schools. Compared to the tremendous amount of resources directed elsewhere, these resources are virtually absent when it comes to supporting rigorous scholarship on faith-based schools. And without the ongoing research on school effectiveness and improvement, it will become increasingly difficult to make the case for our schools, let alone improve them. We must rearticulate the value proposition and disseminate it for faith-based schools, compelling reasons why folks ought to make the sacrifice to send their children to us. And the philanthropic community must help us provide such incentives.
So to arrest the absence of this empirical research, we propose to catalyze, together with my friend, Joe O'Keefe, and others a field of faith-based education. A few months ago our friend, Lee Shulman of the Carnegie Foundation convened a national conversation in Palo Alto with leaders from faith-based schools across the land. And we emerged from that meeting with an ambitious agenda and a common one. At Notre Dame we're creating a center for research on faith-based schools and conducting research in areas like accessing public title funds that Secretary Spellings spoke about today.
Technology in the professional development of teachers. How can we get more than three percent of Latino families to send their children to our schools? Our particular niche is certainly Catholic schools, but our intention is not to be parochial or isolated. Still only if we compellingly articulate a rigorous and empirically founded value proposition will we attract more students to our schools and attract the resources to make them accessible to those who need them the most.
Finally, service or what we might in agreeing with President Bush called entrepreneurial outreach activities. Universities can develop and have developed partnerships, direct partnerships with at-risk schools because at-risk schools often lack effective business practices. School administrators do amazing work educating children, but ours sometimes lack financial training. No board, no marketing plan, falling enrollment, and they don't know where to turn for help. Many schools consult consulting firms, fine. But they're too expensive for the very schools that need them most.
Therefore we've launched ACE Consultant, a not-for-profit organization to improve management practices in these schools. We believe that higher education is uniquely poised to marshal networks of national resources and expertise and hope to find partners in this initiative.
In addition, drawing upon some models we've heard about today, Notre Dame has partnered with struggling schools and seeks to develop a model to achieve thriving sustainable parish schools. We call these Magnificat schools and currently have three, one just down the steps here from the capitol, Holy Redeemer, one in Chicago, and one in South Bend. Our hope is to have Magnificat schools become beacons of hope and catalysts of innovation and excellence across the country.
These are some of the initiatives we're undertaking. In the end, the crisis we currently face is ultimately a crisis of imagination and will. And that's good news because we don't lack imagination and will in this room. Together we can and we will succeed. We know the dark statistics. We know the gloomy trends. And it's important that we know them and acknowledge them if we're going to right them. But let's not get so use to the darkness that we fail to see the light. Signs of hope abound if we have the imagination and the will to see them. (Applause)
RABBI ZWIEBEL: Did you hear the joke about the priest and the rabbi? (Laughter)
RABBI ZWIEBEL: All I can say is I'm so humbled to be part of well, this inspired summit obviously, but this particular panel in particular. The accomplishments and achievements of the programs that have been outlined in these few minutes that we've had an opportunity to listen are just remarkable, and they're touching the lives of so many people. And it's really a privilege and an honor to be part of this group.
I've been asked to speak a little bit about the role of philanthropy in the overall upkeep of our faith-based schools across the country with particular focus on the experience of the Jewish community and the Orthodox Jewish community, which is my particular area of exposure and knowledge. So let me start, I guess, but spending a moment talking a little bit about the Jewish schools and what makes them similar in many ways to faith-based schools in other communities and perhaps what makes them unique in certain ways.
When we speak about Jewish schools in the United States, we're speaking primarily about Orthodox Jewish schools. For although the Orthodox community comprises oh, according to most studies, approximately 10 percent of the overall Jewish population in the United States, a large, large majority, approximately 80 percent of the Jewish schools across the country are under Orthodox auspices. And that itself is the subject of interesting comments which I won't get into in any detail today. But one of unique aspects of the fact that the large majority of the schools are under Orthodox auspices and the large majority of parents who choose to send their children to Jewish schools are Orthodox is that the tuition burdens are quite, quite substantial.
The typical school day in most of these Jewish schools runs from early in the morning until late in the afternoon, because there's a dual program of instruction, generally religious studies in the mornings and general studies in the afternoon. And so my fifth-grader who is now a ninth-grader -- my fifth-grader when he was in fifth grade was coming home as late as 5:30 or even 6:00 at the end of a very long school day.
The tuition ranges in these schools, depending on the populations they serve and the areas in which they are located, from approximately $5,000 to $18,000 a year, and that pays for the dual curriculum that I spoke of before. And because families in the Orthodox part of the Jewish community tend to be larger and their income levels tend to be lower than that of the larger Jewish community, the tuition burdens are in fact way beyond what most parents can pay.
So a little more than 50 percent -- according to a routine study, some 57 percent of the schools' operating budgets are covered by tuition. And I assume that's not terribly different than it is in many faith-based communities or in some cases even less.
So where does the rest of the money come from? We know that government is not a major player in this area. It cannot be a major player because of the principles of separation of church and state. It can't or it does not want to be a major player because of political considerations, whatever it may be, but government is, I would say, a minor player in the larger picture of supporting these schools. So then where do you make up the gap? And the answer ultimately comes down to private philanthropy.
And we all know about the individual school-based levels. And I'm not about to scoff at the bake sales that were mentioned earlier this morning. It's one means of bringing in new funds, and obviously there are far more sophisticated ways, annual banquets and planned giving and all the different types of methods, all the different things the we know are the retail business of fundraising at the school level.
But then there are also certain larger -- I'll call them wholesale approaches, approaches that are not designed to fund any particular school but schools in general. And again, these are some examples from the Jewish community which might be replicable, which might be approaches that exist already out there in the world -- I'm not certain -- in other communities. And maybe they don't, and maybe we can all learn from one another, and I hope we'll able to follow up on today's conference with some of that, quote, pollenization in terms of good raising funds for our schools.
One of the programs that I'm very excited about is Chicago-based, where the Association for Torah Advancement in Chicago has established something called Kehillah Jewish Education Fund in which every member of the community is encouraged to become a member and make a monthly contribution to this fund so that the idea is if you're a tuition-paying parent, you're a consumer of a good and a service.
But if we recognize that our schools are not merely goods that are to be consumed by consumers but they are communal assets, then every single member of the community has a stake in the well-being of these schools. And so we turn to every member of the community in Chicago through the Kehillah Jewish Education Fund and say, "Contribute what you can."
And over the past year or two, approximately a thousand families have joined this fund and have contributed close to a million dollars, which are distributed among the nine area Orthodox Jewish schools, most of it toward regular education per capita. And each school every school gets its per capita share of the total fund, with certain money being set aside specifically for special ed purposes.
Another Chicago-based idea is starting to catch on, and that's the five percent mandate. It's the brainchild of a very active gentleman who was supposed to here with us today, but I think he couldn't make it, Mr. George Hanus. And George has set up a program in which he's saying every single in their will should set aside 5 percent of his estate to Jewish education, to a Jewish day school of your choice. And every single member of the community is encouraged to set aside 5 percent of his estate for that purpose.
Targeting larger givers through matching grant programs. There's a foundation called the Avi Chai Foundation which was set up recently to be a matching program for first time major givers. And in 2006 they brought in $15 million in additional and brand new funds into this program which, they matched by their own $8 million or so. And this resulted in grants to 160 schools in 25 states across the country.
So there are all kinds of different ways to encourage giving, whether it be a grass-roots level or by targeting the larger givers. And by creating specialized programs which will be attractive to different types of givers -- for example, in New York there's an entity called the Fund for Jewish Education, which has established funding for health and life insurance benefits for teachers in our schools and pension plans for career educators.
And this is such an urgent and important thing to keep our staffs, to keep them and give them a certain basic level of security. And if you want to maintain someone's longevity in terms of our staff in our communities, we need to provide these kinds of benefits. Private philanthropy plays a major role in doing so.
So another example capital construction. Happily, our community -- you may have noticed the chart earlier where contrary to the trends in many parts or most parts of the larger society of which we are a part, our schools have been growing. There have been new Jewish schools built in recent years, the community is growing, and the recognition of the centrality of Jewish education has been growing in many circles. So we've expanded and added new Jewish schools to our rostrum.
And so we need money for capital construction projects, for renovation projects and such things. Again the Avi Chai Foundation has done wonderful work in this area, providing interest-free loans, five-year interest-free loans ranging from $750,000 to million and a half dollars. Over the past decade, they have made nearly a hundred loans through this fund, totaling over $80 million.
So this is the kind, again, of philanthropy which can make a world of difference to our faith-based schools. Bottom line is these are just a couple of different examples. There are many different ways in which private philanthropy can be helpful. But there's something -- in order for this to work, in order for this to succeed, you need to start with a certain baseline. And I think it's the baseline which is what today's conference today's summit is really all about.
It's the baseline of recognizing that in fact these schools are precious communal assets. You know, we heard the President say before that faith-based schools are critical national assets, and it was very impressive to hear that and very heartwarming to hear that. And I think if that were the mindset that prevailed in the larger public policy arena, I think things would change a little bit in terms of the policies that exist with respect to our communities.
But they are also not simply a critical national asset, but as we have heard today, a critical familial asset. The ability of a Jay Hein, for example, who we heard earlier today -- we have two sons, and one of our sons is perfect for public school, but the other one needed a faith-based school.
Now, that's one of the problems and one of the shortcomings, I think, with respect to the President's proposal in this regard, is that the President says that the only way you'll be eligible for the Pell grants for children is if you're enrolled in a failing public school, such that the idea is not really empowering parents to make appropriate choices for their particular children, but just finding a way of getting kids out of public schools that are performing poorly. We ought to go beyond that.
We ought to at least recognize that our goal -- as Virginia Walden-Ford said, she has three children, and the first two were fine in public school. And they may have been very good public schools for all I know. But the third one just needed something else and something different, and that's the parent's ability, and that's what we want to encourage in our partners, to look at their children and find the best school out there for their particular child. (Applause)
RABBI ZWIEBEL: So these schools are critical national asset and a critical familial asset. At the end of the day we need to recognize as faith-based communities that they are a precious communal asset. And if they are a communal asset, as I said earlier, the cost of supporting them must be borne by the community at large. And if there is no message that emerges from today's summit more powerfully than the important and vital role that these schools play in our nation in our families and within our own faith-based communities, that itself will have been a worthy purpose for convening this summit. Thank you. (Applause)
MR. HAMILTON: Thank you very much, panelists. Like I said, the actual proves the possible. And after a day where we've talked about the struggles ahead and all that needs to be done, it is truly encouraging to hear of all the great success that you all have already had with what you are doing. I'm wondering, in the context of all the decline that we've been hearing about and talking about with respect to faith-based schooling in American, the numbers of schools closing and financial pressures etc., can you just quickly reflect on what you attribute to the success of your program or school you have founded? In this context of decline, why are you succeeding? Please.
DR. MCDONALD: There are people who recognize that the inner cities belong to us all, whether we live there or not. And those children who live in these inner cities are our responsibility whether they're biologically our children or not. So what I've found is there are compassionate, caring individuals and groups who have stepped forward to fund and to save Catholic schools in the inner city because they have worked for generations, and they want these schools to do it again, to just do it again. Do what you did for the immigrant population you helped before.
MR. HAMILTON: B.J.?
MR. CASSIN: In the 19 Cristo Rey schools and the 64 NativityMiguel schools, one thing I've observed is that there is a reservoir of people in the local communities that are ready and willing to invest in any of these schools, as long as they're comfortable with the model itself. They are approved by the diocese, each of these schools, but they are independent schools, and that, for the last three or four years, has been something that was important to a lot of Catholic donors.
Every school -- you can pick a school at random, and there's a story behind it. And the story is one person gets involved and tells two more people and three people. And you saw the amount of money that the NativityMiguel schools raised, $53 million last year in 64 schools.
Is that sustainable? That's why we spend a lot of time. We have the president and the development director for every NativityMiguel school come to Washington for three days on development. And not only for the new people to be a development 101, but it goes all the way up to how to choose a board, how to get the word out in the community, how to have a contract with your board member, what's expected of them. So there's a wellspring of people interested in supporting the programs. That's what we've found.
MR. TILLAPAUGH: It's a lot of hard work, I'm telling you. But years ago I had to turn my head from realizing a lot of us just need to be a kid sometime to just out there casting the vision constantly and constantly identifying people. There are lots of people. In Denver alone I think I fund most of both my local school and -- the Denver school is running from $1.1 million, and tuition pays for maybe one percent of that. That's just in Denver, nationally obviously much more.
But it's constantly identifying, being opportunistic. And I tell my people, our members, that you're going to have to sacrifice, you know, getting to be a good minister, to be with the kids, to be out there fundraising constantly. Compelling vision, excellent staff. I've got my fundraisers. I pretty much raised up my own young ladies that -- I'll give you an example.
My senior development director at the Denver school came to me when she was 16 years old. She was a recovering cocaine addict. By time she was 14 she was living with a 27-year-old drug dealer. She fell off the wagon and became a hard-core crystal meth addict. We had to let her go and get her in rehab. She had a powerful confrontation with God in rehab, came back, graduated, and started right away as teaching or starting with computer data entry.
And she's an incredible individual donor fundraiser right now, getting a full-ride scholarship to Regis, which is a Catholic university down there in business and finance. So raising them up and teaching them and having an excellent staff is a huge part of it.
REVEREND SCULLY: Well, Karl Zinsmeister is going to be furious with my response, but the truth of the matter is that holy spirit will not be thwarted. (Applause)
REVEREND SCULLY: And almost I'm surprised by the question. I'm surprised by the question because, of course, people are always going to be hungry for God and for an encounter with God. And so our whole success, if you want to call it that, is a response really deeply in the souls of the people who hunger for God. I believe that. And believe me, that isn't going to change. (Applause)
RABBI ZWIEBEL: It's a little bit hard to add anything to God.
REVEREND SCULLY: Our founder is one of yours. (Laughter)
MR. HAMILTON: So this priest and rabbi were on a podium. (Laughter)
MR. HAMILTON: I think everyone will join me in thanking the President and thanking Karl and thanking Andy and the whole team assembled this day. And thank you to all this fine panel in showing what is possible. (Applause)
(Recess taken from 2:57 to 2:59 p.m.)