Who Runs CAP? CAP is currently a collaboration between three hundred and three Catholic elementary schools from seven Arch/dioceses. These Arch/dioceses include: the Diocese of Bridgeport, the Diocese of Brooklyn, the Diocese of Buffalo, the Archdiocese of Hartford, the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Norwich and the Diocese of Rockville Centre.
How is CAP funded? The benefactors currently wish to remain anonymous but are deeply committed to ensuring the ongoing success of the Catholic elementary school system and wanted to help it establish a stronger base through more effective alumni outreach.
Why should Catholic elementary school alumni support this program?
Few elementary schools have had the resources until now to reach out to their alumni. Research shows that 82% percent of elementary school alumni would give to their schools if contacted. This data is supported by a study by Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, which showed that almost 90% of parents surveyed who, themselves, attended Catholic schools rated their experience good to excellent, and that experience was an important factor influencing their decision to enroll their child in a Catholic elementary school.
CAP in the news, from the Diocese of Buffalo website:
When it comes to engaging their alumni, colleges, universities and high schools have dedicated tremendous resources and have reaped the benefits. Now Catholic elementary schools in the diocese are in excellent position to do the same thing.
That process has been bolstered significantly through a $1.4 million dollar grant for the Catholic Alumni Partnership, a new privately funded effort in support of Catholic elementary schools. The grant was secured for the diocese by Carol Kostyniak (left), secretary for Catholic education for the Diocese of Buffalo.
“This is great for our schools, the Church and our alumni,” Kostyniak said. “We are grateful to the Catholic Alumni Partnership for their generous gift that will help to strengthen our schools and help our alumni to reconnect with their schools and their friends.”
Buffalo is one of seven (arch) dioceses to share in CAP grants. The other recipients are the archdioceses of New York and Hartford, and the dioceses of Brooklyn, Rockville Center plus Norwich and Bridgeport, both in Connecticut.
“Ensuring the future of viable, accessible and vibrant Catholic schools must be a priority for all community stakeholders,” said Dr. Rosemary Henry, superintendent of Catholic schools for the diocese. “This momentous gift to create the Catholic Alumni Partnership provides the stimulus to forge partnerships and to leverage support from alumni near and far. Through this generosity the best is yet to come in Catholic education where children reach for excellence and are transformed into disciples of Christ.”
Spearheading the local effort is Karin Krasevac-Lenz (pictured above with Carol Kostyniak), Catholic Alumni Partnership director for the diocese who said the goal of the program is to “re-engage the alumni to help our Catholic elementary schools become stronger with an ever growing community to help them serve the young students of Western New York in sharing their time, talent and treasure. We want to awaken their desire to serve the schools in many ways: on boards, as mentors for students, through prayer, as special event volunteers, as donors, as alumni event planners and in ways likely not yet imagined. A central focus of this program is to bring together and reinvigorate Catholic school communities which have thrived here for more than a century.”
This is the second grant the diocese has secured to reach out to elementary school alumni. Last year, CAP provided a $600,000 grant that was used to digitize more than a quarter million alumni records of students who graduated from Catholic elementary schools between 1945 and 2005.
Krasevac-Lenz said nearly 221,000 of those records have been successfully matched to current addresses.
All parish and regional Catholic elementary schools in the diocese have participated in the effort to help locate their eighth grade alumni. Contact information for alumni of merged and closed elementary schools has also been sought.
“In the next phase of this project,” Krasevac-Lenz said, “alumni will be personally updated via an initial newsletter followed by ongoing outreach to help them reengage with their alma maters and their fellow graduates. All alums will learn more about the continued mission of Catholic schools in their old neighborhoods and the many ways our schools serve today’s children.”
Ongoing support for the elementary schools will be significant. CAP professional staff that will be fully funded by the grant program, will regularly interface with staff and volunteer school leaders to help them establish regular contact with their alumni through social media, mailings and events. All schools will also have access to new technology including a professional quality alumni data base to help them keep current with news and addresses of their alums.
The grant providing this Web-based system includes all necessary training and specific types of assistance from staff of the Foundation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. The grant also covers printing and mailing costs for a wide array of contacts with alumni.
Three positions are currently being advertised by the CAP program: director of major gifts, director of annual appeals and director of alumni relations.
The Catholic Alumni Partnership is working to implement strong, sustainable annual fundraising programs for each of the Catholic elementary schools participating in CAP, with alumni support as its foundation.