Cleansing Fire

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Jewish, atheist donors helping Catholic schools in Boston, NYC

August 10th, 2010, Promulgated by Mike

Their numbers might be small but Jewish donors have been making a significant difference in Catholic education in Boston. While they also support Jewish organizations most of them

are passionate about Catholic schools because they provide an excellent education to the neediest children.

“We like to get a good return on our investment,’’ [New England Patriots owner Robert] Kraft said of his family’s approach to philanthropy …

Jewish donors said they see their support for Catholic schools as an expression of Jewish values — promoting education, providing opportunity for the disadvantaged and new immigrants, and building institutions that benefit the community.

More than one person interviewed referenced the medieval Torah scholar Maimonides, who articulated eight levels of charitable giving, the most virtuous of which was to help another person become independent. [Howard Kessler, of The Kessler Group,] said he and his wife give to many schools, regardless of their religious affiliation, because they see education as a “great equalizer.’’

“It’s really attractive because it touches a couple of different things Jews tend to care about — number one, it touches the poorest of the poor . . . and it does it through education,’’ said Barry Shrage, president of Combined Jewish Philanthropies.

In New York City atheist Robert Wilson has given the Archdiocese’s Catholic schools over $30 million in the last few years.  His money has gone to fund scholarships and to help develop a program to reach out to Catholic school alumni for continuing support.

“Most of what the Catholic schools teach are the three Rs,” said Wilson, 83, in a phone interview, referring to reading, writing and arithmetic. “And they do it better than the union-controlled inner-city schools.” …

“I realized that Catholic schools were closing all over the country, and Bill Gates probably didn’t have enough money to save them,” said Wilson. “Every private school I hear of relies on alumni support, whether it’s the Groton School or the universities.”

Boston story here.

New York City story here.

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One Response to “Jewish, atheist donors helping Catholic schools in Boston, NYC”

  1. avatar am in need of help am apoor child in uganda can you help me also. says:

    Thanks , am acatholic and am from avery poor family and i want to go to school can you help me? am ugandan ,Rosemary, let me know then i can give more details about me .Thanks

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