The Philanthropy Collaborative

Regional Case Studies

Children's Scholarship Fund Tale

One mother worried that her kindergartner, a fast learner, wouldn't get the best education possible in a public school. Another fretted about her daughter's safety at an elementary school where police were rumored to have been called more than once. A third mother, who is on welfare, felt that a good private school education would open doors for her daughter that had been closed to her.

These young children are among 1.25 million whose families have applied to the Children's Scholarship Fund for partial scholarships to help pay private school tuitions. Nearly 1 million of the children in kindergarten through eighth grade have benefited from such aid, which averages nearly $1,500 per student and is based on a family's size and income relative to tuition. (The average tuition at schools the children attend is $3,650. The families - average family income is little more than $29,000 a year - pay varying amounts of the difference.

Debra Sullivan, the unemployed mother on welfare, for example, is doing everything possible - including collecting aluminum cans - to raise money for her daughter Giavanni's tuition at Harlem's St. Mark the Evangelist school. Giavanni, a 6th grader, had fallen several grades behind in math at her public school. Her new school "will open more doors for her and introduce Giavanni to a new way of life," her mother says.

Francisca Toribio is grateful that since 1999 her son Lester, the fast learner, has been able to attend Ascension School in East Harlem. "All I want is for my child to be happy and well-educated," she says. "I am a single parent, and receiving the scholarship was the best thing that happened to me."

Similarly, Alexandra Rivera is now at ease about the safety of her daughter Jossie at Christ the King School in the Bronx (Jossie had been hit during lunch at her public school). "Christ the King makes me feel secure," she says, adding that she and her husband have noticed that Jossie, a 2nd grader, is more disciplined in her school work.

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