Scholarship Weekend highlighted a streamlined funding effort provided by the Orange Catholic Foundation

By Larry Urish     12/19/2019

Suppose your child attended a Catholic school that couldn’t afford its own books. Worse yet, what if you couldn’t even afford to send them to this school? 

That’s the reality for many children at Santa Ana–based St. Anne School, located in an area where many families face economic hardship. Paying the $5,000-a-year tuition for a quality Catholic education simply isn’t possible. 

A few years ago, a parish – also named St. Anne – offered to help. Parishioners at the Seal Beach parish were informed of St. Anne School’s funding challenges and the kids who couldn’t afford to attend. They’ve helped pay school expenses and tuition ever since. 

Recently, their altruistic efforts became easier – for the supporters and for both “St. Annes” – thanks to the first-annual Scholarship Weekend, a collaboration between the Santa Ana school, the Seal Beach parish and the Orange Catholic Foundation.  

St. Anne Parish’s generosity began a few years earlier. “In September 2017, two friends were looking for an elementary school to help out,” says JoAnn Rossi, who leads St. Anne Parish’s School Ministry. “They identified St. Anne School.” That November, Rossi sent a proposal to the Seal Beach parish’s council, suggesting they help St. Anne School on a broader scale. It was approved. 

“They saw our school’s great need and potential,” says Sr. Teresa Lynch, St. Anne School’s principal. “For example, we had to use old math books, since we couldn’t afford new ones. When we later gave [the Seal Beach parishioners] a tour of the school, they met our kids and fell in love with them.” 

Rossi initially spoke during a Mass at St. Anne Parish, asking for assistance. The parishioners gave $14,000 … that very day. However, Principal Lynch and her staff were soon overwhelmed with additional donations; processing each one added to their already overloaded workday.  

That’s when the Orange Catholic Foundation stepped in. “St. Anne School staff do exactly what they’re supposed to do, educate young children, and they do it very well,” says Sue Nunn, Acting Executive Director of the Orange Catholic Foundation. “Their donation-related duties were an added burden, and we at the foundation are experts in facilitating all charitable giving matters. We don’t educate children, but we love to support those who do.” 

St. Anne School’s staff connects a student in need of tuition assistance with a supporter as an “adopted” student. Each supporter receives a picture of the student they’re helping, as well as letters updating the young student’s education and goals.  

“Parishioners can give to current tuition assistance,” Nunn says, “gifts can also be made to a St. Anne school endowment fund providing assistance in perpetuity.” 

This new arrangement, Nunn notes, can serve as a model of giving throughout the Diocese. “The best thing anyone can do to help St. Anne School – right now – is to visit orangecatholicfoundation.org/support-stanne and give today or give us a call at 714.282.3021.”