National spotlight

When Bob Healey first started his Healey Education Foundation, he wanted to offer students scholarships to Catholic school, but he soon realized that scholarships wouldn’t mean much if Catholic schools kept closing. So with his background in law and entrepreneurship, he developed a three-part approach to improve what he saw as an outdated Catholic school business model. In the 10-plus years since he began his New Jersey-based nonprofit, Healey’s focus on board governance, fundraising and marketing has benefited more than 60 schools in New Jersey, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Healey Education Foundation works with six schools at a time within one archdiocese, helping them each assemble a professional board whose members have business expertise. The board is then able to promote budget, facilities and enrollment strategies that advance the mission of the school, and principals are freed to concentrate on educating students.

Next, Healey helps each school hire a full-time advancement professional to raise money and develop a culture of philanthropy.

Finally, Healey provides a locally hired director of schools, trained in the Healey model, to be a resource for the staff and the school community. Later this year, the Healey Foundation will apply their winning approach to six schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, thanks to funding from the GHR Foundation and the Schulze Family Foundation. Collaborating with the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence (CSCOE), the Healey director of Twin Cities schools will be embedded in CSCOE’s home office.

“We’ve seen success in increasing enrollment, increasing development dollars, increasing the number of professionals with expertise on boards,” said Elizabeth Alfonsi, Healey’s vice president of operations. “As a foundation, our success is not the money we make, but our ability to help our schools succeed.”

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Catholic Schools Center of Excellence