Consider this: what of our nation’s discoveries, achievements, and gains across knowledge, science, technology, music, and art might not have been possible but for scholarships? How many young people might not have had the resources and tools to realize their true potential, to find meaningful work and fulfillment, and to give back to their communities? We are speaking here of the basic right of each child to live with dignity and promise, and Chaminade High School has a sacred duty – to its students and to society – to be an enabling force in that equation. “There’s something that happens during those four years; Chaminade takes young boys and transforms them into faith-filled young men of high moral character. That’s not some slogan; it’s the fabric of the school,” says Torch Fund Chairman Sean Kilduff ’88. “And these young men are, in turn, having a transformative impact on the world. Chaminade is launching into society our future leaders – in industry, in communities – who have a material and positive impact.”
Thanks to a new endowed scholarship program, Access for All, this opportunity – to be molded by the profound excellence of a Chaminade education, to become forever a part of its powerful alumni network, and to join with that network in leading society – can be a realistic option for all academically qualified Catholic young men.
Access for All represents the next step on a continuum of philanthropy as a critical lever for access at Chaminade.
As the school community knows, the Torch Fund, our annual giving program, has for years played a significant role in the accessibility of tuition for all students, currently providing $2,340 in tuition abatement towards the $16,825 annual tuition cost for each and every student. But for many this support is not enough (see pages 8 and 9 for more on the history and future of the Torch Fund).
Today, nearly 80% of our current students live in communities where the median household income level is at or below $140,000, and more than 15% of students live in towns with median household incomes significantly below $100,000. Long Island is experiencing widening gaps between various socioeconomic, ethnic, and racial communities, not only financially, but also in understanding, empathy, and perspective. The rippling effects of the pandemic have had an unequivocally adverse impact on our communities’ youth, threatening to derail lives and presenting an uncertain labor market.
ACCESS FOR ALL COULD NOT HAVE COME AT A MORE CRITICAL TIME
“The idea that we can make Chaminade available to kids who never dreamed of being here is remarkable,” says Michael Rafferty ’87, co-chair of the Access for All campaign. “It’s a win across the board. The students get an incredible education, the parents are not financially burdened, the teachers have a more diverse group to teach to, and students get to meet people they never would have met before,” Michael explained. “Everybody wins.”
HOW IT WILL WORK
Through Access for All we seek to raise an initial $30 million in the first phase of the program to create a substantial financial-aid effort, allowing us to reduce tuition cost barriers for talented and qualified students whose families might struggle to afford a Chaminade education, or worse, might not even think to apply.
Assuming a 5% annual spend rate on the $30 million endowment, when fully funded, we will be able to provide $1,500,000 annually for direct financial aid and scholarships. Through Access for All, students can apply for a partial to full tuition scholarship based on the needs of each family. Following a successful submission of an application, a third-party financial solutions service assesses how much support each family is eligible to receive.
Our intent is to grow this fund over time and to substantially increase the number of students receiving financial assistance. Our near-term goal, in the next four to five years, is to more than double the number of students receiving financial aid. The initial success of Access for All would mean approximately 220 students (or approximately 13% of the student body) would receive financial assistance, a 120% increase from our current financial aid and scholarships. Longer term, our goal is to raise even more scholarship funding for Access for All so we can increase the percentage receiving financial assistance to 25% of the student body or roughly 425 students. This is what Chaminade looks like in the future.
“Access for All is a renewal of our mission as a Marianist school,” says Bro. Thomas Cleary, S.M. ’81, president of Chaminade. “Our mission is to provide the very best in Catholic education, at an accessible price point, so that it is available for any qualified young man in the area.”
Access for All is poised to change the profile of students applying in ways our other financial aid programs cannot. Through the program we strive to double the racial and ethnic diversity of our student body to more accurately represent the world around us and continue building on the diverse socioeconomic community we are blessed to have on Long Island and the surrounding areas. We know our students learn as much from one another as they do from their teachers, but this doesn’t happen in a meaningful way without including students from diverse ZIP codes and backgrounds.
THE ORIGINS OF ACCESS FOR ALL
“The idea began to form in our minds at the beginning of the pandemic,” says Bro. Tom. “We all know those were dark times; parents were suddenly out of work and could not finish paying tuition for 2020 or the deposit for 2021. We launched Chaminade Cares to help bridge that gap, and so many of our friends, alumni, and families came forward to help cover tuition for families whose parents were suddenly without work. We raised $1.9 million in less than two weeks. After over 40 years at Chaminade, I have truly never seen a response quite like that.”
“It opened our eyes to the growing financial need of parents struggling with the high and climbing cost of living on Long Island and the surrounding areas, and we began to ask ourselves how we could ensure Chaminade’s tuition remains accessible beyond the crisis of COVID. We asked ourselves, ‘What if Chaminade’s tuition were not a barrier for any qualified young man?’”
Bro. Tom views Chaminade as a great equalizer and Access for All as the tool we need to best serve the school community and students. “We have young men in this school on full scholarship and young men at school whose parents could pay their tuition dozens of times over; nobody knows the difference. Everyone matters in this building. Once you’re a student here, you are known and loved.”
THE ACCESS FOR ALL CAMPAIGN
We are honored to have Kevin Conway ’76 and Michael Rafferty ’87 serving as the co-chairs of this campaign. Dick Kearns ’68, chairman of the Board of Advisors, is also providing strategic guidance and counsel.
“Education is a way to change the arc of somebody’s life,” says Conway. “With the right foundation, an education is the catalyst and the fuel for the American dream. And there is simply no excuse for not doing everything possible to make sure that a deserving young man can attend Chaminade despite his family’s financial situation. This applies to the most financially deserving, but also those who are stretched because of multiple children or other circumstances. The Torch Fund has been remarkable in helping keep Chaminade affordable for all families, but we can do more.”
ENSURING TUITION AFFORDABILITY TRANSLATES TO TRUE ACCESS
Chaminade’s enrollment and recruitment efforts – along with other “wrap-around” student-support services – will be closely linked with the Access for All funding and financial aid offerings provided. There are many challenges facing a student coming from a more disadvantaged background or a family with significant financial needs that go well beyond tuition. These additional expenses might include books, computers, breakfast and lunch money, appropriate school clothing, transportation, etc., and we are prepared to help all families to meet these needs.
In order to promote this newly expanded financial offering, we have also invested in our first outward facing admissions team, under the direction of Mr. Thomas Elder ’10, which is already conducting outreach within local communities, establishing relationships with partner organizations and schools, opening doors, and creating pathways for future Flyers. This outreach strategy includes private campus tours, student fairs, open houses, and opportunities to educate interested community members on Access for All.
Although we anticipate significant demand from Long Island, strategic partnerships with local educational organizations and individual schools will provide us with an opportunity to introduce the idea of attending Chaminade to young men in the Bronx, Harlem, Queens, Brooklyn, and the untapped and underserved areas of our more traditional markets of Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
"A full scholarship to Chaminade is truly the greatest gift and hope I could have for my students," says Jeanmarie Becker, principal of The De La Salle School in Freeport. "To see these young gentlemen, who are so bright and have the capacity to thrive, be accepted to Chaminade and to know that their families won't be financially burdened, it was the greatest God-given gift for me to hear that they will have their lives changed."
A CHAMINADE EDUCATION IS A PRIVILEGE
“A Chaminade education is a privilege,” says Conway. “The education and character-building that goes on in the school is second to none, and it should be available to every family and young man who qualifies academically for it.”
Long a part of facilitating access to a Chaminade education, philanthropy is central to our community’s faith. Since 1987, donor contributions and investment earnings have provided our endowment nearly $175 million. More importantly, we’ve given $98 million of
it away: $46 million in tuition rebates and another $52 million in capital improvements to our facilities, resources, and infrastructure.
“Without the power of the community behind them, a school can’t thrive,” says Rafferty. “The product of our giving is the empowerment and education of our students.”
Access for All represents an invitation to set a new standard for generosity within the Chaminade community, facilitating reciprocity between those privileged enough to have benefited from a Chaminade education and those who otherwise might never have dreamed
of the opportunity. As the world becomes more complex, as young people of faith and morality are called to navigate that world and to make the right decisions, Chaminade offers its students academics, yes, but just as importantly, guidance on what it is to be a man of character. This is more important than ever.
The Chaminade of tomorrow seeks to provide a top-tier education to any baptized, Catholic young man who meets its academic standards and has been accepted, regardless of financial standing. This is Access for All.