Providing Tuition Scholarships to Students in Need
Steve Adubato goes one on one with Gerard O’Connor, Executive Director of The Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children, who talks about the non-profit organization which provides tuition scholarships to children from low-income families for private or parochial schools in urban municipalities in NJ.
"We welcome back our good friend Gerry O'Connor, Executive Director, the Scholarship fund for inner city children. Good to see you Gerry. Thanks for having me Steve. As a young man a few years ago, I was a product of Catholic high school in Newark, New Jersey. Essex Catholic. Doesn't even exist anymore. We talk about this all the time. Yes. So, I'm a fan of kids in inner cities having options. I'm a big fan of public schools but your kids... who are they and why is it that Catholic schools are important for some of them? We help children who are from low income families. Yup. And basically, our kids are from Newark, Jersey City, Elizabeth, and the surrounding areas. Four counties. We've got Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union counties. Go. Yes. And so we're trying to help those families who want to give an educational opportunity, give their kids an opportunity to have a value based education in a safe environment and these parents think it's important to go to a Catholic school in the archdiocese of Newark. So, we have currently this year about 1500 students from K-12 that are getting a scholarship, a partial tuition scholarship to attend. Let's put some numbers in place. 30 Years. 50,000 scholarships. 40 Million dollars. Again, these are not tax payer dollars. I want to be really clear about this. This is an effort that has been going on. It's a passion that one of your board members, our good friend Kevin Cummings, right? Yes. From investors. Again, a product of Jersey City. He and I talk about that all the time. Who are these students and what difference has it made for them? Well, these are students that are just looking for an opportunity. They are from low income families, so they're looking to do something to become a better person. The education that they're receiving is... They're getting values in the classroom. They're getting structure. How to get to the next level. We've got kids going from K-8 and then they're going to high school. Yeah. Over 65% of our kids who graduate 8th grade Catholic school will go on to a Catholic high school and then the kids that graduate high school, 100% of our kids are going to graduate high school. But 97% of those students are going to go on to higher education. They're going to go on and become good citizens and give something back. And in those 33 plus years, we've had that success. We've seen kids that come back and do something great so it's important that they get the opportunity and that's all they want. It's just the opportunity. Hmm. And once again..."