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Making Educational Dreams a Reality for Families

Kevin Mills, Serving Our Children and Caitlin Furey, The Crimsonbridge Foundation May 2018

All families want their children to be in an academic setting where they will thrive and succeed. Founded on the belief that all students are capable of significant academic achievement, and that all children, regardless of income and socioeconomic status, should have access to a quality education, Serving Our Children works with low-income families to make the option of private school a reality for thousands of D.C. students.

As the nonprofit responsible for administering the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), Serving Our Children is experienced in connecting low-income D.C. families to scholarships that enable them to send their children to private independent and parochial schools in D.C. During the 2017-18 school year alone, it administered OSP scholarships to 1,653 students in K-12.

Though demand for tuition assistance is high, the needs-based eligibility for OSP is limiting. In 2015, the Crimsonbridge Foundation reached out to Serving Our Children with the hope of responding to a specific demand from Hispanic families seeking assistance to access a Catholic education in this region.

Working with Serving Our Children, the Crimsonbridge Foundation seeded the Hispanic Education Imperative Fund in 2016 to provide scholarships with the goal of increasing access to quality Catholic schools for low-income, Latino youth in the Greater Washington Region. In addition to receiving scholarships, families are able to access application materials in Spanish and receive support from Serving Our Children’s bilingual staff, who work with parents in person, by phone, and at community events, to help navigate the education system and find an appropriate school.

As the parent of one Hispanic Education Imperative Fund scholarship recipient shared, “I arrived in the United States of America when I was four years old. I remember learning English in preschool. I remember growing up knowing I was different from my friends, but also being very proud of who I am and where I came from. When I was getting ready for high school, I wanted to attend a local Catholic high school. I applied and was accepted. Unfortunately, the financial demands made it impossible for me to attend. My son is now attending a Catholic high school. The Hispanic Education Imperative Fund helped make our dreams a reality. It made it possible for us to afford a Catholic education for our family.”

To date, nearly 50 students have received scholarships to attend Catholic schools in D.C. and Maryland with support from the Hispanic Education Imperative Fund and Serving Our Children.