Part of the turnaround of the Allentown Catholic schools was the adoption of methods pioneered by the Healey Education Foundation, based in the Camden Diocese and founded with the expressed intention of assisting struggling Catholic schools.
It was founded by Robert Healey Sr., a product of the Camden diocesan schools and St. Joseph’s University. In addition to his career as a lawyer, Healey was a cofounder of the Viking Yacht Co., one of the world’s largest builders of luxury yachts.
The Healey Education Foundation, which is now headed by Christine Healey, the daughter of Robert Healey, was founded in 2004. Because of its success in the Camden Diocese it was chosen to help develop plans for sustainability by the Allentown Diocese.
“We were one of several models they explored and they decided they wanted to work with us,” explained Greg Geruson, vice president of the Healey Foundation. “We formed a trinity, so to speak – the Bishop’s Commission, the diocese and ourselves to focus on sustaining Catholic schools in Allentown. It is a focus not only on enrollment but rolling out governing boards in all of their schools and rolling out a more sophisticated approach to fundraising and communication.”
Right now the Healey Foundation is working directly with six Allentown high schools, three schools of special education and nine elementary schools.
In the elementary schools they worked with these past two years, there has been an average enrollment increase of 3.2 percent and a high school enrollment increase of 2.5 percent.
“One of the big things is focusing on engaging with the laity in a way that they have a real sense of ownership of the schools,” Geruson said. If they have that, he believes, they will truly want to give their time, expertise and financial support to help make it work.
Now the Healey Foundation, assisted with funding from the Connelly Foundation, is also working in the Philadelphia Archdiocese, at this point in six elementary schools.
The pilot project, which represents a real cross-section of schools in the archdiocese, includes Holy Family Regional School, Levittown; St. Christopher, Northeast Philadelphia; Our Lady of Port Richmond Regional School in Port Richmond, Philadelphia; St. Katherine of Siena in Northeast Philadelphia; St. Peter the Apostle in Lower Northeast Philadelphia and St. Peter and Paul, West Chester.
“Probably the most distinguishing factor in these schools are the boards that are being put in place that have real responsibility in terms of marketing, fundraising and finances, which is really innovative for the archdiocese,” Geruson said.
In a time to build, CatholicPhilly.com connects people and communities
As society emerges from the loss and separation of the pandemic, CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you join in our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community.
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103