Special education schools in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia got a major boost May 11 with a $50,000 donation from the Connelly Foundation through the Catholic Charities Appeal.

The donor has been rooted in the appeal, the major annual fundraiser for the archdiocese, since its beginning under Cardinal John F. O’Hara in 1958 through industrialist John F. Connelly.

“In honor of our father and his consistent good will and generosity, the Connelly Foundation is pleased to continue supporting the schools of special education,” said the foundation’s president, Josephine Mandeville.


Her parents, John and Josephine Connelly, were long-time contributors to the appeal who were especially interested in funding special education.

The archdiocese operates four schools of special education: St. Lucy’s Day School for Children with Visual Impairments, Philadelphia; Archbishop Ryan School for the Deaf, Philadelphia, St. Katherine Day School at its Wynnewood campus and at Archbishop Carroll High School, Radnor; and Our Lady of Confidence Day School with campuses in Willow Grove and Wyncote.

The schools and programs deliver strong academic, sensory and spiritual instruction in grades Kindergarten through eight.

The archdiocese also runs regional learning-support programs at Msgr. Bonner-Archbishop Prendergast and Archbishop Ryan high schools; and on the elementary level at St. Dominic and St. Martin of Tours schools in Philadelphia and Our Lady of Angels Regional Catholic School in Morton.

Director of Special Education Thomas McLaughlin praised the foundation’s continued support to enable the schools to provide resources for special-needs students, including those with physical and intellectual impairments.

“The Connelly Foundation’s generosity will assist (those students) in overcoming many challenges, (and) to live fulfilled and meaningful lives,” McLaughlin said.

The foundation also supports the broader mission of Catholic education in the archdiocese, particularly through its annual scholarships to Catholic high school freshmen. It also contributes to other nonprofits in the region in a variety of fields including human services, arts and education.

The Catholic Charities Appeal now underway has been expanded to meet the needs of some 180 Catholic beneficiary agencies in several areas of ministry: education, social services, evangelization, parish and spiritual life, clergy and mission activities.

For more information on the appeal, visit the website CatholicCharitiesAppeal.org.