Press Release – Torch of Learning Initiative Aims to Raise $150,000 Annually for Catholic Scholarship Program
The Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children (SFIC) recently launched the Torch of Learning campaign, a new three-year initiative that aims to annually match the $150,000 the Archdiocese of Newark provides each year to fund its “We Are Living Stones” Catholic Tuition Assistance Program offered through SFIC.
Established in 2021, the yearly “We Are Living Stones” program gives $1,500 scholarships to 100 underprivileged students of the Catholic faith attending archdiocesan schools in Newark, Jersey City, East Orange, Union, and Fairview. If the Torch of Learning campaign reaches its fundraising goal, the money collected will support an additional 100 students who fit the “We Are Living Stones” criteria with $1,500 scholarships each year over a three-year period, concluding with the 2024-25 school year.
“We are delighted to collaborate with the Archdiocese of Newark on this campaign to support the ‘We Are Living Stones’ program,” said Dr. Michelle L. Hartman, SFIC’s Chief Executive Officer. “Catholic education is not just good for the kids, it’s good for society because Catholic schools enrich students morally as well as intellectually. And we want to ensure as many children as possible can get that education through our scholarships.”
Assuming it achieves its goal every year, the Torch of Learning campaign will raise a total of $450,000 over the course of its existence. Combining that with the monies donated by the Archdiocese, a total of $900,000 worth of scholarships will be distributed to 600 students by the time the campaign concludes.
Since SFIC started collecting contributions on January 30 — the first day of Catholic Schools Week — the Torch of Learning campaign has generated approximately $50,000 in funds. Those interested in helping SFIC raise the other two-thirds of its goal by the end of the campaign’s first year on June 30 can visit www.sficnj.org/donate/ or mail checks to The Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children, 171 Clifton Ave., Newark, NJ 08817. Donors should note “Torch of Learning Campaign” in the check’s memo.
“We’re calling this campaign ‘Torch of Learning’ because education is illuminating and leads to so many opportunities,” said Edward J. Garcia, SFIC’s Major Gifts Officer. “We’d love to provide every child with a scholarship so they can all reap the benefits of a great education, but that’s just not possible if we don’t have the funds to go around. So we hope people will support this campaign and help us make a difference in children’s lives.”
Beyond the “We Are Living Stones” program, SFIC offers numerous other partial tuition assistance scholarships to underprivileged students attending archdiocesan schools regardless of their religion, race, gender, or ethnicity. Last year, the fund accomplished the rare feat of providing every qualified applicant with a scholarship. However, SFIC is seeing an increase in applications this year, which is why it hopes to expand its donor base through the “Torch of Learning” campaign.
To learn more about the Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children, visit www.sficnj.org.
About the Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children
SFIC, founded in 1983 as the Fund for Educational Advancement, is a non-profit organization funded by corporations, foundations, and individual donors who wish to invest in the future of economically-disadvantaged children living in neighboring communities. The fund has provided more than $54 million in partial-tuition assistance to students from economically-disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds within Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union counties. Scholarships are based on need without regard to religion, gender, race, or ethnic background. Applicant families must be ready to provide proof of income and must intend to attend one of the schools within the four counties it serves.