Monthly Newspaper • DIOCESE OF BRIDGEPORT

Foundations in Education Annual Report

Click here to read Foundations in Education’s First Annual Report!

Foundations in Education is committed to strengthen and transform the mission of Catholic education in the Diocese of Bridgeport by supporting innovation in academic and extra-curriculum programs, fostering opportunities for the professional development of school leaders in innovation and leadership and providing scholarship assistance to families in need.

Foundations in Education is the realization of the extraordinary vision of the Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano, Fifth Bishop of Bridgeport. Begun as the Bishop’s Scholarship Fund in 2015, Foundations in Education was incorporated July 14, 2015 as a new non-for-profit foundation whose exclusive mission is to serve the mission of Catholic education in the Diocese of Bridgeport. Foundations in Education is now governed by a lay Board of Trustees.

The creation of Foundations in Education, Inc. represents a crucial milestone in Bishop Caggiano’s long term strategy to stabilize and improve Diocese of Bridgeport Catholic schools and provide a path for their sustained growth. In its first year, the Bishop’s Scholarship Fund distributed over $2.1 million worth of tuition assistance to nearly 1,600 students for the 2015-16 academic year.  The Bishop’s Scholarship Fund passed from diocesan control to Foundations in Education in July 2016.

The goals of Foundations in Education include a commitment to raise significant funds for scholarship assistance for children, ensuring all families who wish to send their children to Diocese of Bridgeport Catholic schools of their choice are able to do so regardless of their financial situation. Foundations in Education is equally committed to providing innovation and leadership grants for our Catholic school teachers and administrators so as to promote professional development and guarantee an even brighter future for our Catholic Schools.

(For more information on Foundations in Education, visit their website at: www.foundationsineducation.org.)

“We Stand with Christ” Video Testimonies of Faith

BRIDGEPORT—The Diocese has launched a video series to support the “We Stand with Christ” Capital Campaign that was publicly announced in January.

Beginning with the release of this week’s video, “We Stand with Children,” Catholics throughout the diocese will be seen on camera delivering both personal and powerful testimonies of their faith experience and commitment to “Stand with Christ” by standing alongside those in need in the diocese.

The $75 million “We Stand With Christ” campaign is designed to continue the work of renewal and strengthen the Church for future generations. In addition to support parishes throughout the diocese, the campaign will also fund foundations in education, charity and faith.

“We stand with Christ when we stand with our neighbor, whoever that neighbor may be, in whatever need they may have,” says Bishop Frank J. Caggiano in a video announcing the new video series. “We feed Christ, we clothe Christ, we visit Christ, we are with Christ in his moments of sickness and suffering precisely when we stand with our neighbor, who together form his presence in the world.”

The bishop said he is deeply grateful to the men and women who have appeared in the video and to all those who have already participated in the campaign.

“You and I will have the opportunity to hear some beautiful and powerful testimony from our own sisters and brothers, with whom we have stood in their time of need, loving them, and by loving them, loving Christ. I invite you to watch these vignettes and allow them to speak to your heart, as they have spoken to my heart.”

The bishop also directly challenges people to give sacrificially and take responsibility for each other by participating in the campaign.

“As this campaign moves forward, you and I are going to be asked to make a choice, with whom shall we stand? Let us together stand with the Lord, by standing with our neighbor, one person at a time.”

The series of 24, 90-second videos will accompany the capital campaign through the month of June. The first group of videos was filmed last week at St. Augustine Cathedral in Bridgeport, which provides a dramatic and sacred backdrop to the testimony of the speakers.

Filmmaker Brian Russell of Fairfield, who directed the “We Stand with Christ” capital campaign launch video, is producing the vignettes. The remaining videos will be shot in locations across Fairfield County.

“Participating in the filming has been humbling and inspiring,” said John Grosso, Director of Digital Media for the diocese. “It is an honor and privilege to record the faithful witness of so many men and women who live their faith and stand with Christ by standing with their neighbor,” said Grosso who is coordinating the series.

Grosso said that upcoming videos including comments on standing with the aged, the abused, and the vulnerable, will include a speaker sharing a bit about his or her own story, the ministry or program they support and what it means for the diocese to “stand” with them. Bishop Caggiano will also reflect on each video in his upcoming social media posts.

The vignettes are part of a Communications campaign to share how we can stand with Christ, our Church in Bridgeport, and with each other. They are posted every Thursday on Bishop Frank’s Facebook, and every Saturday on the Diocese of Bridgeport Facebook.

The “We Stand with Christ” capital campaign has already raised almost $50 million from Leadership Gifts and ten parishes that have participated in the pilot program, making it the largest and most successful campaign in the 64-year history of the diocese. Throughout the coming months, people throughout the diocese will be asked to make their pledge to the campaign.

With its objective of strengthening local parishes to encourage a vibrant Catholic life, the campaign will designate 50% of the funds raised, an estimated $37.5 million, for parish needs.

The remaining 50% will be invested in three major foundations: Foundations in Education ($12.5 million), Foundations in Faith ($15 million), and Foundations in Charity ($10 million). Each of the Foundations has its own Board of Directors.

For more information on the “We Stand with Christ” campaign for the diocese, call 203.648.9050. Visit the web at www.WeStandWithChrist.org

Give online at: www.givecentral.org/wswc

We Stand with Children video

Bishop Scholarship Fund Applications Open Feb. 1st

BRIDGEPORT—Foundations in Education is pleased to announce that applications to the Bishop’s Scholarship Fund open February 1, 2019!

The mission of the Bishop’s Scholarship Fund is to help families afford a Catholic education at Diocesan elementary schools in Fairfield County.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, the Bishop’s Scholarship Fund received more than 2,500 applications for tuition assistance and awarded over $2,500,000 to 1,380 students in Kindergarten through Grade-8. Awards ranged from $500-$3,000 per student.

A composite of this past year’s average Bishop’s Scholarship Fund recipients includes:

  • 46% raised by single parents
  • 53% qualify for free or reduced lunch
  • average household adjusted gross income = $54,990

“We encourage all families who need financial assistance to apply. Consideration may be given to families with multiple elementary school-aged children,” remarked Foundations in Education Executive Director Holly Doherty-Lemoine.

Applicants apply online via the FACTS Grant and Aid application and complete all questions relative to Bishop’s Scholarship Fund. The deadline to apply is March 15, 2019 for families with a child currently enrolled in K-8 at any of our Diocesan schools and April 15, 2019 for families new to our schools.

Elementary school principals, admissions directors, bookkeepers and tuition assistance committee members recently joined the Bishop’s Scholarship Fund Committee for an information session to discuss the upcoming 2019-2020 application process and so as to assure a smooth process for our school families.

Denise Vuoso, Director of Admissions at All Saints Catholic School in Norwalk, found the meeting informative. “I came away from the meeting with the knowledge necessary to help current and prospective families understand the process.”

Foundations in Education is a non-profit initiative created to assist the Diocese of Bridgeport’s ongoing mission to support Catholic education in Fairfield County. Foundations in Education raises money to provide tuition assistance to families in need, innovation and leadership grants for the professional development of teachers and other education-based initiatives.

(To learn more or to learn how your gift can help transform the lives of students, please visit the Foundations in Education website at: www.foundationsineducation.org.)

Standing with Our Children

As the Christmas season came to an end, I was left the final task of packing all the Christmas decorations away. In addition to my rooms at the seminary, I also continue to put up some of the Christmas decorations that my parents used when they were alive. In order to do so, I temporarily remove a number of photos from the top of some cabinets, photos that my mother cherished, some of which date back to a trip to Venice which my parents took with my sister and me in 1966. I consider those pictures to be priceless heirlooms of my family’s history.

This year, as I returned them to their places, I noticed one photo in particular. It depicts my sister and I standing in front of my mother and father, with my mother smiling at my sister and me (we were probably 6 and 2 years old respectively) while my father was kissing my mother. My mother’s smile and my father’s kiss spoke a powerful message, conveying the great affection and joy that they felt, in part because their children were on track to enjoy a better life than they did as children in the poverty of southern Italy.

I have been reflecting upon that picture for the last two weeks. For me it is a symbol of what “standing by our children” really means. In part, it conveyed a feeling from my parents of protection, affection, encouragement, joy and satisfaction that their children would be OK. Perhaps in many ways, that one photo summarized what my parents valued the most and worked for during their entire married life.

There are far too many children who do not enjoy such protection, affection, encouragement and joy in their lives for many reasons. Yet each of them, regardless of their earthly parents, are children of our Heavenly Father. As a community of believers, should we not recommit ourselves, in these troubled times, to do whatever we can to stand by every child in our midst, to ensure that they also will be ok?

The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos! Do not miss Bishop Frank’s latest video: What Does it Mean to Stand with Christ?

Foundations in Faith’s Assistant to the Chairperson

The Diocese of Bridgeport is pleased to announce that Foundations in Faith is growing both the board of directors and its staff. With the new year, Foundations in Faith has hired Kelly Weldon as the assistant to the chairperson. Foundations in Faith, the successor to Faith in the Future, is a nonprofit 501(c)3 created to assist the Diocese of Bridgeport’s ongoing mission to support, transform and enhance its varied pastoral ministries. The Foundation awards grants and distributions to support programs in religious education, evangelization, support for priests and deacons, seminarians and special needs ministries.

Kelly will be coordinating the grant process for the John Paul II funds to support faith formation as well as managing the award process for other pastoral initiatives. Kelly graduated from The Catholic University of America and holds a degree in social work. She has over a decade of experience working with foundations and three decades experience working with area non-profits. Kelly and her husband Chris live in Wilton and attend Our Lady of Fatima Church. They have three grown children.

The Foundation is also pleased to welcome three new board members; Lorraine Carrano from Trumbull, Joseph Sindelar from New Canaan and Susan Stone from New Canaan. Together, with Bishop Frank J. Caggiano serving as the chairperson, these directors join Alicia Carpenter-Cummings, Anne McCrory, Anthony Minopoli, Daniel Mudd, Mike Hanlon, Msgr. Thomas Powers, Nicholas Yanicelli and Paul Cronin. “We are truly blessed to have a tremendously talented board, who are both dedicated to the mission of the Foundation and committed to shepherding the funds entrusted to them to serve the pastoral needs of the diocese,” remarked Bishop Caggiano. “These directors have demonstrated a hands-on approach to growing and supporting the pastoral work at our parishes, including support for the formation of priests and our retired clergy. The success of Foundations in Faith is critical to the future of our diocese.”

Last year, funded grants to “Reimagine Faith Formation” were awarded by targeting a population at the parish that was previously underserved, with a focus on the whole family unit. Bishop Caggiano called for grant applications to be so innovative that they seek to change the fabric of faith formation. During the 2018 inaugural year over $150,000 was distributed to 32 grantees. Innovative faith formation initiatives included a multi-site, week-long service-immersion project where the high school participants are trained to become peer leaders. Another program developed a day-long family retreat for single, bi-lingual parents and their children from non-traditional homes. Many of these funded innovative programs were designed to be replicated in neighboring parishes. These grants were in addition to distributions supporting our diocesan high schools and endowed scholarships, the Office of the Superintendent, retired clergy and priestly formation and vocations.

In the next few weeks, pastors, youth ministers, directors and coordinators of religious education will be invited to apply for the Saint John Paul II fund for religious education and youth ministry. Grant awards will range between $500 and $10,000. Applications will go out in February are due back in April. The funding decisions will be made in May and those who are awarded grants will receive funding in August.

(For more information contact Kelly Weldon at Kelly.weldon@diobpt.org and for details visit www.foundationsinfaith.org.)

Imitating the Angels

In this morning’s Reading at Mass, taken from the Letter to the Hebrews, we hear that the Son of God is “as far superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.” We are reminded that angels are real and serve a very important spiritual purpose.

Angels are spiritual beings who serve the mission of God in part by accompanying you and me in our ordinary lives. They protect us against evil, inspire us when we make decisions and accompany us each day. As such, it can be said that the angels stand with us in every moment of our lives, so that we might walk with confidence and joy towards our home in eternal life.

My mother used to call me her “angel” as a little boy when I would help her around the house. What I did not realize at that time was that she was thanking me for standing by her side, loving her in the daily ways that only a child can give.

As we start this great campaign to bring renewal to our diocesan Church, I am asking that you and I stand with our neighbors in need. In some sense, the campaign is an invitation to imitate the angels. Are you and I willing to stand by the sick, poor, homeless, our young people, the immigrant, refugee, the lost, abandoned and those forgotten, just as the angels stand by us? Are we willing to be like an angel to those who need us most?

The Fathers of the Church used to remind their people that the angels can be seen by anyone who has the eyes of faith. Let us show the world that the angels are real but standing by our neighbor, just as they stand by us.

The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly videos! Do not miss Bishop Frank’s latest video: What Does it Mean to Stand with Christ?

A Celebration of Education

BRIDGEPORT—“How delighted we are to be celebrating these wonderful students,” said Holly Doherty-Lemoine, executive director of Foundations in Education.

Bishop Frank J. Caggiano and Foundations in Education hosted the annual “Leaders of Tomorrow” breakfast reception for students, their parents and donors on Thursday, November 8 at the Catholic Center in Bridgeport.

Leaders are chosen by their principals as students of good character, academic promise and leadership potential.

“I am delighted to be here…to celebrate our leaders of tomorrow, who are quite frankly the leaders of today, as many of their classmates follow their example and continue their journey towards wisdom and faith in Christ,” said Bishop Caggiano, addressing those gathered at the reception.

“The definition of being a leader is a person who has the personality and skills to encourage others to action,” said the bishop. “You are here because we believe in you…we see exactly what I described in you.”

“It is the God given talents He has given each and every one of you…a generous heart, an open spirit, a willingness to listen, a willingness to learn…and you have the gift of Catholic education to learn the skills of mind and heart.”

“This is your day…I ask that you take the gift God has given you and use it to the fullest,” the bishop encouraged the boys and girls to continue to be leaders in our society.

The reception brought together students, their families and principals, and the donors who sponsor a portion of their tuitions.

In explaining why he chose to make a donation to Foundations in Education, Robert Fox, a generous donor to Foundations in Education said, “With a good solid foundation in Catholic education they can go forward in Catholic Education and make a difference in this world.”

Photos by Amy Mortensen

“Leaders of Tomorrow” is a unique program of the Bishop’s Scholarship Fund which provides need-based scholarships to students in Catholic elementary schools who were identified by their principals as students of strong academic standing, good character and possessing leadership potential. Donors to the program transform the lives of children through the gift of Catholic education.

Foundations in Education is committed to strengthen and transform the mission of Catholic education in the Diocese of Bridgeport by supporting innovation in academic and extra-curriculum programs, fostering opportunities for the professional development of school leaders in innovation and leadership and providing scholarship assistance to families in need.

(To find out more about Foundations in Education visit: www.foundationsineducation.org.)

Below is a list of “Leaders of Tomorrow” recipients, their schools and their sponsors:

 

Certificate Photos by Amy Mortensen

O’Malley Scholarship recipients meet their donors

STAMFORD—While every scholarship recipient appreciates the donor that helps make their academic experience possible, it is unlikely that they get to meet the people who fund their scholarships. On September 11, six students from Trinity Catholic High School in Stamford and their families had the unique opportunity to personally meet and converse with their scholarship donors, Mary Alice and Thomas O’Malley.

Mr. and Mrs. O’Malley committed $500,000 to Foundations in Education over five years to establish a scholarship at Trinity Catholic High School for children of firefighters and police officers in Greenwich or Stamford and nurses of Greenwich or Stamford Hospital. This scholarship covers 80% of their tuition.

“It means so much to me that they appreciate first responders like my father,” said freshman Morgan Vossler, whose father is a Stamford police officer.

The evening was particularly symbolic as 9/11 will always be remembered as a day to honor first responders.

Thomas O’Malley offered the scholars some advice; the same guidance he gave his own children and grandchildren. He warned them of the many evils in their midst. He urged them not to follow the example of poor-decision making peers; but instead be leaders. He challenged them to find what stirs their passion and then pursue their dream.

“I took away wise insights from Mr. O’Malley, of which I promise to apply in my time at Trinity Catholic and beyond,” remarked sophomore Megan DeLallo.

Students sat captivated as Mr. O’Malley recounted how he grew from modest means. He shared with them his own passions and something he would do if he were President.

Mr. O’Malley went on to say, “I have traveled to just about every country there is and there is no better place to live than the United States. If I were President, I would mandate that every student at the age of 18 devote one year to service. Every citizen should give back whether it is military service, volunteering in public works, or any type of community service.”

“I am honored to be an O’Malley scholar. My fellow scholars and I are a part of something great,” remarked DeLallo.

The O’Malleys suggested the students “also thank the Most Reverend Frank J. Caggiano for being the compelling advocate for Catholic education that he is.”

Bishop Caggiano created Foundations in Education in order to create a long-term strategy to stabilize and improve Diocese of Bridgeport Catholic schools and provide a path for their sustained growth.

To learn more about Foundations in Education or to learn how your gift can help transform lives of Catholic school students, please visit the Foundations in Education website at: www.foundationsineducation.org. 

(In the photo: left to right: Foundations in Education Executive Director Holly Doherty-Lemoine, Trinity Catholic High School Head of School Pat Brady, Tyler Breault (gr. 11), Morgan Vossler (gr. 9), Mary Alice O’Malley, Scarlett Cooney (gr. 10), Thomas O’Malley, Megan DeLallo (gr. 10), Lindsay Calise (gr. 9), Richard Del Vecchio (gr. 12), and Trinity Catholic High School Principal Scott Smith)

Grant recipients encouraged to think “outside the box”

BRIDGEPORT—Bishop Frank J. Caggiano invited all recipients of the Saint John Paul II grants to a reception on Tuesday, September 4 from 4:30 –6:00 pm at the Catholic Center to celebrate their award. Around 60 clergy, staff, and laypeople who share in the parishes’ ministry faith formation endeavors were in attendance. The recipients were presented with a commemorative certificate in recognition of receiving a grant promoting innovation in faith formation.

Grant recipients’ plans encompassed a wide range of ideas, some of which included revitalization of youth ministry and faith formation, creating a vacation bible camp, planning a service immersion program, and the purchase of new and improved materials for catechesis.

Responding to Bishop Caggiano’s invitation to lifelong formation, in February 2018, parishes were invited to reimagine faith formation at every level by announcing the Saint John Paul II Fund for Religious Education and Youth Ministry, which offered grant opportunities to assist their efforts. The grants were specifically designed to help diocesan parishes/organizations serve those populations they may not have been able to serve before and to fund significant changes in the very fabric of their outreach to the faithful in their parishes.  They ranged from $500 to $10,000 in total.  Proposals that sought widespread reform were preferred over smaller proposals.  Requests in excess of $5,000 were to be so innovative that they sought to change the very fabric of formation in a given parish.

Grant requests needed to match specific criteria and relate to the announced theme for each year. The theme for the 2018 inaugural grants was Reimagining Faith Formation.

Grants could be used for projects in parishes/organizations within the Diocese of Bridgeport that:

  • Targeted a demographic previously underserved
  • Reflected innovation in faith formation
  • Provided creative ministry to/with/for families
  • Offered specific ministry for a population mentioned in An Invitation to Lifelong Formation publication

Those who received grants from the Saint John Paul II Fund for Faith Formation and Youth Ministry are expected to:

  • Complete a report in December 2018 and April 2019 outlining the ministry opportunities made possible by the grant. The reports are to include photos, personal reflections, and comments from those who have benefited.
  • Publish a note of thanks in their Sunday parish bulletin, calling attention to the support from Saint John Paul II Fund for Religious Education and Youth Ministry

Those who were awarded grants received the funding in August 2018.

Bishop Caggiano encouraged the grant recipients to be bold and innovative, and think even more outside of the box for next year’s application process.

The parishes/organizations who received grants from the Foundations in Faith John Paul II Fund for religious education and youth ministry are listed below. 

St. Aloysius Church
St. Andrew Church
St. Cecilia Church
Christ the King Church
DOB Catholic Service Corps
DOB Faith Formation
DOB Leadership Institute
DOB Marriage Prep
DOB Youth Ministry
St. Emery Church
St. Gregory the Great Church
Holy Name of Jesus Church
Holy Spirit Church
St. Joseph Church, Danbury
St. Margaret Mary Parish
St. Mary Parish, Ridgefield
St. Matthew Church
Our Lady of Good Counsel Chapel
Our Lady of Good Counsel Chapel
St. Paul Church, Greenwich
St. Peter Church, Bridgeport
St. Peter Church, Danbury
St. Pius X Church
St. Rose of Lima Church
Sacred Heart Parish
Sacred Heart Parish
St. Theresa Parish
St. Thomas the Apostle Parish
St. Thomas Aquinas Parish

 

$5.5 Million gift to Foundations in Education

A lifetime ago, when Tom McInerney was a sophomore at St. Augustine High School in Brooklyn, his world history teacher, Mr. Hitti, took him aside for the kind of talk teenagers would rather avoid.

Mr. Hitti didn’t mince his words. He told Tom that he was “way underperforming” and had to do something about it … fast.

“He really made an impression on me,” Tom recalled, “And I often think back to that conversation, which I still remember after 60 years.”

It was one event that changed the course of a teenage boy’s life. One event he remembered through his senior executive positions in the business world. And one event among others that inspired him to become a lifelong supporter of Catholic education.

Tom and his wife Paula recently gave a $5.5 million gift to Foundations in Education, which Bishop Frank J. Caggiano says will “transform the paradigm of Catholic education in the Diocese of Bridgeport.”

The gift will finance a Personalized Learning Initiative (see article on page 27) that will be launched this fall with pilot programs at six schools, and eventually rolled out at all Catholic elementary schools over the next three years.

“These programs will serve as the foundational cornerstone for the transformation of our schools and support our mission as we seek to form hearts in faith, inform minds in truth and transform the lives of young people so that they will live as missionary disciples of our Lord,” Bishop Caggiano said.

Dr. Steven Cheeseman, Superintendent of Catholic Schools, said, “This is an historic moment for the Catholic schools of the diocese. We are reimagining what the Catholic school classroom can look like and we are excited about what the future holds for our schools and our students.”

Tom McInerney, who is chair of Foundations in Education and CEO and co-founder of Bluff Point Associates, a private equity firm based in Westport, recently attended the introductory session for the initiative.

“It’s relatively easy to write out a check,” he said. “What they’re doing is the hard work. They’re going to have to learn new things. Some will be frightened, others will be energized by it, but they have to do the heavy lifting because they’re the people in the front lines when it comes to providing good Catholic education—the principals and teachers who are in the classroom every day. I cannot exaggerate the importance of what they do. What I do is helpful, but it is only giving them ammunition to fight the wars.”

The Personalized Learning Initiative will provide an updated technology infrastructure, new hardware and student devices and programs to support the traditional Catholic school educational experience, Cheeseman said. The technology will not only improve academic performance among students but also increase their self-confidence and give them lifetime learning skills.

Tom McInerney, who is a product of lifelong Catholic education, attended Holy Cross Elementary School and St. Augustine’s High School in Brooklyn, followed by Cathedral College, a junior seminary, and later St. John’s University, where he received a degree in English literature and served on the board of trustees for 13 years, five as chairman. He also attended New York University Stern School of Business and received an honorary doctorate of commercial science from St. John’s.

“I am absolutely convinced that the years I spent in elementary school and high school and, to a slightly less extent college because I was going at night, were very formative,” he said. “You learned about right and wrong and about your religion and the tenets of the Catholic faith. As part of that process, you also learned about integrity and morality, and the importance of dealing with people on a fair basis.”

They were lessons that stayed with him throughout his life, he said, and values that he brought with him into his professional life and the business world.

Occasionally, he would tease some of his junior colleagues at a firm where he worked. “I used to tell them that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it. There are rights and wrongs, and you have to be conscious of what they are.”

Paula shares his commitment to Catholic education. Before moving to Connecticut, they made a $3 million pledge to convert 29 Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of New York from a traditional educational model to blended learning by providing computers, iPads and software so that teachers could monitor student progress and review it at the end of the day.

As Tom says, “This is not your grandfather’s classroom anymore. Students get to pursue the subject matter at their own pace. It is a much more decentralized, individual approach to education. I’ve seen it in action and I’ve spoken to teachers, students and parents. Everyone is glowing in their praise of this new approach. I’m a convert.”

When they lived in Manhattan, they were also patrons of Catholic schools through the Inner City Scholarship Fund. Paula had two schools and Tom had two, including St. James on the Lower East Side, which claimed Catholic presidential candidate Al Smith as a graduate, and St. Gregory the Great on the Upper West Side.

Prior to Bluff Point, Tom was a general partner of Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe for 24 years, was president and CEO of Momentum Technologies, and a group vice president of Automatic Data Processing’s (ADP) Brokerage Services Division and a group Vice President of ADP’s Financial Industries Services. He also co-founded and served as CEO of Dama Telecommunications Corp. He began his career at the American Stock Exchange. He and Paula have five children and 13 grandchildren.

“From the point of faith and religious beliefs, going to a Catholic school molds a kid with the right kind of thinking about his or her role in life and how to behave and to do the right thing,” he said. “But there’s another element—if you give a good kid a good education, you end up vastly improving that person’s chances to have a good life. With Catholic education, the most important thing is the development of morality, ethics and faith. But it also has the material benefit of creating an environment where a student can break the cycle of poverty.”

The six pilot schools where the Personalized Learning Initiative will be unveiled are Assumption School in Fairfield, St. Gregory the Great in Danbury, Holy Trinity Catholic Academy in Shelton, the Upper School at the Catholic Academy in Stamford, Our Lady of Fatima in Wilton and the new multi-age school, St. Joseph Catholic Academy in Brookfield.

“To survive and prosper, we have to provide an education at least as good as and ideally better than the public schools,” he says. “It has to be an excellent education. And I think individual learning is a clear improvement on educational methodology.”

(Foundations in Education is a non-profit initiative created to assist the Diocese of Bridgeport’s ongoing mission to support Catholic education in Fairfield County. For more information, contact Executive Director Holly Doherty-Lemoine: holly@foundationsineducation.org or visit foundationsineducation.org.)