Invest in inner-city school children through the Patrons Program

The Big Shoulders Fund has been investing in inner-city Catholic schools and the children they serve since 1986.  Beginning in 2001, Big Shoulders initiated the Patrons Program to invest the talent and resources needed to sustain inner-city Catholic education. 

Patrons work to achieve two key goals: enhancing the success of today's students while also improving the long-term prospects for the school to continue providing great education to needy children.

Our schools need your help.

The Big Shoulders Fund is actively soliciting new Patrons to continue building this successful program.  For more information about Patron donors or making contribution to the Patrons Program, please contact:




Who can become a Patron?

A Patron can be an individual, a foundation, a company or a group of people that eagerly step up to the challenge of assisting an inner-city Catholic school in positively impacting the lives of the students it serves.

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What does a Patron do?

  • Invest donor-directed funding for 3 years in selected inner-city Catholic schools

  • Partner with school leadership and Big Shoulders to strategically invest funds, such as:

- Marketing and development efforts to raise awareness within the community;

- Academic Programs to better prepare students for high school and college

- Technology to create a more innovative and effective learning environment; and

 - Business planning to address near-term needs and improve long term viability. 

  • Address real issues and needs while providing seed money to identify and take advantage of growth opportunities

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Which schools are Patron's schools? Where are they? 

Currently there are 61 Patron relationships at Big Shoulders Fund schools.Our Patron schools are located in some of Chicago's most diverse communities. 

Click here for a map showing which schools are blessed with Patron relationships. 

What do others say about the Patrons Program?

"Our Patrons Program is an innovative way in which we can shape our educational system through our partnerships with corporate and business leaders."

James J. O'Connor, Co-Chairman of the Board, Big Shoulders Fund


"The Patrons Program is unique, in that you get the chance to see the difference you are making every day.  I guarantee that anyone who participates will get more out of it than they put into it.  The rewards are immense for the entire Chicago community."

 Michael Ferro, Founder, Chairman & CEO, Click Commerce,
St. Matthias/Transfiguration Co-Patron

"Participating in the Patrons Program has allowed me to witness firsthand the tremendous sense of mission and dedication of the principals and teachers in the inner-city Catholic schools."


Elizabeth Cole, Former Director, Investment Relations, Tribune Company,
Academy of St. Benedict the African, Patron Advisory Board, Chairperson