Patrons

Invest in inner-city students.

In 2001, Big Shoulders initiated the Patrons Program to invest the talent and resources needed to sustain and grow 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 educating future generations.

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 about becoming a Patron, please contact our staff. We work directly with schools on a daily basis, lending expertise and sharing practices. Our staff members work closely with our Patrons and schools on a daily basis to improve the schools’ short and long-term success.

John Moran   Senior Director, Patrons Program
312.751.3897  ✶  jmoran@bigshouldersfund.org

Lea Jesse   Director, Patrons Program
312.544.8688 ✶  ljesse@bigshouldersfund.org

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. The Patrons Program is one of the most effective ways to partner our supporters with a Catholic school in need.

What does a Patron do?

Patrons invest their talent and resources to provide counsel, advice, and much-needed funding. The most important role of a Patron is to enable a long-term business strategy that addresses a school’s unique challenges and opportunities. They address real issues and needs while providing seed money for schools to identify and take advantage of opportunities for growth.

There are various ways Patrons invest in our schools:

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

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

Patrons are creating new ways to ensure that each child has the best education possible for the long haul.

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

Currently, there are 131 Patron relationships at 63 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

“When you walk into these schools and you feel the safety and care and the love these children get, it’s incredibly compelling. This is a great investment for the future of Chicago, and a wonderful opportunity to both provide a path for a child and invest in Chicago’s future workforce.”
 – Christine Kelly • Former Principal, William Blair & Co. • Patron of Maternity BVM School 

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 of Tribune Company • Chair of Patron Advisory Board at Academy of St. Benedict the African

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