The Good Shepherd School is a small parochial school founded in 2001 by Fr. Harry Tompson, SJ, to serve a low-income population in New Orleans. Father Tompson believed education was the key to breaking the cycle of generational poverty, as it allows young children an opportunity for their God-given talents to blossom. The school operates frugally, preferring to fund programs and resources that directly benefit the students rather than overhead. So, the possibility of hiring a grant writer seemed remote.
Then in 2005, the staff of the former New Orleans Province noted something: The Good Shepherd School was not alone. Several Jesuit-sponsored organizations in the New Orleans area needed fundraising help. In addition to The Good Shepherd School offering tuition-free elementary education, the Harry Tompson Center was operating a day center for the growing homeless population; Boys Hope Girls Hope was housing and educating young men and women from struggling families; and the Jesuit Volunteer Corps South was matching recent college graduates with year-long placements at service agencies across the southern United States.
The intensity of the work left staff at each organization with little time or energy for fundraising, so the staff of the province’s advancement and social ministries offices devised a plan. The province would hire a grant writer and research assistant to support these organizations in meeting their fundraising goals. Each organization would contract for a “share” of the writer and researcher’s time, but the province would supplement a portion of the expense. Then-provincial Fr. Fred Kammer, SJ, immediately approved the plan.
Since then, the Jesuit Grants Collaborative has raised more than $18 million in grant awards for 17 nonprofit partners and the province. When the Missouri and New Orleans Provinces came together in 2014 to form the USA Central and Southern Province, the Jesuit Grants Collaborative expanded to include an additional writer and serve five additional organizations and the international works of the province.
The Jesuit Grants Collaborative focuses on Jesuit- and Catholic-oriented works both in and out of the province – particularly those without dedicated advancement offices. Grant partners contract for one fiscal year and have the option to renew for subsequent years. There’s usually a waiting list.
“We’re especially interested in supporting the missions of organizations who serve marginalized populations, and we work to be responsive to each organization’s unique needs,” said Mary Baudouin, provincial assistant for social ministries, under whose umbrella the Jesuit Grants Collaborative falls. “Our adaptability to each partner gives organizations the time to fulfill their missions, address opportunities and challenges as they arise, and move into growth and expansion phases.”
The Good Shepherd School that started with 30 students in 2001 will have in excess of 325 students for the 2019-2020 school year. In fall 2018, the school moved from its original 15,000-square-foot building in landlocked downtown New Orleans to an expanded 38,000-square-foot campus in the Gentilly neighborhood, where nearly half of its student population resides. Its expansion has been made possible, in part, by the Jesuit Grants Collaborative.
“Our partnership with the Jesuit Grants Collaborative has allowed us to reach countless foundations, organizations and individuals who are now a deeply engrained part of our community,” said Thomas G. Moran, Jr., president and chief executive officer of The Good Shepherd School.
“The wonderful folks at the Jesuit Grants Collaborative help us to tell our story – one that now includes 112 graduates making an impact in the world. The Good Shepherd School is blessed by our partnership with the Jesuit Grants Collaborative and those who work in it – they ensure that the founding spirit of the Jesuits is alive and thriving in our world today in places like The Good Shepherd School.”