This is what urban Catholic schools need: A business group has donated $4 million to help create endowments for seven Catholic schools in Pennsylvania, including five in Philadelphia. Much of the corporate philanthropy aimed at education these days has gone to charter schools, which undermine inner-city Catholic schools but don't have a proven record of success.An endowment is often the last thing officials at an inner-city Catholic school can think about because they are busy just trying to make the payroll and keep the building from falling apart. But it is needed so the schools don't have to operate constantly on the edge, a precarious position that makes them very vulnerable to economic downturns. It was also smart of Business Leaders Organized for Catholic Schools to set this up as as a matching grant program, since we Catholics need some encouragement to dig deeper to support Catholic schools.
Paul Moses, a contributing writer at Commonweal, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009) and An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians (NYU Press, 2015). Follow him on Twitter @PaulBMoses.