Story by Reagan Scott
(SNR) - The Flavin Fund, named after the seventh bishop of Lincoln, Glennon P. Flavin, was established as a part of the Joy of the Gospel campaign in order to provide money for schools in the diocese to develop new and innovative projects and programs.
In order to receive money from the fund, schools must submit an application to be reviewed by a committee before gaining approval.
In both the 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 fiscal years, Sacred Heart School in Falls City was awarded grant money in order to work on development and to create a strategic plan for the school.
According to Father Thomas Dunavan, chief administrative officer of Sacred Heart School, the school was able to hire Renee Kopf to serve as the school’s development staff. It will be Kopf’s job to help with alumni relations, school promotion and fundraising.
Father Dunavan expressed how nice it is to have an extra staff member at the school to work more hours than a volunteer might otherwise be able to.
He said, “Everyone here was really stretched and it has helped us to put the legs underneath our plan for the long-term success of our Catholic school.”
The school is also in the middle of their strategic planning process, which began in March. Twice a month, a consultant travels to the school and will help Sacred Heart work on their plan through January.
Father Dunavan said, “We do a lot of things well, but we need to be more intentional about how we communicate about the great things that happen in our school, on our campus, and beyond, as our alumni continue to touch the Church and the world in a positive way.”
Father Dunavan is also in the process of consolidating the school’s finances in order to make sure that the information can be more easily conveyed to the families and benefactors who contribute so much to the school.
“Richardson County has about 550 Catholic families from five parishes. It is those families who contribute over 400,000 dollars a year to the school, to help keep it open. We have a unique setting down here that offers significant challenges, but significant opportunities as well,” he said.
What is encouraging to Father Dunavan about the Joy of the Gospel campaign and the Flavin Fund is they help donors feel as though they are part of a family: A family working for the good.
“We know that what we’ve given will come back to us in some way,” Father Dunavan said. “Our Joy of the Gospel donations are helping seminarians, who will come back to us as priests. Our contributions are helping where they are needed, and they’re accomplishing great good.”
This year, St. Joseph School in Lincoln received money from Flavin Fund to fund the school’s Inclusive Catholic Education program, which was officially implemented last school year. The program allows students with intellectual disabilities in St. Joseph Parish to receive a Catholic education at the school.
With money from the fund, St. Joseph School has been able to make changes to the program to make it more effective, which included an increase in personnel, according to Sister Mary Cecilia C.K., the school’s principal.
The new resource personnel at the school will allow students in the program to spend more time in the classroom, allowing them to interact with their peers and answer questions.
Sister Mary Cecilia said she has noticed that the program has increased the students’ confidence, and can see it in the way they carry themselves and through their increased eye contact.
The school is also using money from the fund to provide more resources to teachers, such as additional organizational tools so that they can meet the needs of their students.
All of these efforts are a part of the school’s end goal, to give all students in the parish the chance to attend.
Sister Mary Cecilia said, “We don’t want students to feel as though they can’t be a part of St. Joseph’s School because of their disability.”
Thanks to generous donations to the Joy of the Gospel campaign, the Flavin Fund is allowing schools across the diocese to support their students and allow schools to continue to provide a Catholic education for their students.