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New Catholic group donates to NCCS

A newly formed independent charity that is not affiliated with the Diocese of Buffalo has already stepped forward to financially assist Dunkirk’s Northern Chautauqua Catholic School.

In a news release to the OBSERVER on Wednesday, the founders of the Catholic Children’s Learning Corp., all of whom serve on the board of directors, announced its support for the private school in the city. The organization is dedicated to ensuring children and families who desire a faith-based education will continue to have that opportunity in the eight counties of Western New York. Michael C. LaFever, Ed.D., a veteran educator with a wealth of school administration experience, will serve as president.

In presenting its donation to NCCS, Dr. LaFever said Catholic schools are a critical part of the church’s mission for the evangelization of future generations of Catholics.

“The Catholic Children’s Learning Corp. is giving the school $3,500 to help support the educational needs of a student,” he said. “We are so proud of the school and the principal of NCCS for the work that they do on behalf of its students and families. Regardless of a family’s religious affiliation the Catholic Children’s Learning Corp. wants to do all that it can to support the children of this school now and into the future. It is the only remaining Catholic school in Chautauqua County and must be preserved for generations to come.”

Catholic schools, he said, have financially sustained themselves through tuition and the gifts of others for many years. Those gifts previously came through the contributions of Catholic parishes, school fundraisers, donated scholarships and the generosity of individuals who contribute to other charities like the BISON FUND who support these schools. The Diocese of Buffalo’s current bankruptcy, however, has resulted in the withdrawal of financial support of Catholic elementary schools by the diocese.

The board said the current financial model of supporting Catholic schools is not sustainable. It is critical that tuition remain affordable for everyone so Catholic education does not become a private school enterprise; only available to those who have the resources to afford it. This is contrary to the church’s mission.

“The Catholic Children’s Learning Corp. stands ready to financially support Catholic schools through an approach that may be a future model for Catholic schools throughout the state and nationally,” Dr. LaFever said. “Future financing of the schools needs to have a consistent income stream in addition to tuition and the gifts of others.”

To accomplish this, the group proposes to find ways to engage in the creation of businesses, financial project, and business partnerships to create the needed income for the schools on an annual basis. This could include activities in real-estate development, small business operations and intellectual properties. Currently, the board is in the process of exploring all of these possibilities.

“The concept is not unique. Religious orders for centuries have engaged in business enterprises that include the creation of some of the world’s finest universities, hospitals and research facilities. The concept to use this approach in supporting local Catholic schools however is unique,” Dr. LaFever concluded.

The board is looking for like-minded individuals to join its efforts to initiate its first projects. The group can be contacted at cclcbuffalo@gmail.com

Additional information about the CCLC is available at www.cclcbuffalo.org Though the organization will not conduct fundraisers, there is a place on its website for anyone interested in donating at: https://www.cclcbuffalo.org/donate All funds go directly to Catholic schools in Western New York. The group is in no way connected to the Diocese of Buffalo.

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