Students at St. Thomas More High School in Milwaukee work in an introductory class on manufacturing techniques taught by Ryan Laessig. A grant from the Love One Another Capital Campaign will help pay for equipment and other costs for a next-level class as well as other enhancements in its college and career readiness programs. (Submitted photo)

More than 47 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee have been awarded a total of $765,000 in the first round of school grants made possible through the Love One Another Capital Campaign.

Grants were made for a range of needs, including new laptops for teachers, updated reading curricula, marketing materials, and strengthening college and career readiness programs.

“We are very appreciative of the Love One Another program to include schools, and we jumped at the chance to apply for help,” said Mary MacDonald, principal of St. Bruno School in Dousman.

St. Bruno, a grade K3-8 school with an enrollment of 92, laid out a marketing plan for $5,000 that uses a variety of tactics to raise the school’s profile in the community. These include advertising in a Lake Country publication, sponsoring an information table at KidFest in Oconomowoc, reaching out to families of children newly baptized at St. Bruno, new brochures, yard signs for specific events and general awareness, and purchasing branded give-away items.

“We want people to know we are here,” MacDonald said.

St. Thomas More High School in Milwaukee received a $15,000 grant to beef up the college and career readiness program for its 570 students.

“We were really grateful that the archdiocese has been supporting schools,” school Director of Marketing and Communications Kevin Russell said.

At Christ Child Academy in Sheboygan, a $17,000 grant will pay for a solution to a problem identified by technology consultants.

Internet connectivity issues cause frustrating pauses in many lessons because Smart Board use is very high, Principal Mark Ruedinger said.

“I thought this grant offered a wonderful opportunity to solve an issue we had here,” said Ruedinger, who oversees the 118-student school of the Tri-Parish Faith Communities of Immaculate Conception, St. Peter Claver and Ss. Cyril and Methodius in Sheboygan.

Teacher laptops purchased just four or five years ago did not have the new generation of processors needed to overcome the issue and the grant will pay for new ones for teachers of the grade K3-8 school.

At St. Peter in Slinger, updating the reading curriculum to reflect the state legislature’s passage of Act 20 last summer is a priority, according to Principal Cheryl Jaeger.

“We want to help our students grow in their reading skills and strategies,” she said, and methods will be aligned with the state standards that call for very specific skills.

The current reading curriculum, last updated nine years ago, will be replaced with the help of a $25,000 Love One Another grant for the K3-grade 5 tri-parish school of St. Peter, Slinger; St. Lawrence, Hartford; and Resurrection, Allenton.

“I’m just very excited. It’s greatly appreciated,” Jaeger said.

The Love One Another Capital Campaign is a cooperative effort of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and its 187 parishes. Parishioners were asked to make five-year pledges during the campaign, which began at different times in different parishes in recent years.

About 60 percent of money raised through the campaign, which is on track to raise $150 million, is going directly to parishes for specific needs that each identified before their campaign began.

The remaining 40 percent goes toward archdiocese needs in four broad areas: supporting Catholic schools; serving and helping people in need; supporting priests, deacons, seminarians and lay ministers; and strengthening centers of prayer and ministry.

The Love One Another Fund trustees will award school grants twice a year using $12 million projected to be raised for this specific purpose. Tuition assistance grants will be made in the spring, while schools can apply every fall and spring for grants of $2,000 to $25,000 for purposes in three areas:

  • Mission and Catholic identity, including expenses related to faith formation; recruitment, enrollment and marketing initiatives; liturgical needs; environmental enhancements; religious artifacts; and resource materials. Twelve awards were made in this area, including nine for marketing efforts.
  • Program improvements/instructional resources, including new programs, supplemental resources to advance existing programs, textbooks and playground equipment. Eighteen awards were made in this area.
  • Technology needs, including software needs, hardware needs, website needs, Chromebooks, tablets and Wi-Fi. Seventeen awards were made in this area.

Documentation, such as budgets and cost estimates, is required as part of the grant applications. Schools awarded money for marketing purposes will consult with an Archdiocese Communication Office school marketing expert.

Of the first round of 47 awards, two were made to school systems, Siena Catholic Schools of Racine and Messmer Catholic Schools in Milwaukee, meaning that far more than 47 schools will benefit. In addition, $5 million in Love One Another proceeds will be dedicated to the Seton Catholic Schools system in Milwaukee.