Dear friends of the Catholic Education Foundation,

The beginning of the CEFIn announcing the establishment of the Catholic Education Foundation in 2011, I told a story about a large family in rural Tasmania who had lost their home in a devastating fire. The family indicated that due to their loss they would now not be able to afford to continue to send their children to a Catholic school. It was very apparent to me that there was no structured organisation at that time that could provide the family with the long-term financial help that they needed to keep their three children at the local Catholic school and preserve the family’s dignity at the same time.

It was with this sentiment in mind that the Catholic Education Foundation was created. It honours the Archdiocese of Sydney’s commitment to ensure that no child is denied the opportunity for a Catholic education due to genuine financial hardship. The Catholic Education Foundation can help families meet the cost of a Catholic education via the bursary program. It is my strong belief that no child should be denied a Catholic education due to a genuine inability to pay fees.

Since the first financial hardship bursaries were awarded in 2013 the program has grown to include a bursary for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. This has had a positive effect on this community and we now have more than 1,100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students attending our Catholic schools.

In 2014 during my pilgrimage to the Holy Land I visited a refugee camp in Jordan, and saw first hand the impact of the conflict in the Middle East on families and children. This profound experience reinforced in my mind the need to do what we can to provide opportunities that allow families from refugee backgrounds to receive a quality Catholic education. A measure of any civilised society is how we treat those who are most vulnerable. It is with this conviction in mind that the Refugee Bursary was established in 2014 to assist refugee families within our Catholic school communities.

Every child in every school is entitled to the best education that our country can provide. Despite operating in a very challenging financial environment, our commitment to providing a high quality, affordable Catholic education to as many families as possible remains as strong as ever.

We are acutely aware of the many needs within our Sydney Catholic School communities for some form of assistance, and we expect that this need will continue to grow in coming years. Therefore, your ongoing support of the foundation is deeply appreciated and can never be underestimated. Your support will assist the Catholic Education Foundation to achieve its vision, to provide access to the high quality education that all children deserve. Thank you for your continued support of this invaluable cause.

With my warmest wishes,

Dr Dan White

Retired Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools