Generosity is not about the dollar amount of a gift, but it is about the spirit in which it is given.
''Mike, don't take this the wrong way, but do you write your own material for The Pilot?" A question like this can go a lot of ways. Sheepishly, I replied, "I do, why?" There was a pause, then the response, "because they are well-written." My response, "Thanks. I think?" Not offended in the least, this question, from a trusted friend, resulted in a good laugh.
If anything I write is remotely cogent it is due entirely from lessons learned from crushing critiques of my writing skills. One professor in college commented that my "misuse of the comma was not humorous" and I still get very direct feedback from colleagues who edit these articles. Asking if I write these articles is a very fair question.
This question is also an excellent reflection point: is it important that I receive credit for these words? The answer is, it's not about me.
The Catholic Schools Foundation (CSF) runs lean; 93 cents of every dollar raised last year went straight to the almost 4,000 students thriving in 78 Catholic schools across the archdiocese. The truth is, the Catholic Schools Foundation exists to support the great work of these Catholic schools and their teachers and school leaders who love, educate, and support students every day. CSF is a conduit to this amazing work, the impact of which, over these last two years, is profound. CSF is proud to partner with schools by providing access and opportunity to students who would not be able to attend without scholarship support.
Creative writing is beyond my skill set, so these articles focus on what animates the work of CSF, the students, the schools, and the Gospel. The goal is to provide a reflection on the work and words of others and to share the extraordinary work of Catholic education. It is an honor to connect people to this amazing mission. It is also humbling to work with extraordinarily generous donors who give quietly and without restriction, very much as Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount: "But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret." (Matthew 6:3-4).
Generosity is not about the dollar amount of a gift, but it is about the spirit in which it is given. When we give monetarily or through an act of service, is our goal to receive accolades from our peers or is it to support the mission, regardless of who knows? Why do we do what we do? Is it about us or is it about the organization and people we are supporting? Are we giving with contingencies that serve our own needs or are we giving with a generous heart to serve others?
CSF is blessed by extraordinary examples of generosity. Teachers and school leaders give their time before school, after school, and on weekends to go the extra mile for students and families, working hard at lower pay than they could make in a different school setting because they know that their work changes lives. Donors and supporters give as they are able with their only goal to support the great work of Catholic education.
On April 7, 2022, at the Marriott Copley Hotel, supporters of Catholic education will gather for CSF's 32nd Annual Gala. Sister Janet Eisner, SNDdeN, will be recognized with the Carolyn and Peter Lynch Award. Sister Janet humbly and quietly supports Catholic schools throughout the Archdiocese of Boston and has done so for decades as president of Emmanuel College. As a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur, she and her fellow sisters have quietly impacted students and families for generations in the Archdiocese of Boston. Sister Janet is another extraordinary example of generosity and we are honored to celebrate her on April 7.
Aside from recognizing Sister Janet, the highlight of the evening will be witnessing the impact of Catholic schools on the students, families, and communities served. The Catholic Schools Foundation provides access to schools shaped by the Gospel where students are put first, come to the truth that they are known and loved by God, and are provided a high-quality education, preparing them to be active and engaged citizens with an understanding of their obligation to use their God-given talents in service to the world. It will be a memorable evening.
Together, we can change lives.
Please join us virtually or in-person on April 7. You can find more information at csfboston.org.
- Michael B. Reardon is executive director of the Catholic Schools Foundation, www.CSFBoston.org.
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