New Futures Group Aims for More Efficient Development

At the ribbon-cutting for the new Futures in Education, were, from left: Development Director Thomas O’Brien, board member John Loconsolo, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, board chairman Robert Catell, supporter Michael O’Keeffe, board member Joseph Sciame and Vicar for Development Msgr. Jamie Gigantiello.

Leaders from around the diocese gathered March 16 in the name of Catholic education to celebrate a fruitful past, a new beginning and hope for the future. The ink was dried and the seals had been placed on Feb. 6, 2012, merging the Futures in Education Foundation and Futures in Education Endowment officially as one organization: Futures in Education.
Futures’ mission is to ensure that the gift of an excellent Catholic education continues to be a viable option for current and future generations of students in Brooklyn and Queens.
Over two years ago, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio charged Msgr. Jamie J. Gigantiello, director of development, and the boards of both organizations with the challenge to re-evaluate the operations and mission of the Futures in Education Foundation and Futures in Education Endowment Fund. Realizing that resources and efforts were being duplicated, it was decided after careful consideration that the Catholic elementary education system in Brooklyn and Queens would be best served by joining both into one entity.
Msgr. Gigantiello explained at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that, “the rationale and the driving force for this merger is to reduce expenses and streamline our administrative and development costs. In addition, it will allow us to supply additional resources for events, enhance business controls, and provide greater clarity to donors, improve visibility and better support our development efforts.  Every day we strive towards changing lives through the gift of a Catholic Education, and now we can do it better.”
Futures in Education Board Chairman, Robert B. Catell, was also on hand to cut the ribbon. “We have all worked together to create a new merged board, which promises to be stronger than ever,” Catell said. “The first fruits of our efforts have already been realized with a record number of Angels (donors) secured this year and the overwhelming success of the 2011 Annual Dinner, which brought in $1.6 million for Catholic education.” He also noted Bishop DiMarzio’s important role in realizing the need for the merger.  “Without his leadership and vision none of this would be possible,” he added.
Bishop DiMarzio thanked everyone for their hard work on behalf of Catholic education. He specifically noted his gratitude on behalf of the children in need, who receive tuition assistance thanks to Futures in Education.
“I asked for a list of why our applicants were requesting a scholarship to attend Catholic school? Father serving in Afghanistan, mom lost her job; illness in family, medical bills; father raising six children; single mom, lost house and all possessions in fire; mother has lung cancer, father out of work; evicted from apartment; raising granddaughter on fixed income,” the bishop explained.
He noted how “these short descriptions encapsulate the life stories behind some of the students who are receiving scholarships from Futures in Education. They are representative of the life stories of so many children in Catholic schools.”
Futures in Education serves 97 Catholic elementary schools with approximately 31,000 students in Brooklyn and Queens. With the help of countless benefactors this year, Futures in Education was able to award $7 million in tuition assistance grants to more than 5,400 students through its various scholarship programs. The average annual income for a family supported by Futures in Education is less than $27,000.