Education Funding

A Philanthropic ‘Angel’ Rescues Private School

By Catherine Gewertz — April 04, 2001 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To keep their small Episcopal school in Philadelphia open, children had been dropping pennies into a jar in the school office. But St. Barnabas was still far short of the money it needed.

Until Patricia Walsh decided that instead of buying a new Mercedes, she’d give $50,000 to the school.

“I thought to myself, my car is perfectly good,” Ms. Walsh, a 73-year-old Philadelphia woman with a history of philanthropic work, said in an interview last week. “I’d rather use the money to help keep that school open.”

So she’ll drive her 10-year-old Chrysler Concord a while longer.

A Blessing

Cynthia G. Wright, the head of St. Barnabas Episcopal School, which enrolls 70 children in preschool through 6th grade, said that when Ms. Walsh called last month to offer the money, she couldn’t believe her ears.

“She said she had seen the article about us in the newspaper, that she’d been here on another occasion, and thought it was such a wonderful school, and that she wanted to offer a small donation,” Ms. Wright said.

“When she said $50,000, I stuttered and I had to whisper, ‘Did you say 5-0?’ She chuckled a moment and said yes,” Ms. Wright said. “It was a spiritual moment. I knew for sure that God is listening to us, that he sent us an angel.”

The 33-year-old school, in a middle-class Philadelphia neighborhood, had gone $100,000 into debt in the past few years as enrollment declined, driven in part by the presence of local charter schools, Ms. Wright said. The church that houses the school was having financial difficulty of its own and considered closing the school to save money, she said.

In February, the school appealed to its families to help. Parents and children dropped coins and bills in a big jar. Since Ms. Walsh’s March 13 donation, though, two other donors have offered $10,000 each, Ms. Wright said.

Ms. Walsh, who attended a private school as a child, said she wanted to help St. Barnabas because its students come from families who struggle to pay tuition.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the April 04, 2001 edition of Education Week as A Philanthropic ‘Angel’ Rescues Private School

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar How Pandemic Tech Is (and Is Not) Transforming K-12 Schools
The COVID-19 pandemic—and the resulting rise in virtual learning and big investments in digital learning tools— helped educators propel their technology skills to the next level. Teachers have become more adept at using learning management
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Building Teacher Capacity for Social-Emotional Learning
Set goals that support adult well-being and social-emotional learning: register today!


Content provided by Panorama
Jobs October 2021 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Opinion Don’t Plan on That Federal Education Spending Spree
A Democratic spending spree once depicted as inevitable is shrinking before our eyes, meaning big implications for education.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Education Funding Feds Pump $1.5 Billion Extra Toward Schools to Address Cafeteria Food Shortage
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced funds to help schools more easily purchase U.S.-grown foods amid widespread supply shortages.
1 min read
Empty school cafeteria
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Education Funding Letter to the Editor More Money for Schools Isn’t the Answer
The real problem is not funding but demands that teachers do more than just teach their subject, writes Walt Gardner.
1 min read
Education Funding Opinion Manchin Just Downsized the Dems’ Massive Education Spending Plans
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin may have blown a gaping hole in the education community’s hopes for supersized new federal outlays.
4 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty