First Niagara Foundation donates $15,000 to Bishop’s Scholarship Fund

First Niagara Bank, N.A., a wholly owned subsidiary of KeyCorp recently donated $15,000 through the First Niagara Foundation to the Bishop’s Scholarship Fund, a program of the newly launched Foundations in Education to support Catholic education in Fairfield County.

Last year the Bishop’s Scholarship Fund distributed $2.2 million to more than 1,800 students in need of financial assistance to attend a Catholic school.  

“Support from local companies like First Niagara is the reason so many families in Fairfield County are able to choose Catholic schools for their children,” said the Most Rev. Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport.  “First Niagara’s commitment is essential to this year’s scholarship fund, and we are extremely grateful for their generous contribution.”

Dr. Steven Cheeseman, Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Bridgeport said that qualified students typically receive half or full tuition assistance through this program. The average cost of tuition within the Diocese is $6,400 for elementary students and $12,100 for high school students.

The Diocese of Bridgeport educates more than 9,000 students in its 31 Catholic schools (Grades pre-K to 12) including five high schools, 25 elementary school campuses, and one school for students with special needs. More than 60 percent of students in diocesan schools receive financial assistance and 15 percent of students are non-Catholic.

“Education in Catholic schools provides a unique opportunity for children to achieve academic excellence in a faith-filled environment that nurtures and forms them. Those who support Catholic education support the entire community and invest in the future of our young people,” said Dr. Cheeseman.

Foundations in Education was established in 2016 by the Most Rev. Frank J. Caggiano, Bishop of Bridgeport, as part of a new model of funding for Catholic education in the diocese. In addition to the Bishop’s Scholarship Fund, the fully independent Foundations in Education houses funds to support professional development of teachers and staff, and to promote innovation in the curriculum. It also includes an endowment to support inner-city schools.

“First Niagara is proud to support organizations that make the communities we serve better places to live, work and attend school,” said Jeff Hubbard, First Niagara’s New England Region President. “The Bishop’s Scholarship Fund is an excellent example of an initiative working hard to create quality educational opportunities for all students and we are excited and honored to have contributed to this worthwhile cause.”

For information on Catholic schools of the Diocese of Bridgeport, visit dioceseofbridgeportcatholicschools.org.

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