The Crimsonbridge Foundation launched Bridges for Schools in 2018, in response to lessons learned after hosting the Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI) in partnership with the Archdiocese of Washington. LEI is a program of the University of Notre Dame that provides schools with marketing strategies and school culture interventions to better attract and serve Latino families. More than 50 schools in the Archdiocese of Washington attended the three-day training hosted at Catholic University. Following the training, school leaders expressed a need for capacity building resources to welcome and serve Latino families more intentionally. The Bridges for Schools program was born!
Now in its sixth year, Bridges for Schools has grown each year, expanding first to the Diocese of Arlington and, this year, to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in partnership with the Connelly Foundation. Since 2018, 35 schools have received grants through Bridges for Schools, with nearly 90% of schools participating for more than one year. Schools use Bridges for Schools grants to invest in Spanish and bilingual communications, parent engagement strategies, cultural competency, and more.
“Through our partnership with the Archdiocese of Washington and its schools, we have seen how strategic bilingual communications can build bridges between families, schools, and parishes,” said Gabriela Smith, Founder and Executive Chair of Crimsonbridge Foundation. “This year, the Foundation is proud to recognize schools that have embraced the power of communications to welcome and engage families.”
The Crimsonbridge Foundation is presenting the Bridges for Schools Award of Distinction to seven schools in honor of their commitment to fostering a welcoming environment and building capacity to engage Hispanic and Latino students and families. All Award of Distinction schools have actively participated in Bridges for Schools for five years or more.
“These schools deserve to be recognized for their efforts to be inclusive communities where all families can find a home and diversity is celebrated as a gift. We have learned so much through our partnership with these schools, and their feedback has informed the continued expansion and evolution of the Bridges for Schools program,” shares Danielle M. Reyes, President and CEO of Crimsonbridge Foundation.
The following schools received the Award of Distinction grant this year:
Academy of St. Matthias the Apostle
Academy of the Holy Cross
Elizabeth Seton High School
Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School
Sacred Heart School
St. John the Evangelist School (Clinton, MD)
St. Raphael School
The impact of investing in inclusive communications and parent engagement strategies includes increased enrollment and retention, family satisfaction, and overall school morale. Kathleen Prebble, President of the Academy of the Holy Cross, shared, “we are excited that our incoming Class of 2026 is 26% Hispanic and Latina - this represents the largest percentage of Hispanic and Latina students in an incoming class that we have ever had and we are thrilled! We are certain that our efforts, with the support of Bridges for Schools, are a large reason for this growth. We believe that the Latina girls applying to Holy Cross can see themselves in the student community and that they will feel at home here.”
To find Bridges for Schools ideas and strategies for your school, visit our Program Guide.