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Crimsonbridge Founder Presents Bridges for Schools Guide at FADICA National Conference

At this year’s FADICA Catholic Philanthropy Network Symposium in New Orleans, Gabriela Smith, Founder & Executive Chair of the Crimsonbridge Foundation, participated in a panel discussion on “The Role of Community-Building in Catholic School Success.” Additional panelists included Alana Bell with the Fulcrum Foundation, Lynn Hire of the FIRE Foundation, and moderator Christina Kirby of Porticus North America.


Smith focused her remarks on community-building, highlighting the foundation’s work to foster belonging in Catholic schools through Bridges for Schools. This work is in response to data that shows 55% of Catholic school-age students in the United States identify as Hispanic, yet they make up less than 19% of enrolled Catholic students nationally. She emphasized the tremendous potential for schools to increase student enrollment and family engagement and presented the Bridges for Schools Program Guide, a resource designed by the Crimsonbridge Foundation to help Catholic schools welcome, enroll, engage, and retain Latino students and families. The Guide provides strategies and a worksheet for schools to brainstorm ideas to create practices, programming, staffing, and communications collateral to support schools’ student enrollment and family engagement goals.


“We envision thriving Catholic schools and parishes where families feel welcome and engaged as part of a broader community,” says Smith.


Through Bridges for Schools, the Crimsonbridge Foundation has provided funding and research-backed tools for schools to invest in Spanish and bilingual communications, parent engagement strategies, cultural competency, and more. A vital part of the foundation’s Education Imperative, Bridges for Schools has partnered with 40 schools serving more than 12,000 students in the Archdiocese of Greater Washington, Diocese of Arlington (Virginia), and Archdiocese of Philadelphia – with plans to expand to other diocese across the United States.


After six years, the Bridges for Schools program has demonstrated impressive results: 95% of Bridges for Schools grantee partners have increased or maintained their Hispanic enrollment since 2018.


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