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Catholic school in Cicero, Illinois, is spared from closure

March 6, 2024
Donors have stepped forward with support to keep St. Frances of Rome School operating for at least 5 years.

A Catholic school in Cicero, Illinois, that had been set to close later this year has acquired the funds needed to keep operating.

St. Frances of Rome School has secured funds to stay open for at least the next five years, the Archdiocese of Chicago said in a news release. The lead gift comes from anonymous donations to the Big Shoulders Fund, which provides financial support to inner-city Catholic schools in the Chicago area.

“St. Frances of Rome School has been an important part of the fabric of the Cicero community for 100 years,” said St. Frances of Rome School Principal Phil Jackson. “We’re moved by the overwhelming generosity of Big Shoulders Fund and other donors to keep our school open. Joining the Big Shoulders community, St. Frances of Rome is ready to embark on its next 100 years.”

The Archdiocese had announced in January that St. Frances of Rome would have to close.

St. Frances of Rome now will become part of the Big Shoulders Fund Plus network. Launched in 2020 with 30 schools, the network is a 10-year, nearly $100 million commitment to support highest-need schools.

With the addition of St. Frances of Rome, the initiative now includes 38 schools, offering increased operational support to meet the needs of students, families, and the broader community.

“We are grateful for our strong partnership with Big Shoulders Fund,” said Greg Richmond, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese. “We are united in the mission to enable all families—including low-income families—to have the choice to enroll their children in a Catholic school.”

The announcement that St. Frances of Rome will remain open comes days before the school is scheduled to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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