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Greetings Friends –

Graduation season is here! Congratulations to all the eighth grade and high school graduates this year. Their most recent school years have certainly not been without challenges. I admire the persistence of our students, and the teachers, school leaders, families, and supporters like you, who care for them. Now more than ever, the value of these strong community-based Big Shoulders Fund schools is clear. They play a key role in helping students reach their potential, despite the obstacles.

The high schools Big Shoulders Fund supports do an excellent job preparing students for college, career, and life. We know through third party research that alumni from Big Shoulders Fund schools graduate from college at 2x the national rate. What’s more, this research shows that our alumni go on to work, volunteer, donate, and vote at rates higher than their peers.

As we begin Big Shoulders Fund Plus, we are excited about the specific accomplishments of Leo High School, Our Lady of Tepeyac High School, and St. Francis de Sales High School. Across these three schools, 93% of graduates were accepted to a four-year university. 88% are college bound and 9% are career bound. Graduates collectively from these three schools have earned more than $8.2 million in college scholarship support. Click here to hear directly from a recent graduate from St. Francis de Sales High School in our new Big Shoulders Fund video.

Thanks to each of you for your support of our students and schools. I wish you the start of a happy and healthy summer


My very best,


Josh Hale
President & CEO
Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship Program
The Illinois Tax Credit Scholarship Program, made possible by the Illinois Invest in Kids Act, provides donors a unique opportunity to contribute to scholarships that help lower-income families send their children to private schools — while reducing their own tax bill on dollars otherwise owed to the state.

Now in our fifth year as a certified Scholarship Granting Organization in this critical program, the need is higher than ever with more than 15,000 applicants currently on our waitlist. 

In a survey, eight out of ten Big Shoulders Fund Tax Credit Scholarship Recipients reported the scholarship having a life-changing amount of impact. If you have questions, need more information, and/or need help in any way with the program or process contact Amy Drozda and/or visit our website.
In Our Schools
Through a partnership with NAMI Chicago, we have been able to implement social and emotional wellness initiatives across our network of schools in the Chicago region and Northwest Indiana. These programs have helped students and teachers build skills that help to create a culture of care in their school community.

The video linked above showcases the impact this partnership has had in Bishop Noll Institute, a Big Shoulders Fund supported school in Northwest Indiana.
This Spring, we hosted the first-ever Big Shoulders Fund Words for My Home Poetry Contest. We received 127 submissions from students in kindergarten through eighth grade at nine different schools. Big Shoulders Fund staff served as judges and ranked each poem based on the theme, creativity, and effort. The top five poems in K-2nd, 3-5th, and 6-8th grade bands were chosen from these scores. The top five winners received a Barnes and Noble gift card, a certificate, and a framed picture of their poem. 

Check out this poem by St. Nicholas of Cathedral School Kindergartener Andrew who recently migrated from Ukraine and who was featured in this Chicago Tribune article
Making A Difference
Thank you to all who joined us this past Saturday at Queen of the Universe School for our June Give Back Day! Volunteers mulched an entire playground, deep cleaned, and moved furniture out of the classrooms for summer enhancements. More than 100 hours of work for the school was completed, totaling nearly $2,900 of donated labor! Special thank you to our Auxiliary Board for leading this impactful day.
Earlier this month, our friends at CDW visited students at Augustus Tolton Academy to share about their professions including technology, cybersecurity, e-sports. They also led the students in Jeopardy games with the winner receiving an Amazon Fire tablet!
Thank you to volunteers from Amtrust who joined us for a service day at St. Nicholas Cathedral School! The group helped with landscaping, painting games on the playground, and organizing and cleaning classrooms.
Save the Date
Registration is open for the 22nd Annual Big Shoulders Fund Golf Classic taking place on Monday, August 1, at Olympia Fields Country Club!

Hit the links with leading civic and corporate leaders and raise funds for the Friends of Big Shoulders Scholarship Fund to help students study for a brighter future. Tickets are going fast and we only have a few foursomes left so get yours today!

View sponsorship opportunities. 

Join us on Wednesday, July 20 from 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm at Lucky Dorr (1101 W. Waveland) as we kick off our ticket sales for the 16th Annual Big Shoulders Fund Ball!

Attendees who purchase tickets during this event will receive $15 off general admission and an additional drink ticket to enjoy at the Kick-Off!

Food will be provided as well as one drink ticket per attendee.

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