With schools across the country all operating under pandemic policies, it was unclear how fundraising for the 2020 / 2021 Toonies for Tuition campaign would fare. Not only were most schools educating virtually for at least part of the year, but the chaos of navigating education throughout the pandemic left little space for anything other than the essentials. Despite these challenges, many Catholic Schools still rallied together to ensure the mission of Toonies for Tuition wouldn’t be entirely lost.
What is Toonies for Tuition?
While many Canadian families are privileged to live in Provinces with full public funding for Catholic Education, others are navigating Catholic School systems with only partial or no public funding at all.
For more than a century, Catholics in Canada have worked to safeguard parents’ right to choose Catholic Education for their children. In 1984, in his visit to Saint John’s NL, Pope John Paul II addressed all those working in Canadian Catholic Schools. Among his encouraging remarks, he reminded us,
“ All men and women – and all children – have a right to education. Closely linked to this right to education is the right of parents, of families, to choose according to their convictions the kind of education and the model of school which they wish for their children.”Pope John Paul II, Address to Catholic Educators, 1984
Preserving this right to choose is at the heart of CCSTA’s Vision. However, this choice is increasingly difficult for parents whose choice of Catholic Education is more costly than what they can afford. This is where Toonies for Tuition comes into play.
For 16 years, students, teachers and school communities across Canada have been working towards one common goal: to help every family in Canada have access to Catholic Education. While that is our common goal, we are still far from it. Toonies for Tuition plays a crucial role in making that vision a reality. From generous donors to in-school fundraisers and National CCSTA campaigns, the Catholic School family of Canada has rallied together to raise millions of dollars for Toonies for Tuition over the last 16 year.
Catholic Schools operating in a partially or non-funded Catholic School Board can apply to receive funding for particular families in their own school. The money raised through Toonies for Tuition goes directly to these specific families who are most in need. While this fundraising campaign has enabled thousands of students to attend a Catholic School in Canada, the requests for funding continually exceed our fundraising efforts – leaving plenty of room for this campaign to grow.
Fundraising in a Pandemic
Last year, during the 2020 / 2021 School Year, it was uncertain how successful Toonies for Tuition would be. Afterall, most of our schools were trying to navigate hybrid modes of operation – with some online, some in school and some a changing mix of both. It was entirely understandable that most schools would be unable to even entertain the idea of participating in this fundraiser. But as we’ve seen time and time again with our Catholic Schools — generosity and thoughtfulness prevailed. In one of the most difficult years of education in recent history, Canadian Catholic Schools, through their selfless dedication to Toonies for Tuition, fundraised $73,700!
We couldn’t be more proud of our students and school boards for stepping up and ensuring the continuation of the Toonies Campaign. This Fall, there are students at their desks in Catholic Schools who wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for this tremendous effort. The $73,700 raised this year has been allocated and sent to families across the country who applied for funding through their own catholic school.
In response to this year’s efforts, Julian Hanlon, Executive Director of CCSTA, stated,
“With students engaged in virtual learning for a good part of the year fundraising was definitely a challenge. In spite of these challenges we were very pleased with the money raised for the Toonies campaign. We are very optimistic that with students back in class this year we will see a return to more normal fundraising activities. Once again a thank you to all for supporting our campaign.”Julian Hanlon, Executive Director, CCSTA
A Shout Out to the Top Fundraisers
Each year, school boards with the highest fundraising totals (per capita based on FTE enrolment) are awarded a trophy in honour of their tremendous efforts towards the Toonies for Tuition campaign. Our 2021 Trophy Challenge was won by Hamilton Wentworth Catholic District School Board (ON) for their outstanding efforts in fundraising this year. With the highest fundraising total, their efforts highlight their true Catholic spirit in thinking of those in need – even in difficult and challenging times. An additional trophy is awarded to the Province with the highest fundraising total and the winner of the 2020 / 2021 Provincial Trophy was Ontario! (Check out the winners from past years) A big congratulations to our winners!
There are seven other districts that deserve an honourable mention as their fundraising played a significant role in this year’s campaign. A big, CCSTA thank you to:
- Saint Thomas Aquinas RCSRD No. 38 – Alberta
- Prince Albert RCSSD No 6 – Saskatchewan
- Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario – Ontario
- Nipissing Parry Sound – Ontario
- Sudbury CDSB – Ontario
- Peterborough, Victoria, Northumberland and Clarington Catholic School Board – Ontario
- Evergreen Catholic Separated Regional Division No. 2 – Alberta
As always, the goal is to continue growing this program to allow more students access to Catholic Education. The chance to have a Catholic Education is something that can transform the life of a student – and CCSTA will continue to work with school communities to ensure the continued growth and success of the Toonies for Tuition Campaign.
Visit our Toonies website page for more information on how to make a donation to the 2021 / 2022 Toonies for Tuition Campaign.