Hope For Tomorrow Foundation
In 2016 the Hope for Tomorrow Foundation and Saint Patrick Academy were founded in response to the impending closure of St. Patrick School. The City of Portsmouth had provided notice that the Austin Street building required significant repairs and renovations and funding from the Parish or Diocese was highly uncertain. If we wanted St. Pats to survive, we needed to create a new non-profit to revitalize the school as an independent Catholic school — Saint Patrick Academy.
From the outset there were 4 major objectives that had to be achieved in approximately one year.
They were as follows:
- Establish local control of school governance
- Find/build new facilities
- Improve financial management & fundraising
- Increase enrollment
We are pleased and grateful to report that through prayer, hard work, generosity, a wonderful community, teachers, and God’s grace we were very successful in meeting our objectives. Following is a summary of each area.
Establish local control of school governance
The previous St. Patrick School Board was purely “advisory”, meaning the Board members could provide thoughts or suggestions, but had no real authority or control. The Hope for Tomorrow Foundation Board is a true “fiduciary” board that has authority, control and is accountable for making decisions for the school and its future. The board’s core responsibilities are to hire, advise and review the Head of School, approve the annual budget and establish a longer-term strategic plan. The board is not involved with day-to-day operations of SPA. The Head of School is responsible for the operations and daily school activities.
Find/build new facilities
Finding suitable property in Portsmouth was very challenging. Again, through the grace of God and a tremendous effort, the Hope for Tomorrow Foundation purchased the current campus property in December of 2016. This came about after several earlier parcels proved to be inadequate after zoning reviews.
Our Groundbreaking event occurred on May 13, 2017, which fell on the 100th anniversary of Our Lady of Fatima. On July 1, 2017, Hope for Tomorrow took responsibility for the School while it was still located on Austin Street. On May 13, 2018, we had our Grand Opening. This was about 2 weeks after we moved the school over during spring break! We had to move prior to June due to a variety of issues that were non-negotiable.
The result of all of this was the completion of an absolutely stunning and state-of-the-art PreK-8 Lower and Middle School. Our school is beautiful and provides our students with the best learning environment due to the natural lighting, radiant heated floors, classroom design, acoustics, and top of the line classroom furniture to name but a few of the physical building benefits. The heart of the School, however, is the Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel built in memory of C. Edward Broom (July 6, 1928 – October 1, 2016.)
Financial management & fundraising
As an independent Catholic school, we do not receive any Diocesan or parish funds and therefore must generate all funds necessary for operations through tuition, fundraising or charitable gifts. Consistent with our Catholic mission, we seek to make SPA available to anyone that wants their child to receive an SPA education, regardless of financial means. Accordingly, financial aid to support those who would not otherwise be able to attend SPA is an important part of our annual budget.
St. Patrick School was losing between $120,000 to $200,000 per year when Hope for Tomorrow took responsibility for it.
Most schools have a family fundraising commitment (they go by various names) and charge for many events – basically everything. Saint Patrick Academy has the Auction, Clover Run 5k and, starting this year, an Annual Fund. We aim to provide the best education money can buy, yet we do so on a very tight budget.
In September of 2017, we had 97 students. In September of 2019, we had 190 students. We target approximately 20 +/- students per grade. It is important to note that due to our selective admissions process our class sizes do not correlate to class sizes at other schools. The quality of our student body and faculty create an optimal learning environment.
This is a school of hope and joy with extremely dedicated faculty and staff. Our Head of School was a top national candidate, and we could not be more pleased with his appointment. Your children are known and loved at Saint Patrick Academy; we educate the whole person and encourage our students to live virtuous lives. Virtue = Joy which comes from Jesus who is the ultimate joy, hope, and salvation of the world. He is not only invited on campus – He is present throughout the day, everyday. Excellence honors God and inspires people. Saint Patrick Academy is a loving school of excellence and beauty where education is fully alive.
James Broom, President & Board Chair
Matthew McFarland P’17’19, Treasurer, (Partner, R.M. Davis, Inc)
Joseph Patrnchak, Secretary, (Principal, Green Summit Partners)
Kristen Broom P’14’16’17’18’23’24’27’29
Fr. William Brown, OMV, (Executive Director for Mission & Apostolate, Distinguished Fellow at The Catholic University of America)
Veronica Burchard, (Author, Chief Operating Officer at Sophia Institute for Teachers)
Frank Getman P’11’13’16’20’23, (President & CEO of Great Bay Renewables)
Charles McKinney, (President & CEO of Sophia Institute Press)