The Drexel Mission School Initiative is a program of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul & Minneapolis that provides programming and services to qualifying schools in exchange for commitments to certain standards of excellence on the part of the schools.

To be eligible to participate, enrollment at a school must include more than 50% kids eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, as well as more than 50% students of color. Participating schools opt in to the program. Currently the program serves 9 schools in the Archdiocese.

The needs of Drexel Mission Schools are unique. It’s not only that they can’t rely on tuition as a revenue stream. For these schools to provide the high-quality education and Catholic value proposition that all families expect from a Catholic school, their learners, families, school leaders, and faculty need considerably more support.

Drexel Mission Schools receive professional development, special grant opportunities, and many other benefits. Importantly, they also receive the services of the City Connects program out of Boston College, which provides wrap-around social services for learners and their families. Social workers at each school assist the families with out-of-school supports like access to food, housing, and mental health services.

Support the Drexel Mission School Initiative

The Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota (CCF) is the steward of funds supporting the Drexel Mission School Initiative:

Drexel Mission School Fund

The many benefits and services provided to Drexel schools are expensive, but each one is proven critical to the schools’ success. Read about one example, City Connects, at right.

As Catholics, our faith calls us to have a “preferential option for the poor.” In our community, we can live out this principle of Catholic teaching by supporting the families among us most in need.



Research shows that poverty (including hunger, homelessness, and unmet healthcare needs) has harmful consequences for student achievement. Schools must address each of these areas in order for a child to learn. City Connects, a program out of Boston College, provides a coordinator who offers counselling and social workers to collaborate with each family. For several years GHR Foundation has funded this initiative exclusively, but as they now shift their focus to pilot other innovative programming, GHR support for Drexel Schools is ramping down.

Because of City Connects’ proven success nationally, the Archdiocese has committed to continuing the program. CCF received a $250,000 gift for City Connects from a very generous anonymous donor, but the total cost for the program is nearly $1.6M.


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*Donating online generates fees for CCF and potentially from your bank. To maximize your contribution, you can write a check payable to Catholic Community Foundation with the fund name in the memo and mail it to Catholic Community Foundation  |  2610 University Avenue West  |  Suite 500  |  St. Paul, MN 55114.

Interested in making a tax-efficient, non-cash, or other large donation? Please contact Senior Philanthropic Advisor, Bethel Ruest at 651-389-0875 or

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Meg Payne Nelson
Vice President of Impact
Email Meg