The mission of the Ortner Family Foundation is to promote human flourishing by leveraging opportunities for formation and fellowship consistent with Catholic teaching. We believe that the breakdown of three institutions—churches, families, and schools—is the root cause of today's social, political, and economic problems. We believe that the key to fixing these problems is to fix the culture, and the best way to do that is to fix our schools.
Beginning with our Catholic schools.
Because, for better or for worse, the formation and fellowship provided by our Catholic schools has an outsized influence on the culture. That's because our schools shape the beliefs and attitudes of those they serve—children and families—whose participation in society influences the culture inside and outside the Catholic Church.
Until recently, most Catholic schools were not engines of evangelization and cultural change. It's no wonder. Instead of drawing on the Church's own education tradition—which delights in cultivating in children a love for what is good, true, and beautiful—for decades, most Catholic schools adopted the values, methods, and materials of state institutions which were developed to advance state goals. As a result, they reinforced the most damaging aspects of the culture under the banner of Catholic education.
But that is changing. Across the country, Catholic educators are reclaiming what was lost, bringing faith, joy, and a love of learning back to their school communities, along with classic literature, philosophy, Latin, and other traditional disciplines, as well as an understanding of the human person made in the image and likeness of his Creator.
The renewal of Catholic education is transforming schools and changing lives. We are honored to be a part of it. We serve as an investor, connector, and advisor of key efforts, including initiatives to advance religious freedom, school choice, and other public policy initiatives that protect and increase access to Catholic schools and advance the truth of the Catholic faith.
We currently support the following organizations doing important work in formation and fellowship: the Institute for Catholic Liberal Education, Religious Freedom Institute, Cana Academy, Thomistic Institute, Catholic Education Partners, Ethics and Public Policy Center, St. Jerome Institute, Thomas Aquinas College, and A Simple House.
We also oversee two projects:
Catholic School Playbook is a website that shares the best practices of successful Catholic schools. Compiled from interviews with experienced educators and school leaders, the site features a Playbook (all 7 chapters are available for free), popular blog, and weekly email for Catholic parents and educators called The Light. Subscribe here.
Run With Saints is a community-building website for faithful Catholics, inspired by the belief that an individual’s spiritual, intellectual, and moral formation is better served in friendship with faithful peers and mentors. Run With Saints helps practicing Catholics find other nearby Catholic people, events, groups, organizations, and schools in order to identify more opportunities for Christian fellowship and community. Join for free here.
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