Big Shoulders Fund serves 20,000 students in 72 schools in the Chicago region. In 2019, a fully funded and restricted gift from the Bruce and Beth White Family Foundation extended Big Shoulders Fund’s programming to the Northwest Indiana region, serving 20 schools and nearly 6,000 students. This network of schools is an important resource for students and communities, with research showing that when a Catholic school closes the surrounding area experiences an increase in violence and a decrease in social cohesion.

Big Shoulders Fund is focused on ensuring these schools can remain open and viable for years to come, raising more than $400 million in support of this work since its founding in 1986. Big Shoulders has earned a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest evaluator of nonprofit, for 14 consecutive years, a distinction held by less than one percent of nonprofit organizations nationally.

In 2020, the organization launched Big Shoulders Fund Plus, a $67 million, 10-year philanthropic and operational commitment to 30 of its highest need schools. This significant financial commitment also includes an expanded leadership role for Big Shoulders Fund in its work with principals to help them manage their schools toward specific academic, enrollment, fundraising, and finance goals.

Big Shoulders Fund’s multifaceted support to schools has proven results with students enrolling in quality, college prep high schools, persisting through to college and graduating at rates higher than their peers, and leading productive lives as adults that help to empower communities.

Matriculation into College Prep High Schools

High School Choices Class of 2018

College Enrollment as Verified by the National Student Clearinghouse

Fall College Enrollment – High School Class of 2016

Improved Long-Term Outcomes

Alumni Survey Results: Educational Attainment, Bachelor’s or Beyond

Contributing to Communities

Alumni Survey Results: Civic Engagement