Current Systemic Change Committee Report

ONRC – Ozanam Education Fund Committee 2021 Annual Report

Committee Name: Ozanam Education Fund Committee
Committee Chair: Jere Hartnett
Committee Members: Alan Read, St. Paul the Apostle Conf. Burlington
Jim Ferguson, St. Andrew’s Conf. Oakville
Margaret LaFontaine, St. Raphael’s Conf. Burlington
Cathie Sutcliffe St. Patrick’s Conf. Burlington
Maria Scattalon, St. Francis Xavier Conf. Hamilton

Ozanam Education Fund background:
The Ozanam Education Fund is an ONRC program that is focused on helping people trapped in the cycle of poverty and providing them with resources so they can get an education, obtain a decent job and escape the cycle of poverty. One of the key factors that contributes to generational poverty is the lack of an education and the ability to obtain one for themselves and their children. The main obstacle is the lack of funds for tuition, course fees, computer equipment, tools, accommodation, food, transportation, day care, and previous debt payments. ONRC recognized this fundamental need for change to break out of the cycle of poverty and as a result created the Ozanam Education Fund in Sept. 2012. The objective is simply “to provide resources for an education to help escape the cycle of poverty”. Because our Vincentians are in direct contact with people in these situations, they are in a unique position to help with the program. Based on the feedback we have received from both sponsors and recipients this program has made a considerable impact on people’s lives. The procedure for applying to the fund is detailed on the ONRC website.

Results and Further Need:
Since the program started, we have responded to over 312 requests for help and have provided over $585,000. of assistance. Most of those we have helped are from families that are living in poverty with burdens of debt, medical problems, job loss, and other family difficulties and are wishing that they could afford to send their child on to post-secondary education. A significant number are from single parent families where the parent has young children, and they are trying to move from a low paying (often part time job) to one that allows them to live with some dignity.  In 2021 we were able to help 26 applicants with a total of $77,000. We expect that with the return to in-class studies in 2022 that the demand for this type of assistance will increase.

Program Funding:
The program is funded by pass-ups to our ONRC Treasurer from Conferences and Councils or Charity Foundations as well as personal donations. ONRC contributes make-up funds as needed for the program. We encourage your donations to this worthy cause.

Committee Activities:
The Ozanam Fund Committee operates the application, review, and award process and provides assistance as required for new sponsors. The application forms and Application/ Award/Tax process are listed on the Ozanam Education Fund  section of the ONRC website.
If you have an interest in helping to make changes in peoples lives by helping them get an education consider joining our committee we are welcoming new members.

Jere Hartnett
Chair ONRC Ozanam Education Fund