Catholic Education Overview

November 3, 2021

When did Catholic Education Start in the U.S.?

Catholic school education in the United States began almost 240 years ago in Philadelphia, PA. Over the next two centuries, Catholic education spread across the nation. U.S. Catholic school enrollment reached its peak in the 1960s with more than 5.2 million students in almost 13,000 schools nationwide.

Catholic education offers rigorous academics grounded in teachings of service and social justice. Studies show that Catholic school students outperform public school students in overall academic scores. However, Catholic education goes much further than this by striving to educate the whole student. The chief philosophy of Catholic education is to teach students to live a life of service for others.


Catholic Education in Washington State

In Washington state, the first Catholic school open its doors almost 150 years ago, creating a long-standing tradition of academic excellence in faith-based education. Today, there are 102 Catholic schools in the state – 72 of which are part of the Archdiocese of Seattle.


How Does Fulcrum Support Catholic Education?

Founded in 2002, the Fulcrum Foundation supports Catholic schools, educators, and students across Western Washington. Fulcrum leverages financial aid to support three core pillars of giving: capital grants for schools, tuition assistance grants for students, and leadership development grants for educators. Through these core pillars, Fulcrum carries out its mission to increase access to Catholic education for all who want it.

However, Fulcrum’s work goes deeper than this. While 30% of students in archdiocesan schools identify as people of color, Fulcrum knows that minority students are underrepresented in Catholic schools. Since its founding, Fulcrum has dedicated itself to supporting diversity and inclusion initiatives to address this imbalance and create more diverse, representative schools.


Promoting Diversity in Catholic Education

Fulcrum’s newest program, the Becraft Scholars Program, brings this mission to the forefront. Founded in partnership with the Ferry Family Charitable Foundation, Becraft Scholars provides a pathway of access to Catholic education while partnering with archdiocesan schools to foster a culture of belonging with a focus on Black and African American students and families.

Becraft Scholars is an innovative scholarship program that selects cohorts of 12 students and provides an annual scholarship from kindergarten through eighth grade. What sets Becraft Scholars apart is its culture-changing work in the schools themselves. By partnering with archdiocesan schools, Fulcrum works to build a culture of inclusion for all students, not just those receiving scholarships. In this way, Fulcrum creates self-sustaining change for generations of students to come.

The Fulcrum Foundation is proud to support the incredible schools, students, and educators in Western Washington. To learn more about Fulcrum’s mission and work in the Archdiocese of Seattle, visit

To be a part of Fulcrum’s life-changing mission, donate now using the link below. Thank you for making a difference and supporting Catholic education in Western Washington!

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