Aim Higher Foundation Welcomes Mike O’Keefe, Director of Scholarship Programs
August 30, 2023

Announcing Our Most Scholarships Ever

By Ricky Austin, President

This week and next, 2,330 children will start school, in large part because of the scholarship they are receiving from the Aim Higher Foundation! This milestone marks the most students we have ever supported (closing in on 15% of ALL K-8 Catholic school students in the 12-county metro), and it caps the 9th year of consecutive growth for our mission.

The students are back in their uniforms. They are all smiles in their first day pictures. Parents know their children are in safe environments, with caring teachers, and high academic expectations. And the hard work and commitment of the Aim Higher Foundation team, our board, our donors, and our friends, has come to fruition. Truly, I am struggling to capture the pride and joy we feel right now.

Thank you for making this possible.

Ricky Austin is the president of the Aim Higher Foundation

As we have shared in years past around this time, our team knows that even as we celebrate another milestone, we are ‘just getting started.’ It’s not just a catch phrase. We know that we have to keep the movement growing. We hold simultaneously in our thoughts and in our hearts two seemingly competing emotions: a deep pride and an increasing restlessness.

Aim Higher Foundation’s growth through the last six years is the professional highlight of my career. And the number of lives impacted right now in this very moment is simply incredible. The letters and notes pouring in from parents capture for us over and over again just how meaningful the $1,000 renewable scholarships we provide really are.

And still, we are restless. We know we need to do more. For the second consecutive year, we received nearly 6,600 applications for our scholarships. Demand for Catholic education continues to increase. Parents are taking matters into their own hands as they make sacrifices in a way we will never be able to fully grasp to send their kids to the school that best meets their needs. Through the summer we have received phone calls and emails from parents desperate to know if there is anything else they can do to increase their chances of receiving a scholarship.

All of this propels us forward. To help make the Catholic schools serving grades K-8 rightly accessible to all, we must continue to grow our awarding capacity each year. We must provide more children the educational outcomes they deserve.

And to do this, we need your help.  Now more than ever.

We need your help to make sure all 2,330 students we are supporting this year, continue to receive their scholarships next year and in all subsequent years until they graduate. And we need your help to make sure more of the families we could not reach this year get the chance they deserve next year. And the next.

I invite you to join us on October 27 at the Depot in Minneapolis for the 11th annual Night of Light. Come celebrate with us. Let’s revel in the success we’ve had together. And, in the same breath, with the same hearts, join together to open more doors each year. While I struggle to find words of gratitude, the parents you help don’t.  Let us start this new school year and enter into this season of giving by reflecting on just what it is this mission means to those we help. 

"I will start by thanking the Aim Higher Foundation. Not just because our kids are the beneficiary of the humanitarian gesture, not just because they are providing that scholarship for our kids, but because they are putting joy in the hearts of those parents who want to see their children morally brought up, brought up with sound academics. [Some parents] don’t have the means, but they have zeal, and the Aim Higher foundation is there supporting them. The joy is immense. We pray that more kids will be able to achieve the level of education that they deserve. "