For love, loyalty, and money: A study of Catholic high school alumni support of their alma maters

James Joseph Hickey, Fordham University


To curtail the increasing cost of tuition and reduce their dependence on this form of revenue, Catholic high schools need to intensify their efforts for financial freedom. To accomplish this goal, Catholic high schools require large sums of money in the form of endowments. Since public funding of private education faces many legislative and judicial pitfalls, and that parish, religious order, and diocesan subsidies continue to decline, Catholic high schools have no alternative but to increase the money they receive from their alumni constituencies. The purpose of this study is to discover those factors and variables that motivate alumni to give their time, talent, and treasure to their Catholic high school alma maters. Catholic high schools need to know much more about alumni giving. An understanding of these factors will enable them to strengthen their development programs. This study about alternative funding sources is an attempt to gather data about alumni attitudes, and their willingness to give time, talent, and money to their alma maters. The study used statistical models to predict the willingness of alumni to support their alma maters based on who they are, the experiences they had in high school, their existing relationships with former teachers, coaches, and classmates, and the current perceptions they hold about their high school. Four Catholic high schools, one from each category of diocesan, parish, religious congregation, and private participated in the study. A random but equal number of male and female alumni totaling 1,000 participants combined from all four schools were mailed a copy of an original survey instrument called CARES—Catholic Alumni Review of Educational Support. The data from the study include descriptive statistics, analyses of variance, multiple correlation analyses, and regression models. These statistical models showed that alumni loyalty was a significant intervening variable in predicting support. The study also identified alumni attitudes, perceptions, and demographics that were important in determining alumni giving. The study produced practical data that development professionals can use to advance the emerging field of institutional advancement in Catholic education. With greater knowledge and understanding about the motivation and willingness of Catholic high school alumni to support their alma maters, development and institutional advancement programs can use the study's data to help them fortify the financial future of Catholic education.

Subject Area

School finance|Secondary education|School administration

Recommended Citation

Hickey, James Joseph, "For love, loyalty, and money: A study of Catholic high school alumni support of their alma maters" (2003). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3084888.