Since 1997 the FFHL has given full, 4-year university scholarships to over 573 students who were economically marginalized but had strong academic talent. With specific guidelines to protect your investment, the scholarship program pays for 4 years of college tuition and books. Through your generosity, FFHL is holding the doors of educational opportunity open for the Christian community in the Holy Land.
Principal Purpose and Mission
From ancient times until today the Christian community has never been numerically significant. It’s always been a small community at the birthplace of Christianity. Amidst decades of instability and insecurity, Christian families absolutely need to be accompanied by our families, members of the Universal Catholic Church. We can and do make an important difference. Our support shines a light reminding our brothers and sisters that their presence is important. The apostolic mission of tens of thousands of religious men and women through the centuries has been, like Christ Himself, to teach the children well. This has been a heroic uninterrupted commitment from the Catholic Church which has unquestionably changed the face of day-to-day life in the Holy Land. This special call was vigorously endorsed when Pope Paul VI came on his historic pilgrimage to Bethlehem in 1964. He spoke of the urgent need to educate everyone, to build on the very gifts God has continued to give to children. He initiated Bethlehem University and this school, rooted in faith, hope, charity and educational excellence has educated thousands of Holy Land Christians.
The Franciscan Foundation has been a serious part of this process. Our friends and donors have led dozens of young students through the doors of this college. We have assisted dozens more to attend other community colleges in the Holy Land.
When St. John Paul II journeyed to Jerusalem, Bethlehem and all the sacred places in the Jubilee Year 2000, he too noted that one of the great needs was for education. “All Catholic faithful must always be concerned about the Christian communities in the Holy Land – and must support them in their needs.”
These caring calls have confirmed this as a priority for the Franciscan Custos and our friars.
Christian Education – for peace, progress and service
For too many years there have been hard times in the Holy Land. Good people have struggled in many ways to survive, to hold on to their family roots in the birthplace of Christianity. Few things matter more to families than to help their children have a strong education. Visits to local families and asking them what their children need always leads to a discussion about education. Like anywhere, parents shine with pride when speaking about their children – and their potentials. Few families can actually afford the full cost of a college education for even one child, never mind several. Still, they are willing to sacrifice, many literally from their widow’s mite. Our Foundation was started to specifically find ways to respond to these needs now.
It’s more than just providing a decent college education. It’s about building up the community’s opportunities, it’s greatest natural resources – the young adults. Our scholarship program invites Sponsors to help multiply these intellectual and community resources, these young Christians. We work to build up minds, lives, and hopes. We see a new generation going out into Holy Land communities better equipped to contribute, to support, to serve. Despite darker times, they encounter their own potentials with a clear eagerness – not just to go to school but to develop themselves. It is this energy which the Foundation supports so they too can make a shining difference.
In the Holy Land in 2018 the average yearly cost to attend college is $6000, compared to $34,000 in the USA. What a wonderful way to invest in the future of Christianity by sponsoring one, or more, of these young Christians. What an opportunity to “give the gift you have received as a gift” to one of these young men or women. Since the Foundation’s University Scholarship Program began in 1997, it has enabled many students to attend college with a sense of confidence and Catholic encouragement. This caring investment in others has reached $6 million. Most of these students have secured professional employment in nursing, medicine, business, education and engineering. When you travel around the Holy Land to parishes, communities and other events, you continually meet our students. They are as proud of the Friends of the Foundation as we are of them. This is our community along with all their families. In addition –we meet leaders and managers who offer thanks to the Foundation for our contribution to the society.
Give to our University Scholarship Program
You are making a difference in the Holy Land! The donation levels below illustrate some examples of the ways we use philanthropic gifts to support our programs.