FIRE Foundation earns $1.25M grant in support of Catholic education for students with disabililties

Attend upcoming informational meetings October 18 in Manchester and October 26 in Sunapee. 

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Christine and Christopher Duffley, founders of FIRE Foundation of NH.

MANCHESTER, NH –  FIRE Foundation, an advocacy and funding organization supporting inclusive Catholic education based in Kansas City, Mo., has received a grant of $1.25 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help establish Project BONFIRE, a five-year initiative designed to build the capacity of Catholic K-12 schools and educators to welcome and support students with disabilities.

This project is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative. The aim of this initiative is to help parents and caregivers share their faith and values with their children.

Project BONFIRE (Building an Organized Network of Families for Inclusive Religious Education) seeks to expand the availability of high-quality inclusive Catholic learning environments in which students who are diagnosed with intellectual/developmental disabilities can learn, grow and thrive in faith-based schools with their typically developing peers. Through this initiative, FIRE and its network of affiliate organizations aim to expand opportunities for children who have not historically been served in Catholic schools.

“As more parents seek enrollment of their children with disabilities in Catholic schools, it’s imperative that educators are well trained in best practices and that appropriate resources are available,” said Lynn Hire, executive director of FIRE Foundation. “With support from Lilly Endowment, FIRE will be positioned to expand the scope and depth of support for students with disabilities available at Catholic schools in nine dioceses across the country. We are deeply grateful for Lilly Endowment’s trust in FIRE Foundation and believe this investment in our work will be a catalyst for expanding the growth and impact of FIRE’s work.”

The FIRE Foundation of NH, an affiliate of FIRE Foundation, was established in 2019 to support families who desire a Catholic education for their children with disabilities in New Hampshire. As a result of this funding from Lilly Endowment, Inc., the Fire Foundation of NH will be better positioned to build the capacity of Catholic K-12 schools and educators to welcome and support students with disabilities.

“The Fire Foundation of NH is grateful to Lilly Endowment, Inc. for its generous support that will surely have a positive impact in our local communities statewide,” says Christine Duffley, NH Director. “We look forward to assisting even more families achieve their Catholic education goals for their students with disabilities as a result.”

To share information about this opportunity, Friends of FIRE will offer two upcoming informational meetings on Wednesday, October 18, from 5 to 7 p.m. in Manchester and on Thursday, October 26, from 5 to 7 p.m. in Sunapee.

For details and to register,  contact Christine Duffley at christine@firefoundationnh.com or 603-234-1060. More information is online at firefoundationnh.com.


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