Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

NonProfit Focus: SkarlatosZonarich & Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School

SkarlatosZonarich LLC

Why do you feel it’s important for your business to support our area’s nonprofits?

 Nonprofits provide a variety of necessary services to citizens of the greater Harrisburg area, which simply can neither be addressed by individual citizens nor satisfied by governmental agencies and funding. Nonprofit entities allow persons to band together to focus upon and address issues important to them as a group and important to society.

Why do you support this particular nonprofit, and what does your business do to benefit the organization?

 All of the managing members of SkarlatosZonarich LLC are involved in civic, nonprofit or religious organizations.

It is my pleasure to serve on the board of directors or advisory boards of a number of nonprofit corporations, including the Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School (HCES), The James A. Finnegan Foundation and the Historic Harrisburg Advisory Board, in addition to serving as a member of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority for the city of Harrisburg.

HCES offers an alternative source of education to students in and around the city of Harrisburg, including Dauphin, Cumberland and Perry counties. HCES allows the flexibility for quality education through small class sizes and individualized attention geared to meet the needs of student families. HCES provides an alternative to the Harrisburg school system. HCES’s location in Harrisburg allows it to incorporate visits from governmental leaders and visits to the city’s museums into its ongoing curriculum.

HCES has earned accreditation from the prestigious Middle States Commission for Elementary Schools. HCES is proud of its diverse student population. HCES, while rooted in Catholicism, is open to students of any faith. HCES charges tuition but provides a variety of scholarships to help parents defray costs. Its students qualify for free breakfast and lunch each school day.

Even during the pandemic, HCES has offered pre-K, kindergarten and elementary school students and their families the option of either remote learning or classes at one of its two locations, Cathedral Campus behind the Cathedral of St. Patrick in downtown Harrisburg or at its Holy Family Campus on S. 25th Street.

Service on HCES’ board is my way to “pay it forward” religiously and civically. For more information about HCES’ planned expansion, contact 717-232-2169.

All area businesses, including SkarlatosZonarich LLC, benefit from having an educated workforce available to serve as a pool of potential, qualified employees. HCES provides that type of basic quality education.

Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School

Describe your organization and the importance of corporate or foundation support to further your mission.

Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School (HCES) was founded in 2012 with the merger of two Harrisburg city schools (Holy Family, est. 1959, and Cathedral School, est. 1873), making it the only Catholic elementary school in the city of Harrisburg. We accept children from the city and its surrounding communities, celebrating diversity in our student population. Our mission statement says it all:

Harrisburg Catholic Elementary School, a faith-filled community, is enriched by diverse ethnic cultures. Building upon the teachings of the Catholic Church, we strive to develop the whole child as we encourage students to appreciate each other and share their God-given talents. We challenge students to achieve individual academic success, shared responsibility and appropriate socialization.

Our class sizes are limited to provide students the optimum degree of personal attention they deserve, but rarely receive, in larger classrooms. Our teachers put the needs of the students first. During this pandemic school year, we have maintained in-person classes, as well as live-streamed virtual classes, as requested by individual families. Our teachers have been able to manage students who have been on-line all year, in school all year, and some who have switched as needed. This flexibility emphasizes the dedication and compassion of our teachers, staff and administration.

For 2021, what is your greatest need for corporate or foundation support?

Today, more than ever, our school needs corporate and foundation support to provide tuition assistance, either through Pennsylvania’s EITC and OSTC programs or through individual donations. Eighty-two percent of our enrolled students live at or below the poverty level. This, combined with the economic aftermath of the pandemic, puts our scholarship need for the 2021-22 school year greater than ever. Simply put, without donations from the business community and foundations, our school tuition would be out of reach for most of our families.

The Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program allows businesses to donate to private schools and other educational avenues while providing credits to their own tax bills. The Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) operates similarly in providing tax credits to businesses that donate. The OSTC scholarships apply to students who live in low-achieving public school districts and wish to attend private schools; EITC scholarships are income-driven.

Your business’s donations to either or both of these programs would help assist students whose needs for a better academic and social fit would otherwise be denied because of lack of tuition.

Individual donations are also accepted by the school to assist with tuition needs or in any area you would like to designate. Please contact the school for more information at 717-234-3797.

Thank you to SkarlatosZonarich and all of those who have sponsored our students in receiving excellence in education!

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