The Salem Catholic Schools Foundation was established in 1978. The first President was Roy Green. The Foundation began with contributions from anonymous donors but also contributions of stock from Roy Green, and cash and property from Larry Epping. The Foundation also received about $250,000 from the Franciscan order, representing a return to the community of funds which had been donated to that religious order in support of Serra Catholic High School in Salem, which had closed in 1969.
This Foundation was established to provide an independent repository for contributions dedicated to support the Salem-area Catholic schools. The Foundation is not controlled by any one parish or any one school, but represents the entire Salem-area Catholic community as a steward for these funds. From 1978 to 1984, this Foundation focused its support on Sacred Heart Academy, which maintained a Catholic school with grades 7 through 12, serving the Salem area. Sacred Heart Academy was owned and run by the Sisters of the Holy Names. In 1984, the Sisters of the Holy Names provincial leadership (not the local leadership) determined that Sacred Heart Academy was losing too much money each year. The school was closed, and the property was sold.
The Foundation had worked for several years in conjunction with another organization, Salem Catholic Schools, Inc. This group conducted regular fund raising to support Sacred Heart Academy, in addition to investment income from the Foundation.
With the closure of Sacred Heart Academy in 1984, the Foundation and Salem Catholic Schools, Inc., began a process of combining their efforts, and Salem Catholic Schools, Inc., closed in 1985, with the transfer of its remaining assets to Salem Catholic Schools Foundation.
Meanwhile, in 1984, St. Joseph Parish opened a community mid-high with substantial financial assistance from the Foundation. This meant that the community still had Catholic seventh and eighth grade education available, even after the closure of Sacred Heart Academy.
From 1984 to 1994, the Salem Catholic Schools Foundation provided annual grants to the three parish schools in the Salem area: Queen of Peace School, St. Joseph School, and St. Vincent de Paul School. This included support for the mid-high, serving the entire community at St. Joseph School. In 1995, the Foundation provided support towards the establishment of Blanchet Catholic School, with a mid-high and eventually a high school. In 1995, St. Joseph Parish closed the community mid-high in favor of the opening of Blanchet. Blanchet started with grades 7, 8, and 9 in the fall of 1995, and added a grade each year; so that it eventually had a full high school, with its first graduating class in 1999. The Foundation has continued to support all of the schools to the present time, and began providing some support to Sacred Heart School in Gervais, Oregon, as a neighbor community, in 2013.
Since 1994, the Foundation has maintained an Emergency Tuition Assistance fund. This provides assistance in paying tuition for families who have been hurt financially due to a family emergency such as serious illness, death of a parent, loss of a parent’s job, etc. This fund responds to requests for assistance which come from the schools on behalf of parents.
The Foundation relies on contributions to grow its assets. The current value of the Foundation’s invested assets exceeds $2,500,000. The income from these investments is used to provide allocations to the schools each year.