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An Institution Rooted in Need

Bridgeport has the unfortunate distinction of being the largest and the poorest city in Connecticut, even though it is located in one of the wealthiest counties in the United States.

High unemployment (15.2%), high poverty rates (21%), and the highest property taxes in the state have all negatively impacted the public and private education system in Bridgeport. Unfortunately, the public schools in the city have the lowest standardized test scores in the state and are among the lowest in the country.

Bridgeport Public School’s Success Rates

Reading Proficiency                        28%

Math Proficiency                              15%

High School Graduation Rate        74%

Bridgeport’s Racial Make Up

38%    Hispanic

33%    Black

22%    White

7%      Asian

The Challenges We Face

Kolbe Cathedral will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2026, and it is critical to us to be able to continue our mission to Empower our community with Knowledge, Skills, and Catholic Values for another fifty years. To make this a reality for our children we must continue to meet our biggest challenges.

Education & Enrollment

The education gap in inner cities starts in elementary school. Kolbe attracts a substantial number of its students from the public school system in Bridgeport. Unfortunately, the longer a student is in an underperforming school system, the less chance we have to enroll them so that we can create the successful ramp-up they need from Pre-K to 8th grade, and high school to college.

Tuition Shortfall

Kolbe’s $8,650 yearly tuition is the lowest private school tuition in the state, yet the vast majority of our students and their parents still need substantial financial aid to attend. We depend upon generous donors to close the gap between annual operating expenses and income from tuitions. Particularly since the only alternative for these students is to attend less rigorous, less safe, and lower performing public schools.


An issue that has hampered enrollment, and prevented us from attracting more students with less need for financial aid, is our aging facilities. Bishop Caggiano from Bridgeport has put forth a multi-phase Master Campus Plan for Kolbe Cathedral, which includes upgrades to our 60 year old main school building, including new roof, windows, boilers, and a fire alarm/sprinkler system. Beyond these essentials, we would also like to have a cafeteria, a separate Pre-K/Kindergarten area, and a playground (with a basketball court for Kolbe’s 13-time state championship winning basketball team) but these wishes are all in the distant future.


To be competitive, and to provide a 21st century education, skills, and support, Kolbe needs to continue to expand its curriculum and programs. This includes offering computer coding, art and music classes, more AP courses, low or no-cost ACT/SAT prep, summer programming, and after school programs for students and parents. We also need the ability to retain our best teachers and attract new ones. This requires the ability to offer competitive salaries and benefits. We also have a real need for a Healthcare Center with a full-time nurse, plus mental health and counseling services to help students deal with the physical and emotional issues that come from living in a high poverty and crime area.


Kolbe Cathedral's current endowment of $4.5 million is one of the lowest among Catholic high schools in Connecticut. Our annual gifts are always appreciated, but we need more endowed gifts because they continue to grow, and offer us more reliable and sustainable annual distributions from the interest they generate.

Our goal is to grow our endowment to $10 million by 2026 and to $25 million by 2031.

Donate Today!

Be a part of changing a deserving child’s life.

Contact Rick Ryan at:

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