Purpose Prize

Marc Freedman Portrait

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Event Recording: Music Across Generations

Event Recording: Music Across Generations

Music can bring generations together for connection and collaboration, inspiration and celebration. Join us as we explore the power of cogeneration by learning more about an intergenerational orchestra, big band, and choir. This hour-long event features the Heart of...

The Best 13 Minutes You’ll Spend This Week

The Best 13 Minutes You’ll Spend This Week

Just after the Oscars, I wrote about The Last Repair Shop, the 2024 Academy Award-winning documentary about four older people who repair the 80,000 free musical instruments used by public school students in Los Angeles. It’s a beautiful film about a vital...


John Foley, S.J.

Cristo Rey Network
Purpose Prize Fellow 2007

Capitalizing on students skills to cover the high costs of running excellent schools.

John Foley could have retired in 1996 after 34 years of working with schools in Peru. Instead, the Jesuit priest, then 60, returned to the United States to launch the Cristo Rey Network, an innovative approach to Catholic college preparatory education that now serves almost 3,000 students, 92 percent of whom are racial minorities. The big idea? Capitalize on students’ skills to cover the high costs of running excellent schools. Law firms, banks, hospitals, and other corporations lease the students’ talents, paying $20,000 a year for a team of four interns who share a 40-hour work week. Students’ work helps underwrite the cost of their high-quality education, and they learn marketable skills. Clients are happy, and the school can focus on the classroom instead of competing for charitable dollars. Impressed by the Cristo Rey model, a venture capitalist contributed $12 million in 2001 to accelerate its growth. Today there are 12 schools in the Cristo Rey Network, operating in nine states. Nearly all graduates — 96 percent – have gone to college. Impressed with the success, the Gates Foundation invested $6 million in November 2006, paving the way for additional expansion. Seven more Cristo Rey schools in an additional seven states will open soon.