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New York Life creates scholarships for at-risk children in Notre Dame ACE Academies

Written by William Schmitt on Thursday, 29 September 2011.

The University of Notre Dame last week recognized leaders of the Tucson General Office of New York Life Insurance Company as "champions for educational opportunity." New York Life's recent contribution of $100,000 through Arizona's corporate tax credit scholarship program will provide scholarships for more than 100 at-risk children to attend Notre Dame ACE Academy schools in the south-side Tucson community.

Dr. Christian Dallavis, director of the Notre Dame ACE Academies initiative, and Andrea Cisneros, assistant director of Notre Dame ACE Academies, presented a token of the University’s appreciation to Marc Braden, the Managing Partner of New York Life’s Tucson General Office, and Joe Casey (Notre Dame Class of ’79), a Tucson-area New York Life agent.

The Notre Dame ACE Academies leaders were joined in their statement of appreciation by the superintendent of schools for the Diocese of Tucson, Sister Rosa Maria Ruiz, CCFM.NYL Plaque small

 In Arizona, insurance companies and C-corporations may receive a 100-percent tax credit when they contribute their state tax liability to certified scholarship granting organizations like the Catholic Tuition Support Organization (CTSO) of the Diocese of Tucson. New York Life’s contribution to CTSO provides opportunities for disadvantaged children of low-income families to attend high-quality schools, including two Notre Dame ACE Academies in Tucson.

“New York Life is pleased to invest in our local community, and to work with Notre Dame to strengthen educational opportunities in Tucson,” said Marc Braden, managing partner of New York Life’s Tucson General Office.

“This tax credit program has enabled an incredible partnership,” said Christian Dallavis, director of the Notre Dame ACE Academies initiative. “It allows a major national company like New York Life to invest in a community it serves while making it possible for the Notre Dame ACE Academies to put more at-risk kids on the path to college.”

The Arizona tax credit initiative was one of several education reform initiatives discussed Wednesday, September 28, by the Notre Dame Forum Panel, “The Conversation: Developing the Schools Our Children Deserve.”  The Most Rev. Gerald Kicanas, bishop of Tucson and a panel participant, said, "I think it’s wonderful that New York Life, a company that is literally in the business of risk management, is creating opportunities for at-risk children.  In a very real way, this contribution is at the heart of both their mission and ours."

The Notre Dame ACE Academies in Tucson – St. John the Evangelist and Santa Cruz Schools – took in 90 new families this year, though Dallavis pointed out, “There are still more children who want to attend these schools, and there aren’t enough scholarships to go around.” Notre Dame is working to secure additional tax credit contributions from other corporations and insurance companies that do business in Arizona.

The Notre Dame ACE Academy initiative is a comprehensive school support program of the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), a Notre Dame-based movement that strengthens, sustains, and transforms Catholic K-12 schools around the country.

In the Fall of 2010, Bishop Kicanas invited Notre Dame to pioneer the Notre Dame ACE Academies model in Tucson.  At these schools, Notre Dame faculty and staff support teachers and principals in every dimension of schooling, from classroom instruction to resource management to leadership development.

More information about the Notre Dame ACE Academies can be found at Information about the Arizona tax credit program can be found at

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