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It's time to renew Catholic Education in America.

Catholic School Playbook is a project of the Ortner Family Foundation. Founded by Mike and Liz Ortner, the mission of the Ortner Family Foundation is to serve the Catholic Church, the classical/liberal education movement, and other endeavors that lead to human flourishing. The Foundation considers the intersection of two or all three of these areas to be ideal. It specializes in supporting new and entrepreneurial initiatives.

The Ortner Family Foundation is passionately committed to renewing Catholic education. We understand that strengthening Catholic schools requires more than the reform of religion classes; it requires the revitalization of all aspects of Catholic education, as well as the rejection of harmful secular influences. 

The Foundation plays a unique role in this renewal, serving as an investor, connector, and advisor of leading initiatives to: 

  1. Promote and popularize the vision for reform, 

  2. Inspire and train school leaders and teachers, 

  3. Strengthen excellent schools and education programs, and 

  4. Advance school choice and other public policy initiatives that protect and increase access to Catholic schools.​

[M]an cannot be fully understood without Christ. Or rather, man is incapable of understanding himself fully without Christ. He cannot understand who he is, nor what his true dignity is, nor what his vocation is, nor what his final end is. He cannot understand any of this without Christ. 


We generally do not give grants directly to K-12 schools. There are two main reasons for this. First, per the principle of subsidiarity, local communities should support local schools so school leaders will be accountable to the families and community members they serve. Second, the Foundation’s goal is to renew Catholic education, not to save struggling schools. The distinction is important because often a lack of resources is not the main reason a school fails to thrive. While we are open to supporting thriving schools that advance our mission, we are careful not to divert funds away from more effective renewal efforts.


The Foundation launched Catholic School Playbook to help schools adopt best practices to improve in all areas. We began by interviewing leaders of successful Catholic schools to find out what they do differently than struggling schools. We compiled our findings and published them online so they can be accessed by anyone interested in strengthening Catholic schools, including: 


  • Parents embarking on an education journey with their children

  • Educators eager to be a part of a renewal at their school

  • School leaders motivated to strengthen all aspects of their school, and especially to grow enrollment and restore the Catholicity of their school

  • Pastors, superintendents, and board members committed to serving school families


Catholic School Playbook is an ongoing project. To better serve school families and the Catholic Church, we will continue to interview leaders of thriving schools and update this site with our findings. Our goal is to help all people entrusted with the education and formation of God’s children fulfill their duty to provide an authentically Catholic education to the young people in their care.


If you know of a thriving Catholic school that should be a part of this project, please tell us. We are grateful for the help of educators at the forefront of the renewal movement! 

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