THOMAS/A gift that will keep on giving

THOMAS/A gift that will keep on giving


Admit it. Unless you received a big-ticket item for Christmas last year – such as a car – you likely have forgotten what was under your tree.

Most gifts wear out, break, or are given or thrown away at some point. What if you could give a gift that would literally keep on giving and continue to influence the lives of others for generations to come? Would that be worth more than material stuff?

Such an opportunity exists through the Children’s Scholarship Fund (CSF), which has been helping especially low-income parents have a choice and children a chance to have a better education and a better life.

I am a regular contributor to CSF and have seen the difference it has made in the lives of children, many of whom were locked in failing public schools thanks to certain politicians and teachers unions that oppose school choice for strictly political reasons, while some hypocritically send their kids to private schools. Illinois recently and cynically refused to continue funding a popular school choice program in the state that was benefiting 9,600 low-income kids. It expires Dec. 31.

CSF is showing positive results. President and CEO Darla Romfo says during just the current academic year scholarships are being provided to 33,945 students nationwide.

In New York City alone, CSF is providing scholarships to more than 7,000 children this year. They are attending more than 200 low-tuition private independent and faith-based schools in all five city boroughs.

The graduation rate for scholarship recipients beats those from public schools. Romfo notes 96.2 percent of CSF alumni in New York report graduating high school on time. I would argue they likely receive a better education than the 83.7 percent of public school graduates.

With the exception of Illinois, school choice is sweeping the nation. Just this year 10 states expanded or passed new Education Savings Accounts (ESA) programs, allowing money to follow a child to a private school, home school, or microschool, or to be used for education expenses such as tutoring.

Letters from grateful parents are heartwarming.

Here are just two of hundreds: Amanda, the mother of CSF Scholar Matthew, wrote this: “When Matthew and I talk about how much we appreciate this award, I use the opportunity to remind him that as a recipient, we are grateful that he will be offered the opportunities to reach his full potential. But most importantly, I remind him that one day … he will be able to help someone else and make a difference and an investment in their – and our – collective futures.”

And this from Laticia, who wrote to tell about her daughter, Laya: “I would like to say thank you for believing in my daughter and giving her an opportunity for a better chance at life. We will not let you down. … It means the world to our family.”

What gift could mean more to the receiver and the giver than this? Having the opportunity to change a life for the better now and for many years into the future beats anything you can buy in a store or online that will soon be gone and forgotten. Check them out at

Readers may email Cal Thomas at Look for Cal Thomas’ latest book “A Watchman in the Night: What I've Seen Over 50 Years Reporting on America" (HumanixBooks).

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