Holy Family Foundation

Our foundation was established in 1991, but the real story starts in 1980 and 1981 when funding woes caused Des Moines' inner-city Catholic schools (Visitation, St. John Basilica, and St. Peter) to merge into one, named Holy Family School. But even that dramatic change wasn't sufficient and in 1991, Holy Family School was slated to close after maintenance costs and teacher salaries could not be met through tuition and parish support. Fr. Tom Pfeffer, then pastor at Visitation Church, found the idea of shutting down Holy Family School as intolerable. He and some like-minded friends reached out to the larger Des Moines community for help, and the Holy Family School Foundation was formed.

By then, All Saints and St. Ambrose had also merged into Holy Family, which was operating out of two buildings, not an efficient way to run a school. So in 1998, our foundation accepted its first major challenge -- raising $3 million to expand and remodel the Visitation building, putting all of our children under one roof, and establishing an endowment. Since then, the demographics of our inner-city students have changed so rapidly that the foundation accepted a second challenge in 2003 -- raising $2.3 million to provide an endowment that guarantees this school will serve our children.