St. Matthias Catholic Academy launches GoFundMe to save historic Ridgewood institution

St. Matthias Catholic Academy
St. Matthias Catholic Academy seeks funding amid a last-ditch effort to save the school.
Photo courtesy of St. Matthias Catholic Academy/GoFundMe

The St. Matthias Catholic Academy has launched a GoFundMe campaign seeking $1 million in donations in order to eliminate its debt and prevent it from closing this June.

Since learning last week of the school’s impending closure due to financial challenges, parents and faculty at St. Matthias have banded together in a unified effort to spread awareness of their cause and enroll 50 additional children within the next two weeks. Parents were told last week that by enrolling 50 children within that short timeframe, they may prevent the closure.

Faced with challenging odds as time to save the school dwindles, parents continue to hope that the Ridgewood community and other supporters will help keep the 114-year-old catholic academy alive.

The parents are also looking to raise funds, along with boosting student numbers. The GoFundMe page has brought in $16,310 from 79 donors since it began late last week, with school supporters spreading the campaign online through various social media platforms.

Furthermore, St. Matthias students were seen rallying by the school’s steps last Friday, looking to gain the attention of Ridgewood natives, chanting “Save our school” and holding crafted signage showing their school pride.

As news of the school’s closure spreads, local elected officials have come forward to show their support for St. Matthias.

Council Member Robert Holden, who represents parts of Ridgewood, penned a letter to the Diocese of Brooklyn—which oversees Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens— and the Board of Trustees at St. Matthias Catholic Academy on Tuesday, Apr. 23, urging them to explore all possible avenues to prevent the school’s closure.

Holden, in his letter, cites a wave of community concern that he says cannot be ignored.

“The role of parochial schools like St. Matthias in offering diverse school choice options is indispensable,” Holden writes. “These institutions support our shared mission of fostering strong, well-rounded individuals who are prepared to contribute positively to our society.”

The council member said he was devastated by the news St. Matthias is slated to close in June.

“As someone who personally benefited from Catholic education, I understand what the loss of such an institution means to our community,” Holden said in a statement. “Parochial schools are vital to the families in my district, and the Diocese must step up to save this school.”

Assemblymember Juan Ardila took to social media to help promote the school’s effort to remain open, noting that he spoke to school officials and parents about its likely closure at the Myrtle Avenue Spring Street Festival on Sunday.

St. Matthias has received six new enrollment applications since the campaign began, but is still aiming to achieve 50 students in total. A unique $1,000 credit is being awarded to families who enroll their children during this time, with additional financial assistance options available.

St. Matthias Catholic Academy is encouraging parents to inquire further about enrollment by calling (718) 381-8003 or sending an email at office@stmatthiasca.org. Potential applicants are also encouraged to contact the school through its website at www.stmatthiasca.org or send a message through Facebook or Instagram.