Better the places we live. Create opportunities for growth. Put people first. Since the foundation of Choice Financial, these have been fundamental core values that inspire our work, both inside and outside the bank. We are excited to share how these values align in an incredible partnership with Light of Christ Catholic Schools in Bismarck.
The story starts in 2015, when Light of Christ Catholic Schools unveiled plans for the largest expansion project in its 138 years of existence. Inspired by rising interest in Catholic education — this past year saw a 7% increase for Light of Christ schools — Dr. Ron and Ruth Knutson and their family donated nearly 48 acres of land to provide a new home for St. Mary’s Central High School. The project is set to break ground in 2017 and will be located just north of 57th Street and east of Washington Street in Bismarck.
Choice Financial recognized this as an opportunity to create growth, to better the place we live, and to invest in the state where we have been rooted for decades. This is why we are giving $2 million to build the Choice Financial Business Center at the site of the new school.
“Our shared core values of putting people first and bettering the places we live and serve is what brings us together today for this partnership,” said Brian L. Johnson, CEO of Choice Financial. “We look forward to helping provide students and families a world-class learning environment in the Choice Financial Business Center, and to provide tuition assistance for families.”
Light of Christ Catholic Schools has one of the state’s most active Future Business Leaders of America chapters in the state with 50 members. The new center will serve as the home for all of the business-centered academics and related activities at the school, and a financial literacy program for all Light of Christ students, grades K-12.
The center will also serve as the home for a strong entrepreneurial education focus at the school. Thanks to the donation of a food truck, students will be get to operate a food truck at local events, a hands-on (and fun!) way to learn business management skills.
In addition to building a new school, the current high school/middle school on Second Street will be converted to a full middle school academy housing grades 6-8. Upgrades have been made, and will continue to be made to the current schools serving pre-school and elementary grade students.
“One focus with Light of Christ Catholic Schools is to help our students carry their knowledge and faith beyond the classroom walls,” said Gerald Vetter, President of Light of Christ Catholic Schools. “The overwhelming support we are receiving for this effort is an answer to a great deal of prayer and will serve as a blessing to our students, families and community for years to come.”
What we’re most excited to announce is that 50% of our partnership donation will go towards tuition assistance. It is our hope that every family can have access to the education they feel is best for their children.
We are making a financial investment in students and in our community. But our people first values will not allow us to stop there. We are compelled to and committed to sending our experts into the school to volunteer and teach kids about the importance of financial literacy and responsibility. Sharing skills and values with these students is an investment in their future that goes beyond a simple donation. We hope we can help foster a generation of financially intelligent and capable individuals.
Together, we believe we can make an impact to better the place we live, and create opportunities for growth in every community.