Years of FIRE
KC Partner Schools
Invested to Support Inclusion
$ 4.73 M
FIRE Foundation anniversary video
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FIRE Foundation: 25 Years of Igniting Inclusive Catholic Education


Every dollar raised through this campaign - up to $50,000 - will be matched by a generous friend of FIRE.

Will you help us turn $50k into $100 grand?

Our History

FIRE was founded in 1996 by a group of parents who shared a common dream; for their children with special needs to attend their parish schools with siblings and friends. Since that time, through the efforts of parents, a dedicated board of directors, many talented volunteers and community members who embrace inclusive Catholic education, more than $6 million has been granted to partner schools in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph (MO) to support inclusive Catholic education.

The FIRE Foundation, an independent 501(c)3 organization, makes it possible for partner Catholic schools to hire special educators and paraprofessionals and to acquire learning materials and technology that create successful learning experiences for all children.

Without grants from FIRE, most schools would not be able to welcome students with Down syndrome, significant learning disabilities, many who are on the Autism spectrum and students who face other special learning challenges. In inclusive learning environments, children grow up knowing and appreciating each other’s unique gifts.

FIRE opens doors.
And hearts.

Lack of resources is often cited as a reason for turning away students with disabilities.

Can you imagine the heartache of being told your parish school was not able or willing to welcome your child with special needs? Lack of resources is often cited as a reason for turning away students with disabilities. It shouldn’t be that way at Catholic schools. In the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, the FIRE Foundation helps schools create learning environments where students with special needs learn, grow and Thrive alongside their typically developing peers.
Students with significant disabilities learning alongside their peers with staff support
Students that benefit from available special education support
Amount of student lives enriched by inclusive education

Since 1996 FIRE has invested over $6.7 Million in student success

"Build an educational relationship with each student, who must feel welcomed and loved for what he or she is, with all of the limitations or potential.”

—Pope Francis

FIRE is investing over $800,000 in Catholic schools in our Diocese through grants, scholarships and a Speech-Language / Occupational Therapy program during the 2023-24 school year. In some schools this supports up to 60% of inclusive programming.

It is a blessing and a privilege to partner with Catholic schools that are committed to embracing the call to serve all learners.