The idea for Seeds of Hope was developed after the closure of St. Joseph Catholic School in 1993. St. Joseph Catholic School, in central Denver, struggled for years to keep its doors open in a primarily low-income neighborhood and the school and parish communities were devastated when the school eventually closed. As a result, several business and community leaders came together and committed themselves to helping struggling Catholic schools in low-income neighborhoods survive. In 1996, Seeds of Hope was formally created to help low-income families in and around the inner city of Denver afford Catholic education for their children.
One of the founders of Seeds of Hope was Sister LaVonne Guidoni, a sister from the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. She was well known as an educator with a passion for her profession and was a tireless advocate for Catholic education. Known to go door-to-door to ask for funds, Sister LaVonne dedicated years of her life to raising millions of dollars so that any child with a desire to attend Catholic school could have the opportunity. Prior to the founding of Seeds of Hope, a consortium of inner-city schools was created to pool resources, ensure no child was turned away for lack of tuition, and help save schools in the inner city. The consortium, called Schools in Urban Neighborhoods (S.U.N. schools), was created in 1987. When Seeds of Hope was created nine years later, the S.U.N. schools became the organization’s primary focus along with others. They included Annunciation, Assumption, Guardian Angels, St. Bernadette, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Francis de Sales, St. Rose of Lima, St. Therese, and Sts. Peter and Paul.
In 2016, as part of an overall strategic Archdiocesan vision for school sustainability, planning began to expand the Seeds of Hope mission. By late 2017, the expansion made Seeds of Hope scholarships available to all 34 Archdiocese of Denver K-8 Catholic schools. With this movement to make schools sustainable, Seeds of Hope was asked to implement the Archdiocese's new Variable Tuition Program, in which families are asked to pay a tuition rate based on their individual financial information.
By offering assistance to all schools in the Archdiocese, Seeds of Hope honors its founders' intent and can more fully realize its mission to keep Catholic schools open and provide families with the support they need to send their students to these life-changing institutions.