$1 Million Gift to Create the Christopher Ripp Early Learning Program

August 5, 2018 | Foundations in Education | Media Mentions

Peter and Barbara Ripp of Greenwich, lifelong supporters of Catholic education, directed $1 million to Foundations in Education to create the Christopher Ripp Early Learning Program, in memory of their son.

The gift will create a “wrap around” component to existing programs in pre-K3 and pre-K4 classes and provide three and four-year-olds with academic enrichment and remediation assistance. There will be after-school opportunities for children and programs for parents so that adults can receive guidance in their children’s education and a greater understanding of their faith.

The goals of the program are to assist parents as primary educators of their children by giving them tools to help nurture social, physical, emotional and academic growth in a faith-filled and family-centered learning community and to provide tuition assistance to children who want to attend the state readiness program or who wish to be enrolled in the parochial school pre-K3 and pre-K4 programs.

“Peter and Barbara are people of great faith with a strong commitment to Catholic education,” says Bishop Frank Caggiano. “Their gift will serve the youngest and most vulnerable children in our midst, through an early intervention program that will be piloted at St. Peter School in Danbury. It is my deeply held belief that this program will have a huge impact on the lives of the children and parents who enroll. It is a major piece of the transformation of our schools.”

Peter Ripp, the chief operating officer for NIC Holding Corporation, a petroleum services and trading company, commented, “Foundations has such an amazing vision, and they were willing to help us realize our hopes.”

“Barbara and I contribute our services and resources as we are able, because we believe that a life lived well is one that contributes as best it can to the good of others,” he added.

The Ripps are products of Catholic education. Barbara Ripp, who has spent much of her professional life teaching in underserved communities in early childhood education and later in child advocacy, emphasized the need for parental involvement. “We wanted a program that would engage parents and provide opportunities, so that once or twice a month they can come and be educated.”

Their son Christopher, who died at 26 after an illness, shared Barbara’s concern for the underserved. A graduate of Colby College in Maine with a degree in English, he became a social worker, serving people on the streets in San Francisco. The Christopher Ripp Early Learning Program serves as a legacy to his selfless commitment to others.