A Catholic, college-preparatory school, grades 7-12

Common Basket

BSM has implemented a new way to look at philanthropy. A program called The Common Basket is a well-rounded approach to giving, emphasizing a balance of sharing time, talent and treasure.

What is the historical connection? The theme stems from a historical reference of students in Christian Brothers’ original schools sharing bread with each other at school. While some students would have plenty of bread to bring for lunch when at school, others did not. Those who were able to place extra bread into baskets, which were discretely positioned in the back of a room, did so. In turn, others were encouraged to anonymously take from the basket, if they needed to do so.

Common-Basket-1.1.jpgHow is Common Basket implemented each school year? During the school’s opening Mass, Fr. Tim Wozniak blesses the baskets, using a blessing written by campus minister Mike Jeremiah. All those present symbolically place into baskets their talents that they offer to the school community. Then starting with Homecoming Mass, and at each of the following Masses, baskets are passed again, this time for financial offerings to support philanthropic endeavors.

**Latest Result: $2167 for Red Knights for Hope--a BSM student organization that is working to support Fountains of Hope. Fountains of Hope works in Haiti to help provide clean water purification systems to address the real world need of safe water. Watch a video.

Next Common Basket: TBA

Will participating in these offerings teach students about philanthropy? We certainly hope so, but beyond practicing philanthropy, students also learn more about the concept, overall. The BSM faith formation department has developed curriculum, specific for each of the theology classes. Also, each Common Basket collection is hosted by one of BSM’s major academic departments.
LisaCScover.jpgWhat is an example of a project? In the past, the math department selected Kiva, an online micro-lending organization that empowers individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs around the globe. BSM math teachers infused micro-lending lessons into the curriculum for each student to gain an understanding of this practice. After learning about Kiva, students were given an opportunity during Mass to make a donation toward this Common Basket project.

Where did we get the baskets used? The baskets that are used were brought back from Rwanda, where a couple of BSM teachers visited to study that country’s culture for curriculum enhancement. 

Do you have suggestions for Common Basket donation recipients? Complete our Recommendation Form and send it to Lisa Lenhart-Murphy at BSM.

Pictured Below: Elyse Vandersteen, October 2014, Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund



"With all the cultural pressures our students face, our hope is that the Common Basket program will give them a solid foundation for their values surrounding money."

      -Lisa Lenhart-Murphy
      BSM Service Coordinator

2014-2015 Projects:

  • Catholic Relief Services Nepal Project
  • Go Fund Me
  • Paddle to D.C. Boundary Waters Project
  • White Dove Foundation and School (Rwanda)
  • School of St. Jude (Tanzania) 
  • Light of Hope (Kenya)
  • Arlington Academy of Hope (Uganda) 
  • Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
  • Toys for Tots Foundation
  • American Brain Tumor Association

2013-2014 Projects:

  • Peruvian Partners (Peru)
  • Highway 100 Tragedy Relief
  • Disability Needs Foundation (Ghana)
  • Pull the Plug – Ministry Against the Death Penalty
  • Catholic Charities Disaster Relief (Philippines)

2012-2013 Projects:

  • "Team Steve" - as a part of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation's Race for Research
  • Catholic Charities USA for Storm Sandy
  • Adopt a Family Christmas Common Basket
  • Northside Life Care Center
  • Fountains of Hope

2011-2012 Projects:

  • Rwandan Water Pipeline
  • Burkina Faso Latrines
  • Jack Jablonski Fund 
  • Adopt-a-Family Christmas Common Basket
  • Soles 4 Souls
  • la Finca del Niño
  • Smile Network

2010-2011 Projects:

  • Kiva
  • Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos
  • Adopt a Family Christmas Common Basket
  • Tuition Assistance
  • Invisible Children
  • Brain Injury Association of MN
  • Catholic Relief Services (Japan Recovery)

2009-2010 Projects:

  • Kiva
  • Central Asia Institute
  • Adopt a Family Christmas Common Basket
  • Catholic Relief Services – Haiti Relief
  • Open Arms Orphanage – South Africa
  • BSM Tuition Assistance

2008-2009 Projects:

  • Feed My Starving Children
  • The Lost Boys of Sudan
  • BSM’s Tuition Assistance Program
  • Rushford, Minn. Food Shelves
  • BSM’s Christmas Basket Program 
  • Rwanda


2501 Highway 100 South, St. Louis Park, MN 55416     952-927-4176