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Common Basket

BSM has a unique way of teaching and encouraging philanthropy among students. Called the Common Basket, this program ensures a well-rounded approach to giving, emphasizing a balance of sharing time, talent and treasure.

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 '86

Common Basket is a well-rounded approach to philanthropy, emphasizing a balance of sharing time, talent and treasure. The theme for Common Basket stems from the historical reference of students in Christian Brothers schools sharing bread with each other at school.  Those who had extra bread to share were encouraged to give to the common basket at the back of the classroom. Those who needed bread could discreetly take from the basket. Our modern day Common Basket program gives current students and alums a chance to teach the student body about a local, national or international justice issue while giving them an opportunity to discern their role of giving.

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The theme stems from a historical reference of students in Christian Brothers’ original schools sharing bread with each other at school.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.

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.

What 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? 
Please complete our Recommendation Form below.


Give to the Common Basket

Your generous contributions play a vital role in supporting various local, national, or international justice issues.