FIRE’s Origins

See what we’re FIREd up about.

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 $5 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.


Your Support Changes Children’s Lives


There is a very important spiritual dimension to what we are doing. Jesus did not discriminate. And that is our teaching, the message of the gospel: that everyone made in His image and likeness should be treated fairly, given the same opportunities and become one in the family of God.
– Bishop Emeritus Raymond Boland


Not all Catholic schools have the resources needed to welcome students with special needs. In fact, a majority are not able to do so. Thanks to generous support from people like you, our schools are able to welcome students who need extra support to learn and thrive. Thanks to the vision of FIRE’s founders and amazing educators at our schools 237 students with significant special needs will learn alongside their peers at 14 schools during the 2018-19 school year. Another 513 students will benefit from the support they receive from trained para-professionals. In all, the lives of 5,256 students at FIRE partner schools will be enriched by the blessings of inclusive learning.

For more information on Inclusive Catholic Education, please contact us.