Seven Catholic schools have 250,000 reasons to be thankful because of Jim Rowen.
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The former Wall Street executive and chief operating officer of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies is re-upping the Great Ignatian Challenge, where schools collect and distribute food to those in need around Thanksgiving and the following holidays.
The mogul will donate a total of $250,000 to be split among the competitors.
The school that gathers the most food per capita, adjusted for the size of the student population, will win $100,000 that must be put toward educational scholarships, and the remaining schools will split $150,000. No school will get less than $20,000.
This year’s winner hasn’t yet been named but the competing schools include New York’s Fordham Prep, Loyola School, Regis High School and Xavier High School; New Jersey’s St. Peter’s Prep; Connecticut’s Fairfield Prep; and Philadelphia’s St. Joseph’s Prep.
In a tweet last year, Fordham said students collected nearly 36,000 food items.
“They beat their goal of 26,000 donations!” the school wrote on Twitter. “Over 7,000 local families will enjoy a holiday meal thanks to the Prep's generosity! #MenForOthers”
Each school has a food pantry that accepts donations, according to a report in the New York Post. And Rowen said he’s looking to collect between 60 tons and 65 tons of food stuffs.
“We are just taking a traditional food drive and changing the structure of it,” he said.
His challenge is an attempt "to channel that type of energy to help the schools benefit the community,” he added.
During the last three years, the contest collected 150 tons of food, which is enough to feed 74,000 people.