In 1995, parish elementary school teachers in Philadelphia asserted that budget constrictions most often impacted their art and music programs. The Foundation responded by establishing the Connelly Access Program (CAP). Designed to supplement schools’ core curricula, CAP connects selected cultural organizations with an enthusiastic audience of participating Catholic elementary school students.
The Connelly Access Program provides cultural educational experiences for Philadelphia parish, regional, and mission elementary school students in grades 4-8. The 45 schools in the current CAP program have been divided into two groups in order that each school might experience CAP on a three-year rotating basis. During 2016-17 twenty-three schools are matched with twenty-two cultural organizations so that each participating school will receive:
- Live performances at concert halls and theatres; visits to museums, historic and scientific venues (2 field trips annually during the school’s rotation)
- Unique cultural programming provided at their own schools (2 in-house assemblies annually during the school’s rotation)
- In-depth cultural residency program over a 6-10 week period at the school (1 residency per school during the school's rotation)
- Coverage of entrance fees, assemblies, residency programs and transportation costs
An additional significant benefit of CAP is the opportunity to direct financial support to high-quality cultural organizations and institutions in the Philadelphia region.
To date CAP has provided more than 2,200 field trips, 1,300 assemblies and 40 residencies (begun 2011-12 school year).