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Connelly Access Program

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. Participating schools engage in experiences with select cultural organizations to enjoy:


  • Live performances at concert halls and theatres; visits to museums, historic and scientific venues
  • Unique cultural programming provided at their own schools via in-house assemblies or workshops
  • Coverage of entrance fees, assemblies, 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.

CAP 2021-22 Modified Approach

Given the impact of COVID-19 on school operations and student programming over the past year and a half, the Connelly Foundation recognizes the strong need for engaging cultural experiences for students during the current school year. The Foundation has therefore determined to take the unprecedented action to expand CAP to 119 total schools for the 2021-22 academic year, including all Archdiocesan elementary schools in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs, all Independence Mission Schools, and three independent Catholic elementary schools. Students at these 119 schools will benefit from CAP this year by participating in virtual, in-person and hybrid programs that enrich their school experience.