Human Flourishing

Children’s Jubilee Fund was established in 1997 a scholarship organization, specifically supporting lower-income students in and around Philadelphia who were unable to attend private Christian schools. But Jubilee is much more than merely a scholarship organization. We are a ministry dedicated to bringing God’s Kingdom into focus in the lives of the families and communities we serve. We are ambassadors of God’s grace, pointing people to the new hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ through offering them new opportunities to thrive.

Jubilee’s ambassadorial mission is built around ten core values, which we’ll explore one at a time in this blog series.  The first of these core values is human flourishing

Human flourishing can be described as “the fulfillment of God’s good purposes for human creatures and includes the dimensions of relationship with God, relationships with others, living a physically embodied and integrated life, and living out a particular vocation in a particular place and time.”[i]

Put another way, human flourishing is embodied in the biblical concept of shalom, of being whole—of prospering in ways consistent with God’s redemptive intent for creation. Jubilee works to accomplish human flourishing within the definition of our mission in three distinct ways: providing new academic opportunities, encouraging new social engagement, and lifting up Jesus Christ as Lord. Here’s how we do that.

Provide new academic opportunities. Jubilee was created in part to address the public education crisis in Philadelphia in the 1980s and 1990s. We knew that city-based students who had no educational options other than their neighborhood public schools would be disadvantaged from the start. Philadelphia public schools have historically struggled to meet system-wide educational performance goals. But the problem isn’t just in the past. Recent data spanning 2012-2019 showed that the School District of Philadelphia performance fell in more than half of its key performance indicators during that period.[ii] Jubilee Network Schools score consistently better than their public counterparts in key performance metrics, and have college matriculation rates of over 90%–nearly twice that of the Philadelphia public schools, which had a 48% matriculation rate, according to their most recent data.[iii]

Encourage new social engagement. Students model their behavior and values from the people around them. Here is an excerpt from a recent article in the Philadelphia Inquirer authored by Tony B. Watlington, Sr., Superintendent of the Philadelphia School District:

In recent years, the education sector has faced a variety of hurdles, beyond the increased stress, anxiety, and social-emotional challenges that emerged during the pandemic. Like other large cities, Philadelphia, home of the eighth-largest school district in the nation, has battled generational and systemic poverty and a continued rise in gun violence. It is hard to prepare our students — more than 80% of whom identify as students of color — to compete globally when they are facing societal barriers that impact their ability to learn and excel.[iv]

Jubilee provides opportunities for students to attend schools with lower student-teacher ratios so that children who need more specialized attention and emotional support can receive it. Our network schools have no-tolerance policies for bullying or violence. And, students are treated with the respect that they deserve because they are image-bearers of God. All these elements (and more) of a Christian school education provide a powerful testimony to students that they have dignity and can hope in a different future for themselves and their communities than they might otherwise face.

Lift up Jesus Christ as Lord. As Christian institutions, each of our network schools is committed to uphold and proclaim the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all areas of life. Our schools teach through their curricula from a Christian worldview, and students are encouraged to explore and embrace faith in Jesus. This alone has tremendous impact in the lives of not only our students, but their households and extended families as well. Some of our students will share their faith and make an impact in their families and communities for generations to come.

These are just some of the ways in which Jubilee pursues human flourishing for its students, schools, and communities. To learn more about the work of Children’s Jubilee Fund, visit our website.

Children’s Jubilee Fund depends upon the generous gifts of God’s people to fund the life-changing scholarships we provide. To make a tax-deductible gift of support, click here.

[i] Neil Messer, Human Flourishing: A Christian Theological Perspective,, last accessed 08/14/2023

[iii] Philadelphia School District website,, last accessed 08/14/2023

The Results Are In: Christian Education Pays Off!

Our work at Children’s Jubilee Fund has always been very focused. We provide tuition-assistance scholarships which enable low-income Philadelphia-area students to attend the K-12 Christian schools in our network. And we take the Christian school aspect of our mission seriously.

Why? Two reasons. First, we want our students to intentionally encounter Jesus.  We want them to get to know him and his people through being in our Christian schools. And as they get to know and build relationship with Jesus, they also get to experience the world through a Christian worldview—understanding creation, people, society, work, and relationships all through a distinctly Christian lens.

And second, we know that the education that our students receive in our network schools is typically a better quality education than they would receive in the public schools they’d otherwise attend. Because our network Christian school teachers and staff serve out of a sense of mission and love for their students, they offer intangible benefits that many public schools aren’t able to consistently provide.

What are those intangible benefits? Things like conflict resolution that moves toward repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation. An understanding and compassionate ear from teachers and staff when a student is discouraged. Extra, one-on-one assistance when a student needs help understanding a particular academic concept or skill. Encouragement to seek and rest in the Lord when hard things in life happen.

And prayer. Prayer throughout the school day, and prayer when hard things happen in or out of school.

We’ve seen the results since Jubilee began 25 years ago: 95% of Jubilee scholars graduate from high school (compared with 69% for Philadelphia public school students), and 90% of twelfth-grade Jubilee scholars enroll in post-secondary education (nearly half of Philadelphia public high schools have college enrollment rates lower than 60%).

But that isn’t the end of the story. This week, a New York Times opinion piece quantified the benefits of Christian faith to helping students succeed in school. A researcher from Tulane University looked at 3,290 American teens and their academic journeys. The results in this article are encouraging—students with a Christian faith typically had better grades in high school, and were more likely to complete high school and move on to college than their unbelieving peers.

These are the kinds of benefits we see in our network Christian schools, only we believe our results are even better than those reported in the Times piece.

Our ability to help Philadelphia-area students depends on the generosity of people who believe in our mission and are willing to support it through their financial gifts and prayer. Would you consider supporting Jubilee today and making a difference in a child’s life forever? Thank you!

Why Christian School?

The Christian school movement began in earnest in the United States in the late 1960s. Prior to that time Christian schools existed, primarily as educational ministries of particular churches or denominations. But starting around 50 years ago, the number of Christian schools blossomed—partly as a response to the secularization of the culture, and of many public school curricula.

I attended (for a time) a Christian school in the early 1970s: Redeemer Lutheran Day School in Northeast Philadelphia. (A quick note that for a time much later on, Redeemer Lutheran Day School was a member of the Children’s Jubilee Fund network.) My parents made the decision to send me to Christian School (and to pay the then-steep annual tuition of $600!) because they wanted me to learn in an environment that was friendly to the Gospel.

Going to Christian school, they reasoned, was one way to nurture my young faith. And they were right! It was in my classroom at Redeemer Lutheran Day School in 1974 that I first remember comprehending that I had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

That students would have a standing opportunity to come to faith (or to nurture a faith already present) is certainly a compelling reason to choose Christian school education over public. But it isn’t the only one.

Children’s Jubilee Fund was established in 1997 because Dr. Jim Petty and other visionaries wanted to provide a safe, stable environment for city-based students to receive an education. Around the time of Jubilee’s establishment, Philadelphia public schools suddenly faced new competition: charter schools. These publicly-funded, yet privately-run schools receive a share of taxpayer dollars dedicated to the education of all students in the district. This meant that Philadelphia public schools were effectively forced to cut spending, while still bearing the responsibility of educating Philadelphia students.

Additionally, state funding as a percentage of total public education spending in Pennsylvania declined by over one-third from 1975 through 2001. Consequently, the relative quality of education in some Philadelphia public schools began to decline. And history tells us that the schools that faced the most significant declines in performance tended to be in less-affluent, majority Black neighborhoods. Some of Philadelphia’s most at-risk students were being disadvantaged even further because their neighborhood schools were being starved of badly-needed resources.

Christian schools aren’t necessarily wealthier than their secular counterparts, but they tend to be better resourced in terms of additional staff care for students and their families. Christian school teachers and staffs often take additional time to help students work through learning challenges and personal barriers. Christian school staff is also generally able to provide spiritual comfort and support to students when learning proves a challenge. Instead of checking out and giving up, students are instead encouraged to persevere, and to turn to the Lord for hope and strength.

But there is more to the effective education paradigm than budgets, standardized test scores, and graduation rates. Social disruptions like crime, intimidation, bullying, and drug use frequently surface in schools and lead to some scholars feeling threatened or distracted. According to US Department of Justice statistics, violent and nonviolent incidents in US schools peaked in the mid-1990s. Though rates of nonviolent victimization have fallen dramatically since then, the incidence of violent victimization (threats of violence, assault, sexual assault) have fallen more moderately and still remain unacceptably high.

The incidence of violent acts (or threats of such acts) in schools has a direct correlation to decreased student attendance, lower student performance, and social anxiety among students. Christian schools attempt to avoid these consequences by providing a safe environment for all students to learn. Most Christian schools have lower student-staff ratios than their public counterparts and a commitment to a biblical code of conduct among students. As a result, the situations and underlying relational problems among students that often manifest in violent acts or threats are minimized. When they do occur, they’re addressed promptly, with the aim of addressing not only the behavior, but the underlying circumstantial and heart issues that led to the behavior in the first place. Christian schools generally exercise Christian discipleship all the time—which minimizes the need for formal discipline later on.

The schools in the Jubilee network represent an alternative to public and secular private institutions. Each of our network schools helps individual students achieve to their own particular academic and social potential. But our schools’ highest and most sacred priority is shaping the hearts and minds of their students to help them know Jesus Christ, and to reflect his character to the world around them.

Tim Geiger (M.Div.) is Executive Director of Children's Jubilee Fund. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Tim has lived in or around the city most of his life. His undergraduate studies done at the Community College of Philadelphia, Tim went on to earn a Master of Divinity Degree from Westminster Theological Seminary. He is ordained as a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America. Prior to serving at Children's Jubilee Fund, Tim worked for the Internal Revenue Service, The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, and Harvest USA, where he also served as Executive Director and then President from 2012-2019. Tim lives with his wife and daughter just outside of Philadelphia.

Children's Jubilee Fund is a 501(c)(3) organization established in 1997 to provide tuition grants to Christian schools in the Philadelphia metro area that serve lower-income students. These grants are then awarded by the schools as scholarships to students who meet income and residency guidelines. Each year, Jubilee provides hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants that, in turn, help hundreds of students in Philadelphia, Delaware, Montgomery, and Camden Counties achieve their God-given academic and personal potential. Children's Jubilee Fund is an entirely donor-supported organization.