Ignatian MinistriesCampus Ministry /  Great Ignatian Challenge

Great Ignatian Challenge

Seven Jesuit high schools from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania announced the launch of The Great Ignatian Challenge, an annual Thanksgiving food drive to raise awareness of hunger in our communities, collect food for our neighbors in need, and win money towards tuition assistance for our students in need thanks to a generous donor. Fordham Prep is proud to participate in the effort.

Now in its fourth year, the Great Ignatian Challenge, which derives its name from the 16th-century saint and founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius of Loyola, is a friendly but spirited competition that has distributed nearly 150 tons of food to local food banks and pantries – or enough to feed 74,000 people – since its inception. The Challenge runs from November 4 – 26, 2019.

In addition to Fordham Prep, the participating schools are Fairfield College Preparatory School (Fairfield, CT); Loyola School (Manhattan); Regis High School (Manhattan); Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School (Philadelphia, PA); Saint Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, NJ); and Xavier High School (Manhattan). 

Inspired by the students’ collective commitment to social justice, Jim Rowen ’82 has pledged up to $250,000 this year for tuition assistance at the participating schools. The donation will be divided among the schools based on the amount of food collected per student. Since the initiative launched in 2016, Mr. Rowen has contributed more than $1M to the effort. Rowen serves as chief operating officer at Renaissance Technologies, LLC, a New York-based registered investment adviser.

Mr. Rowen said, ”St. Ignatius taught us that love consists of sharing what we have and that it shows itself in deeds more than words.  Through the Great Ignatian Challenge these students are putting these words into action. I am so very proud and humbled to be part of this effort.”

Fordham Prep student Nick Valdes ’20 says, “Many of us take food for granted; shopping in supermarkets, having warm meals prepared for us or even frequently eating out. As members of the Fordham Prep community we are called to be men for others. Participating in the food drive is our opportunity to serve the common good and our local communities. Working together with other Jesuit schools we are fulfilling St. Ignatius Loyola’s call to us to be loving and willing to help others. It is our chance to make a change and bring forward an awareness to one of the top risks in the world, that being hunger.”

The food collected by Fordham Prep will be donated to local food charities including: Part of the Solution (POTS), Mercy Center, Concourse House, Our Lady of Assumption Food Pantry (Bronx) and Jeanne Jugan Residence.

A key component of a Jesuit education is caring for the wider community. Through service to the community, the students prepare for the day when they will participate in their world as competent, concerned and responsible members who are committed to social justice.


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