2005-12-09 / Community

‘Big Blue Turtle’ Website Helps BC’s St. Virgilius School

Holiday Shopping Online Puts Money In The Budget Of Struggling Parish School
By Tori Toth

St. Virgilius school St. Virgilius school

  • ‘Tis the season for giving and that’s exactly what one St. Virgilius alumnus plans on doing – but he needs the community’s support to help raise money for the financially strapped Broad Channel school.
  • Matt Schilling, 23, graduated from St. Virgilius in 1996 and now owns BigBlueTurtle.com, an online company that acts as a liaison between users and advertisers.

    Schilling, along with his associates, plans on donating 50 percent of its commission from November through January to the school, which is a community cornerstone.

    “I was one of the few who went on to bigger and better things and feel that it’s my time to give something back to the community,” said Schilling.

    St. Virgilius was faced with closing its doors earlier this year due to low enrollment – that’s until a group of dedicated parents came up with a business plan to keep the school open and rallied support.

    “Both the church and school is a staple in our community we cannot function without them,” said Schilling.

    The alumnus is asking the community to pitch in one more time to raise money by logging onto his site and doing some holiday shopping online.

    The website links up thousands of users to some of the top name brand advertisers each week to provide a one-stop shopping atmosphere.

    Schilling’s goal, to raise $5,000, is “an effort to better the education of its students and the overall maintenance of the school.”

    Here’s how it works: Users can log onto BigBlueTurtle.com and click on an advertiser’s link to make a purchase. Users who make a purchase will receive a confirmation number. Schilling is asking users to then click on the “News & Notes” page, type “SVS Donation Purchase” in the subject line and fill out the e-mail form with their name, confirmation number, advertiser and subtotal. Users then click “OK” to send the information to Schilling so he can keep track of the donations. Once the commission is processed an e-mail will be sent to the user that reflects the donated amount credited to the fund.

    A copy of the step-by-step instructions is posted on the website. Schilling told The Wave he needs shoppers to follow the steps carefully to make sure their donations are processed correctly.

    One of the school’s Business Plan Committee members, Pete Mahon, who helped create the three to five year plan released back in March to keep St. Virgilius’s doors open said, the plan would most likely be “calling on alumni to make contributions.”

    Mahon told the Wave in February other components being considered in the plan were a tuition hike, bridging classes and adding attractive features such as an after school program, bus transportation, and incentive scholarships.

    The Wave learned earlier this year that St. Virgilius’ biggest obstacle lies in tuition revenue, which covers only about half of the school’s annual operating cost of about $700,000. Enrollment has seen a steep drop since the late 1990s.

    BigBlueTurtle.com is planning present the donation to St. Virgilius at the end of February, 2006.

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