In the current era of online marketing where people surf the Internet for information on products and services, not having a website, or having one that is static and not dynamic, can be a problem. But, thanks to a partnership between the Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, 27 inner-city Catholic elementary schools now have professionally-produced websites — and soon, that number will increase by seven, for a total of 34 schools.“It’s definitely making an impact,” said Maurna Desmond, program officer for the Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation.In planning for the Doheny Foundation’s annual breakfast for 49 inner-city Catholic school principals two years ago, Desmond was shocked to discover that 10 of the schools had no websites. And those that did had often been created by school staff using generic templates. To help address this situation, Desmond got approval from the Doheny board to finance the creation of a master template designed specifically for Catholic schools. The website design company, Lane+Lane, was chosen for the project, using St. Cecilia as the pilot school. St. Cecilia’s website,, was successfully launched in July of last year, sparking Phase 1 of a 10-school website project. The Doheny Foundation collected content from the schools for the websites, and a photo-shoot was held at all the schools to provide photography specific to each school. All of the websites have fully mirrored Spanish language sites.Within six months of funding, the following schools had customized websites: Resurrection, St. Columbkille, St. Eugene, St. Frances X. Cabrini and St. Lawrence Brindisi, L.A.; Epiphany, South El Monte; Holy Innocents and St. Anthony, Long Beach; Sacred Heart, Lincoln Heights; and St. John Chrysostom, Inglewood.The Hilton Foundation learned about the website development program and invited the Doheny Foundation to apply for a grant. In 2011, the Hilton Foundation funded a $200,000 grant to expand the program to 16 additional schools: Ascension, Dolores Mission, Holy Name of Jesus, Immaculate Conception, Mother of Sorrows, Nativity, Our Lady of the Rosary of Talpa, St. Aloysius Gonzaga, St. Ignatius, St. Mary, St. Michael, St. Odilia, St. Paul and St. Raphael in Los Angeles; Saints Peter and Paul in Wilmington; and St. Anne in Santa Monica. Websites for another seven Catholic elementary schools in Los Angeles are currently being designed for Divine Saviour, Our Lady of Guadalupe (Hammel), San Miguel, St. Agnes, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Malachy and Santa Teresita. Additional schools have also expressed interest in participating in the program.According to Brad Myers, program officer at the Hilton Foundation, the website development program has identified a need for ongoing training for school principals in the use of WordPress, the technology behind the easy-to-use websites. He noted that plans are in the works to provide this training as well as technical assistance to maximize the impact of their websites.“Our new website is a great tool to showcase our community and mission and how we serve our children,” said Ann Stacy, development director at Our Lady of the Rosary of Talpa in Los Angeles. Belinda Pantaleon, vice principal, added that she thinks it has helped boost enrollment as some new school families used the website to apply online.Barbara Curtis, principal at St. Raphael School in Los Angeles, agreed that the website and online marketing efforts are beginning to boost enrollment at her school, which enrolled 308 students this year compared to last year’s 278.“I think it’s the wave of the future — a combination of boosting enrollment, keeping enrollment and attracting donors,” said Curtis. She noted that a prospective foundation donor recently told her she was able to learn so much about the school by perusing the new website. “Our parents have found it very useful,” said Karla Briceno, development director at St. Columbkille in Los Angeles. “We’ve recruited three new families who were impressed with the website. Parents have commented on how beautiful it is and how proud they are.“We’re so grateful that Doheny did this,” she added. “It’s the first time we’ve ever had a website that looked so good. To the outside community, it maybe gives us more credibility.”{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2012/0914/website/{/gallery}