By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
Renee Doty, principal of Pitt Academy, said her mind is still blown by the $1 million surprise gift given to the school by Kosair Charities April 11.
Doty and representatives of three other schools — which also received a $1 million each — found out about the gift during a meeting at the Sam Swope Kosair Charities Center on Eastern Parkway April 11.
“There are lots of dreams floating around right now,” said Doty during an interview on the school’s campus April 17. “It’s a godsend. It removes some of the monetary stress and suddenly you can focus on serving the families and students.”
The three other schools receiving $1 million gifts are Summit Academy of Greater Louisville, Meredith-Dunn School and Portland Christian School.
Kosair Charities, whose mission is to help children in need by providing funding for research, clinical services, health education and care, has supported Pitt Academy in the past, too.
Pitt Academy, which serves children with special needs in kindergarten through 12th-grade, purchased four acres of land and the former Westport Christian Church building, at 7515 Westport Road in 2014, with the help of a $250,000 grant from Kosair Charities.
The school has grown since the move, said Doty, serving 73 students this school year, up from 54 students in 2015.
The funds from Kosair Charities — which will be given out in $250,000 portions over the next four years — will help the school continue, Doty said.
“We want to be good stewards of this blessing,” she said, noting the school has already received the first part of the donation.
Kevin Massey, a parent who also serves as president of the school’s board, attended the meeting where the gift was revealed. “Words cannot describe how grateful we are for the work of Kosair Charities,” said Massey.
Jerry Ward, who is the chairman of Kosair Charities’ board, said in an interview April 13 that this $1 million gift honors the work Pitt does “with special-needs children in the community.”
Pitt Academy, he said, does a “remarkable job.” “We’ve been impressed with the work they do to change children’s lives.”
He also noted that Pitt Academy had been “good stewards” of the funds Kosair Charities has donated in the past.
Ward added that this is an “unrestricted gift,” which Pitt Academy can use “in anyway they see fit.”
Before the gift announcement, Doty said the school’s board of directors had already approved a post-graduate program that will help older students continue to learn life skills and assist them with job placement.
The board has also been looking at the possibility of expanding, since the school has reached its maximum capacity, she said.
Doty, tears welling up in her eyes, said this gift will create a “ripple effect.” She said she hopes the people at Kosair Charities realize what a “lasting impact it will have on the kids and their families.”
Jennifer Scoggan, the school’s director of curriculum and grants, said Pitt’s students receive specialized instruction.
She noted that the classes are small, with just eight to 12 students each.
In addition to academic instruction, she said, students receive training in life skills, such as doing laundry, cleaning and operating equipment in the kitchen and preparing simple meals.