When I joined the Catholic Education Foundation in April 2014, I didn’t have a grand vision or a strategic plan to guide our course. The only thing I knew for sure was the life-changing gift of the Catholic education that my parents gave to me and my eight siblings. It was time to repay the debt that I owed to them by somehow providing that same gift to others who could not afford its full cost.
From our humble beginnings, who would have ever figured that five years later…
— General unrestricted fundraising in fiscal 2019 would hit an all-time high $1.64 million, more than six times the $247,000 we raised in 2014!
— Our two annual fundraising events — the Salute to THE GAME luncheon and our Salute to Catholic School Alumni dinner — would go off the charts, rising from $813,000 in 2014 to an astounding all-time high $1.56 million in 2019, an increase of 91%!
— Most importantly, our impact would expand like we never dreamed, with a record 3,100 students earning elementary tuition assistance awards last fall aggregating $6.4 million —more than double the 1,331 students assisted in 2014.
Only through God’s grace has this amazing journey produced so much good for so many families.
While we are so grateful for all this unprecedented success, there are some very important questions that we should all consider.
Who’s going to be student #3,101 in need of our help when school starts this fall? Who’s going to be student #203 at St. Rita School in Okolona? Or #137 at John Paul II Academy in Buechel? Or #154 at St. Andrew Academy in Pleasure Ridge Park? Who’s going to be student #147 at St. Joseph School in Bardstown? Or #44 at St. Catherine Academy in New Haven?
Each of us has a role to play in providing the answer. At the foundation, we think about the answer in this way. The first inning ran for five years. Through His Divine Providence, the second will run longer and the score will be far higher.
Indeed, “THE ANSWER IS YES!!”
May God bless you all for your unending devotion and kindness to the great mission of the Catholic Education Foundation of Louisville!
Richard A. Lechleiter is the president of the Catholic Education Foundation.