Following a very successful Salute to THE GAME Luncheon, which netted a record $260,000 for the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF) on Sept. 30, the foundation received another record-breaking gift this month.
The Brandeis Machinery & Supply Company has donated $200,000, the largest single donation given by a business to the foundation, said Richard A. Lechleiter, president of the CEF.
The funds are to be used exclusively for tuition assistance for families that can’t afford the full cost of Catholic schools.
“This gift sends a very strong signal across the community to other businesses of what Catholic schools mean to the workforce,” Lechleiter said in a phone interview last week.
Charles H. Leis, vice chairman and chief executive officer for Brandeis, said in a news release that many Brandeis employees are Catholic school graduates and are “major contributors to the success of our business.”
“This gift is an expression of our appreciation of Catholic schools and their impact on the business community,” said Leis, who has been a CEF board member for a number of years. “We hope that it will prompt other organizations to reflect on how they too have benefited from Catholic schools and inspire similar support for those who need financial assistance.”
The donation, which will be paid over a five-year period, will aid more than 20 students each year, Lechleiter said.
He also said that he’s confident the gift will spur other local businesses to consider a similar donation.
“The most significant part of the Brandeis gift is their leadership in encouraging others to do the same,” Lechleiter said. “I think we will see growth beyond this gift from other businesses in the community who recognize the benefit of our schools.”
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz said he was “grateful” to Leis and everyone at Brandeis for “this meaningful gift.”
“The Brandeis organization’s recognition and appreciation of the value that our schools bring to the community is indeed a reminder to all of us of our obligation to expand the Catholic school experience to more families who want this life-long gift for their children,” the archbishop said in the news release.
For the 2015-16 school year, the CEF aided 2,400 of the 13,300 students in Catholic elementary schools — nearly one in five students — Lechleiter said. That’s an increase from the one in nine students the foundation assisted in the previous academic year.
“We think, in a year’s time, we’ve created a lot of demand because of the increased funding. We think there will be even more demand in the spring,” he said.
That’s why, Lechleiter said, multi-year gifts such as the one from Brandeis Machinery & Supply Company are so important.
“We intend to add 1,000 kids (to Catholic schools) in the next four years. These kinds of gifts certainly help,” he added.