By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
The 1,100 people who attended the 10th annual “Salute to THE GAME Luncheon” Sept. 28 at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville, were among the first to hear about the Catholic Education Foundation’s (CEF) newest endowment.
“The Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D. Scholarship Fund,” honors the archbishop for his service to the church, broader community and his contributions to the “growth and vitality” of Catholic education, said Richard A. Lechleiter, president of the CEF.
Archbishop Kurtz celebrated his 10th anniversary as leader of the Archdiocese of Louisville Aug. 15. Under his leadership, tuition assistance for Catholic school students has grown significantly.
The luncheon, one of two major CEF events that raise funds for tuition assistance, preceded the well-known St. Xavier-Trinity high school football game. The event netted a record-breaking $375,000, which is an increase from last year when the event raised $330,000.
Proceeds from the luncheon will benefit the CEF and its work to help families afford a Catholic education for their children.
The new endowment will do that, too.
The CEF aims to raise $2 million for “The Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D. Scholarship Fund.” The foundation has already received commitments totaling $600,000, said Lechleiter.
The new fund will “continue to propel young families into Catholic schools for years to come,” Lechleiter said.
In a press release from the CEF, the archbishop said that he’s “humbled” by the new endowment fund.
“I want to extend my deep thanks to the foundation and its board of directors for the life-changing work they do each day for so many families across the archdiocese,” said the archbishop. “I am so humbled by the formation of this new endowment fund which will provide in perpetuity meaningful financial support to the education of young children who need our help the most.”
Lechleiter said in the release that the Catholic Elementary School Plan — a joint initiative of the archdiocese, its parishes and the CEF launched in 2014 — “dramatically expanded access to Catholic education across Central Kentucky.”
That expansion was possible, he said, because of the archbishop’s leadership. The CEF and its funding partners are supporting 3,000 Catholic school students — more than double the number aided three years ago.
“Archbishop Kurtz gives us the confidence to say to our families in need, ‘the answer is yes,’ ” said Lechleiter.
Donations to “The Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D. Scholarship Fund” may be sent to the Catholic Education Foundation, 401 West Main St., Ste. 806, Louisville, Ky., 40202. Online donations may be made by visiting www.ceflou.org.