‘Salute’ event nets record $1.3 million

The latest Salute to Catholic School Alumni fundraiser raised a record $1.3 million to assist families who seek to provide a Catholic education for their children.

The 31st annual fundraiser, hosted by the Catholic Education Foundation, aired live on “WAVE Country with Dawne Gee” March 24.

During the telecast, Richard A. Lechleiter, president of the CEF, noted that the organization’s slogan — “The Answer is YES!” — has become a “mandate to assist every family in need.”

“Thanks entirely to our ever-generous donors, every single student who reached out to us and qualified for tuition assistance in fact earned an award — for the sixth year in a row!”

All the funds from the Salute are used to provide tuition assistance to families who cannot afford the full cost of a Catholic elementary education for their children. The Archdiocese of Louisville sponsors 39 Catholic elementary schools in central Kentucky with a total student enrollment of 11,800.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, honorary co-chair of the event, expressed gratitude to Ken Selvaggi, vice president and general manager of WAVE 3, Dawne Gee and the entire team at WAVE 3 News. He also thanked the central Kentucky community for their “enormous generosity.”

“This ever-increasing support will enable us to help thousands of families provide the gift of a Catholic education to their children. The unique Catholic school experience that connects faith, family and learning truly provides an education that lasts a lifetime,” he said.

The broadcast featured six distinguished honorees: Elizabeth C. Arnett (Presentation Academy); Father Joseph T. Graffis (St. Thomas Seminary); James J. Kirchdorfer, Jr. (St. Xavier High School); F. Loueva Moss (St. Monica School); L. Russell Read (Trinity High School); and Laura M. Schwab (Sacred Heart Academy).

In addition, Randall J. Bufford, founder and chairman of the board of Trilogy Health Services, received the foundation’s distinguished Community Service Award. Dr. Lisa C. Wieland, an English teacher at Assumption High School, was recognized with the Father Joseph McGee Outstanding Catholic Educator Award.

The slate of honorees is the same as last year since the 2020 in-person event was abruptly canceled due to the pandemic. The 2020 event was held virtually, but still raised a record $1.25 million.

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