By Ruby Thomas, Record Staff Writer
The Catholic Education Foundation (CEF) has announced a $500,000 challenge grant from Daniel C. Ulmer Jr. and family.
The new Ulmer Scholarship Fund will award $2,500 scholarships to 40 incoming kindergarten students. The scholarships will be available to students attending any Catholic elementary school in the Archdiocese of Louisville, beginning in August. Each student’s scholarship is renewable through the eighth-grade as long as the family continues to qualify for financial assistance, according to a statement from the CEF.
Ulmer, a local businessman and philanthropist, said in the statement that Catholic education is a gift, one that he and members of his family received. He wants to provide that same opportunity for others, he said.
“Catholic schools have provided important values to me and my extended family,” Ulmer said. “We are excited to help make these valuable opportunities available to others who also can benefit from this wonderful tradition.”
He noted that the gift to the CEF is a token of his gratitude and reflects what Catholic education has meant in his life.
The CEF has pledged to double the value of the Ulmer donation over the next two years by raising $500,000 from new donors and increased donations from existing donors, according to the statement. If the challenge is met, the Ulmer gift would become one of the largest gifts in the foundation’s history.
Richard Lechleiter, president of the CEF, said that the Ulmer donation is an added incentive for the CEF to continue its work to help families.
“This historic gift will give new confidence to families to invest in their children’s Catholic education knowing that we will be there for them year after year,” said Lechleiter. “We are deeply grateful for Dan Ulmer’s advocacy for the future of Catholic education.”
Lechleiter noted that efforts to raise the matching $500,000 have already begun.
Lechleiter also said in the statement that families who qualify for the Ulmer scholarship may also qualify for additional tuition assistance from the CEF and from its partners that help provide tuition assistance.
The CEF and its partners — the Archdiocese of Louisville, Catholic elementary schools, School Choice Scholarships of Kentucky and Community Catholic Center — are currently providing tuition assistance to more than 2,400 Catholic elementary school students in Central Kentucky.
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz said in the statement that the community is “blessed” by Ulmer’s “amazing generosity.”
“Thanks to Dan Ulmer and his family, we will reach out and provide assistance to 40 more kindergarten students and provide each of these families a guarantee of our support all the way through the eighth-grade,” said the archbishop. “What a unique way to show our commitment to families throughout their entire elementary school journey.”
David Calzi, the CEF’s board chairman, noted that the Ulmer family has a history of supporting Catholic education, including Catholic school teachers.
Since 2004, the Ulmer family has annually given one teacher from each Archdiocese of Louisville Catholic school a $1,000 award and a work of art.
“Now directing their focus on our young families, who may need tuition assistance throughout their school experience, the Ulmer family will be a major contributor to the future growth of our Catholic school enrollments in Central Kentucky,” said Calzi.
Since 1999, the CEF has awarded more than $22 million in support of Catholic education. A little more than a year ago, the CEF and the archdiocese announced plans to double the amount of tuition assistance awarded to families.
For more information, visit www.ceflou.org.