Astonishing Result Roars Past Previous Year Record of $1.25 Million

In a Pandemic, Community Support More Resounding Than Ever – “The Answer is YES!”

(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) – The Catholic Education Foundation of the Archdiocese of Louisville (the “Foundation”) today announced that its 31st annual Salute to Catholic School Alumni fundraising event (the “Salute”) established a historic new high in funds raised in support of its mission.

Aired live on “WAVE Country with Dawne Gee” yesterday afternoon, the Salute was seen by thousands of local viewers and continued its tradition as a hallmark community event in the Commonwealth.

This year’s event soared to a historic record of $1.3 million in net proceeds, rocketing past the previous year record of $1.25 million. Foundation President Richard A. Lechleiter remarked, “Who would have ever dreamed that a virtual event in the midst of a health pandemic would raise so much to brighten the futures of so many families! We are truly humbled by this amazing result and thank God for its unprecedented success.”

All the funds from the Salute will be 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 aggregate student enrollments of 11,800.

The event’s astounding financial result will allow more students and their families to access a Catholic elementary school journey that they cannot otherwise afford by themselves. Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D., Archbishop of Louisville and the annual Honorary Co-Chair of the event, commented, “I want to express my sincere thanks to Ken Selvaggi, Dawne Gee and the entire team at WAVE 3 News for producing this incredible event.  You have truly enhanced the lives of so many families in our community whose hopes and dreams of a Catholic education are dependent on the success of the Salute fundraising event.”

During the telecast, Mr. Lechleiter 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!”

The Salute also was highlighted by its recognition of six distinguished honorees whose success in life was nurtured by their Catholic education. The Salute Class of 2021 included: Elizabeth C. Arnett (Presentation Academy); Reverent Joseph T. Graffis (Saint Thomas Seminary); James J. Kirchdorfer, Jr. (Saint Xavier High School); F. Loueva Moss (Saint Monica School); L. Russell Read (Trinity High School); and Laura M. Schwab (Sacred Heart Academy).

In addition, Mr. 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 instructor at Assumption High School, was recognized as the outstanding educator in the Archdiocese through the prestigious Father Joseph McGee Award.

Archbishop Kurtz remarked, “We are so deeply thankful to our entire central Kentucky community for their enormous generosity to the mission of the Foundation. 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. In a year when so many faced uncertainly in their lives, I am proud to say once again, “The Answer is YES!” at the Catholic Education Foundation!”

Major benefactors of this year’s Salute, each of whom contributed $25,000 or more, include Fifth Third Bank of Kentucky (founding benefactor); Norton Healthcare; Brown-Forman Corporation; The Bufford Family Foundation; The D3 Foundation; Joseph and Sherry Dougherty; David & Cathy Durik; The Steve and Kathy Ford Family; The Glenview Trust Company; David and Jennie Heintzman; ISCO Industries; The Kramer Family; The Landenwich Family; Sarah and John Lechleiter; The Mackin Family Foundation; Manna, Inc.; Bill and Michelle Mudd; The Ott Family Foundation; Neil and Anne Ramsey; SCJ Fiduciary Services; Len and Susan Spalding; Brad and Charlotte Stengel; The Daniel C. Ulmer Family; The Varga Family; WAVE 3 News; Willis Klein; Tom and Rhonda Wimsett; and the Richard and Janice Lechleiter Family.

About the Catholic Education Foundation

For over 200 years, Catholic schools have contributed significantly to the social, spiritual and economic fabric of our entire community. The Catholic Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization dedicated to the growth and vitality of Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Louisville. Since 1999, the Foundation has awarded over $42 million in support of Catholic education. 

The Foundation and its funding partners – the Archdiocese of Louisville, the 39 Catholic elementary schools and Community Catholic Center – currently support an all-time high 3,350 Catholic elementary school students in central Kentucky through tuition assistance awards aggregating a record-tying $6.5 million. Visit the Foundation at www.ceflou.org.