Best-Ever Result Roars Past Previous Year Record of $1.3 Million

(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) – The Catholic Education Foundation of the Archdiocese of Louisville (the “Foundation”) today announced that its 32nd annual Salute to Catholic School Alumni Dinner (the “Salute”) established a historic new high in funds raised in support of its mission.

Held on the evening of March 15 in the Grand Ballroom of downtown Louisville’s Galt House Hotel, the Salute hosted a sell-out crowd of nearly 1,200 guests, continuing its tradition as a hallmark community event in the Commonwealth.

This year’s event soared to a historic record of $1.4 million in net proceeds, rocketing past the previous year record of $1.3 million. Foundation President Richard A. Lechleiter remarked, “From our humble beginnings in 1990, this incredible event is now lifting the hopes and dreams of thousands of young Catholic school students and their families through the life-changing gift of a Catholic education. We are truly humbled by this amazing result and thank God for its unprecedented success.”

All of 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. Last fall, the Foundation and its partners supported an all-time high 3,400 elementary students throughout the Archdiocese of Louisville’s 39 Catholic schools with a record $7 million in tuition assistance.

This record-breaking event was chaired by Mr. Joseph W. Dougherty, President of Louisville Paving & Construction Company. “The Dougherty Family and our family-owned company couldn’t be more proud to support the great works of the Catholic Education Foundation. Each day, this organization is working hard to transform the lives of thousands of young children right here in in our own community who need our help. As a Catholic school graduate, I am honored to pay forward that gift that so profoundly impacted my life.” 

The event also featured a keynote address by the Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D. D., Archbishop Emeritus of Louisville. Foundation Board Chair Charles J. Dahlem remarked, “As Archbishop Kurtz approaches his well-earned retirement, we at the Foundation owe him such a great debt of gratitude for his exemplary leadership and support of our mission over nearly 15 years. He has always encouraged us to do more for Catholic education – both in his words and in his deeds – and look at what’s happening! Without a doubt, Archbishop Kurtz has set this organization on a pathway that tells all of us that the best days for Catholic education in central Kentucky are ahead of us!”

Mr. Lechleiter noted that the organization’s home-grown slogan – “The Answer is YES!” – has become a mandate to assist every family who reaches out to the Foundation. “Thanks to our unrelenting donors, in each of the last seven years, every student who reached out to us – and qualified for tuition assistance – in fact earned an award. Every single one! What could be better for our young families and our community!”

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 2022 included: 

Claudia M. Coffey (Assumption High School) – Co-Host, Great Day Live, WHAS-11
Joseph “Jody” F. Demling, Jr. (Trinity High School) – Sports Media Professional
Deborah Akers Ford (Mercy Academy) – Chancellor, University of Wisconsin – Parkside
Stephen T. Hamilton, Sr. (St. Joseph School, Bardstown, KY) – Secretary and Treasurer, Nally & Hamilton Enterprises, Inc.
D. Hank Robinson (Saint Xavier High School) – Senior Vice President, Tax, Humana Inc. 
John A. Zoeller (Bishop David High School) – CEO & President, Zoeller Company

The Foundation also honored All Catholic School Teachers and Staff with its distinguished Community Service Award for their heroic dedication and service to their students during the health pandemic. The award was accepted by Dr. Mary Beth Bowling, Superintendent of Schools, on behalf of all teachers and staff in Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Louisville.  

Lisa A. Lauder, a teacher at St. Gabriel School in Louisville, received the 2022 Father Joseph McGee Award as the outstanding Catholic school educator in the Archdiocese of Louisville. 

Archbishop Kurtz remarked, “We are deeply grateful to our entire central Kentucky community for their enormous generosity toward 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. Indeed, “The Answer is YES!”

For the first time in the event’s history, Louisville-based ISCO Industries served as the Presenting Sponsor of the event with an investment of $75,000. Mr. James J. Kirchdorfer, ISCO’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, noted, “My brother Mark and I are thrilled that our company could serve as the Presenting Sponsor of this prestigious event. Here at ISCO, many of our team members are Catholic school graduates and we think it makes so much sense to invest in one of our community’s greatest treasures – Catholic education!”

Major benefactors of this year’s Salute, each of whom contributed from $25,000 to $50,000, include Fifth Third Bank of Kentucky (founding benefactor); Norton Healthcare; AirHydro Power; Brown–Forman Corporation; The Bufford Family Foundation; D3 Foundation; Dahlem; Joseph and Sherry Dougherty; David and Cathy Durik; The Galt House Hotel; The Glenview Trust Company; David and Jennie Heintzman; Bill and Patty Kantlehner; The Kramer Family; Joe and Kelly Landenwich; Sarah and John Lechleiter; Bill and Michelle Mudd; Allan and Bunny Parnell; The Ramsey Family; Karen and Hank Robinson; The Sautel Family; SCJ Fiduciary Services; Len and Susan Spalding; Brad and Charlotte Stengel; Stock Yards Bank and Trust Co.; the Daniel C. Ulmer Family; 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 $46 million in support of Catholic education.  Visit the Foundation at www.ceflou.org.