One-Half of New Tuition Assistance Fund to Benefit Students in

Need at Saint James School in Louisville’s Highlands Neighborhood


(Louisville, Ky.) – The Catholic Education Foundation of Louisville (the “Foundation”) and Saint James Catholic School today jointly announced that Sarah and John Lechleiter plan to donate $10 million to establish a new tuition assistance endowment fund for Catholic elementary school families across central Kentucky, one-half of which will be dedicated to helping families in need at Saint James School in central Louisville.


Foundation President Richard A. Lechleiter remarked, “This truly amazing gift represents a huge leap forward in our plans to provide a Catholic elementary education to more and more deserving students each year. When fully funded, the new fund will provide $400,000 to $500,000 annually in new tuition assistance funding – forever! How God-blessed is this organization by Sarah and John’s generosity!


Saint James School holds a special place in the Lechleiter family history, with John’s late father, John Howard Lechleiter, a proud member of the Class of 1942. Founded in 1906 in Louisville’s Highlands neighborhood, the school has produced an array of community leaders in business, government, the professions, education, religion, and not-for-profit organizations throughout its rich history.


Today, the school’s students come from many parts of the community, including Louisville’s West End and Portland neighborhoods. Saint James is the Foundation’s fourth highest-funded school, with approximately 90% of the students receiving aggregate tuition assistance of over $350,000 annually. John Lechleiter noted, “It’s important to Sarah and me that the unique mission of Saint James School continues. The new $5 million fund dedicated to the school and its students in need will help ensure that families can send their children to the school with joy and confidence in its future!”


The other half of the new $10 million fund will provide tuition assistance to students in need across the Archdiocese of Louisville. The administration of the new fund, including the investment management and annual allocation of student awards, will be managed by the Foundation.


The Most Reverend Shelton J. Fabre, Archbishop of Louisville and Foundation Board Vice Chair, reflected with gratitude on the new endowment fund. “This is a major breakthrough in the Foundation’s strategic plan to expand its impact and perpetuate its mission! How blessed are we to have such generous benefactors as Sarah and John – both Louisville Catholic school graduates who share their blessings with others.”


Foundation Board Chair Todd A. Klimek commented, “Gifts like Sarah’s and John’s give great hope to thousands of families in need who only dream of a Catholic education for their children. As we look forward, this gift will turn that dream into their reality. Indeed – like never before – at the Catholic Education Foundation of Louisville, “The Answer is YES!”


Both raised in Louisville, Sarah and John attended Catholic elementary schools and went on to graduate from Sacred Heart Academy and Saint Xavier High School, respectively. Their family has resided in Indianapolis since 1979, where John spent a 37-year career with Eli Lilly and Company, retiring as its Chief Executive Officer in 2016 and its Board Chair in 2017. Today, they enjoy spending time with their three children and nine grandchildren.


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 $56 million in support of Catholic education. Visit the Foundation at