Teamwork and talent ensure help for kids in need

by Michael Morrisey

It is hard to believe, but when you read this article the new school year will have been in session for six weeks.

As the school year starts anew, so does our Catholic Education Foundation’s fiscal year.

So, to get this fiscal year started off on the right foot, I want to introduce you to the CEF staff.

Last year, the CEF’s traditional scholarship program provided funds totaling more than $1.3 million for 1,492 students at 20 schools. This year, CEF will award more than $1.4 million for more than 1,500 students at 21 schools. Funding for these scholarships come from 14 revenue streams, including grants from foundations and donations from more than 1,000 individuals.

CEF’s website, social media channels and newsletters are designed to share the impact of those 1,500-plus scholarships with the community that makes them possible. Erica Kratofil, grants and marketing manager, helps relay those stories through CEF’s print and digital communications. Erica, who has been with CEF for five years, also oversees the grant funding stream for CEF.

Laurel Sharpe joined the CEF team in January. As director of events, she works with all event sponsors and donors while facilitating and managing the planning and execution of all CEF fundraising events.

CEF’s signature event, Gaudeamus, has sold out for the past two years and has made The Independent journal’s list of top events in Kansas City for five years in a row, coming in at number three this year! CEF Futures Art Event at the Boulevard Brewery has sold out for the past four years. Both of these events combined provide over $1 million in scholarships annually for children facing poverty in our community to attend Catholic school.

We look forward to adding a third event to our lineup in the coming year.

In January 2015, CEF expanded its mission by becoming a registered Scholarship Granting Organization for the Kansas Tax Credit for Low-Income Students Scholarship Program.

Adrienne Runnebaum joined CEF in March 2015 as the director of tax credits. She oversees the management of the program, including donor development and strategic planning. Susie Evans joined the team in January as the tax credit process manager. She provides support to our principals and families on program policies, application processes and scholarship management.

Last year, 99 students attended 12 of our Catholic schools with the support of CEF tax credit scholarships. We will award a new group of students this year as well. Every day, we strive to make a Catholic education possible for those in need and look forward to our continued work with this school choice initiative.

I am very proud of this group and what they are doing to help kids in poverty attend our Catholic schools!

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