Press Release
March 28, 2019

Contact: Richard A. Lechleiter



Astonishing Result Roars Past Previous Year Record of $1 Million

 Foundation Sets Sites on $2 Million Event Goal in Years Ahead

 Work Continues to Grow Catholic Elementary School Enrollments

(LOUISVILLE, Ky.) – The Catholic Education Foundation of the Archdiocese of Louisville (the “Foundation”) today announced that its 29th 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 27 in the Grand Ballroom of downtown Louisville’s Galt House Hotel, the Salute hosted a sell-out crowd of nearly 1,700 guests, continuing its tradition as a hallmark community event in the Commonwealth.

This year’s event soared to a historic record of $1,125,000 in net proceeds, rocketing past the previous year record of $1,000,000. Foundation President Richard A. Lechleiter remarked, “Who would have ever dreamed that this event 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 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. The Archdiocese of Louisville sponsors 40 Catholic elementary schools in central Kentucky with aggregate student enrollments of 13,100.

This highly successful event was co-chaired by the Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, Archbishop of Louisville, and Mr. William E. Mudd, President and Chief Operating Officer of Churchill Downs Incorporated.

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. During the event, Mr. Lechleiter announced that the Foundation will seek to raise $2,000,000 from the event in the years ahead to further accelerate its impact on Catholic school students and their families. He also noted that the organization’s slogan – “The Answer is YES!” – has become a mandate to assist every family who reaches out to the Foundation. “Thanks to our ever-generous donors, in each of the last four years, every single student who reached out to us – and qualified for tuition assistance – in fact earned an award. 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 2019 included: Monica Beam Bohn (Mercy Academy); Jeffrey S. Brohm (Trinity High School); Reverend Thomas E. Gentile (Saint Xavier High School); R. Kenyon Meyer (Saint Xavier High School); Victoria Imorde Weber (Assumption High School); and Thomas A. Wimsett (St. Catherine Academy, New Haven, Kentucky).

In addition, Dr. William J. Rothwell, Past Vice President at the University of Louisville, received the Foundation’s distinguished Community Service Award.  Ms. Anne C. Bahr, an instructor at St. Martha School in Louisville, was recognized as the outstanding educator in the Archdiocese through the Father Joseph McGee Award.

Archbishop Kurtz remarked, “We are so deeply thankful 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!”

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; Air Hydro Power; Brandeis Machinery and Supply Company; Brown-Forman Corporation; Caldwell Tanks; The Galt House Hotel; LG&E and KU Foundation; Stengel-Hill Architecture; the Abell Family; The Bufford Family Foundation; Joe and Sherry Dougherty; David and Cathy Durik; the Steve and Kathy Ford Family; David and Jennie Heintzman; Dan and Lisa Jones; the Kramer Family; John and Sarah Lechleiter; Paul and Maureen Lechleiter; Neil and Anne Ramsey; Len and Susan Spalding; Brad and Charlotte Stengel; the Daniel C. Ulmer Family; Tom and Rhonda Wimsett; and the Richard and Janice Lechleiter Family.