Over $1.3 Million Raised at Annual Gala

April 27, 2023 | Foundations in Education | General Media Mentions News

“I cannot express the impact donors have made in my life, and how allowing me to continue my Catholic education has helped me form into a scholar and a faithful disciple,” said Daniella, an eighth grade student at Greenwich Catholic School and student speaker at Foundations in Education’s annual gala on April 27.

Foundations in Education hosted their annual fundraiser “Let there be bright!” and honored Ned and Cindy Lautenbach and the Lautenbach Family Foundation and Helen Burland, Executive Director of St. Catherine Center for Special Needs in Fairfield.

Daniella was the featured student speaker, who shared her own personal experience with over 220 guests gathered in person for the premiere fundraising event that supports Catholic education across Fairfield County.

“I can say that having the blessing and opportunity to have a Catholic education has changed my life for the better. I am forever thankful for the generosity of Foundations in Education donors who continue to make this possible for me. Catholic education provides this insight to children, uplifts us, allows us to reach our full potential and strive to be as Jesus was when he walked on this Earth.”

The gala committee, chaired by Jennifer and Christopher St. Victor-de Pinho, worked tirelessly for months to plan an exciting and bright event to celebrate and to raise visibility and support for Foundations in Education (FIE), and its mission to strengthen and transform the mission of Catholic education in the Diocese of Bridgeport.

Many of our Diocesan schools participated by creating table centerpiece decorations, which were auctioned off later that evening.

FIE surpassed the fundraising goal, raising over $1.3 million and raising support for a record-breaking 108 Leaders of Tomorrow. Proceeds support FIE and most notably the Bishop’s Scholarship Fund tuition assistance, which strives to make Catholic education more affordable for families.

Guests enjoyed a gourmet meal and a lively program including a live auction and a “raise the paddle,” led by Bobby D. of Inspire Hearts Fundraising, to support student scholarships, all while reconnecting, enjoying each other’s company and supporting a great cause. The event also included an awards presentation of distinguished contributors to Catholic education.

The generosity of our sponsors made for a hugely successful event, including Paula & Tom McInerney and the McInerney Family Foundation, Barbara & Brad Evans, Fairfield University, Jon & Mary Rather, Peter & Barbara Ripp, Chris & Lorraine Wilson, Mitchells, Mutual of America, Geoffrey & Jill Raker, Roton Point Capital, Chris & Jen St. Victor-de Pinho, Michael & Rebecca Shea, Susan Carroll, Michael DeFlorio, Edgewood Capital Advisors LLC, H.I.G. Capital, Ned & Cindy Lautenbach, M&T Bank, Denis & Britta Nayden, and St. Thomas More Parish.

The 2023 Gala Honorees included:

  • Helen Burland, St. Catherine Center for Special Needs Executive Director, for her recognition of excellence in education.
  • Ned & Cindy Lautenbach and The Lautenbach Family Foundation for their extraordinary philanthropy and personal commitment to Catholic education.

“Our honorees give of themselves all while embodying Christ’s love in action,” shared Holly Doherty-Lemoine, FIE Executive Director. “We are delighted to celebrate them through this event.”

FIE is thankful to the many “Let there be bright!” Gala supporters, whose continued investment in the future leaders and lights of the world make all the difference. Thanks to all who help transform so many lives.

If you wish to contribute to Foundations in Education or choose to learn more about how you may get involved with the work of Foundations in Education, please call Emily Carriero at 203.416.1671.