Ambassador's Fund for Catholic Education
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Foundation for Catholic Education
West Chester, Pa.
Grant: $250,000; Funded 2020-21
The coronavirus pandemic arrived as families were coming into the final stretch of the school year and completing their re-enrollment in 71 Catholic elementary schools spread across the four Philadelphia suburbs. Many of these families found themselves in unfamiliar territory — sick with the illness itself, or suffering a loss of employment, or experiencing a loss of personal business. Most of these same families found themselves in additional unfamiliar territory — needing financial assistance, many for the first time, to meet their 2020-21 tuition obligation.
Establish a special one-year emergency tuition relief fund that offers financial aid grants to qualified families with students enrolled in thriving suburban schools. Design an efficient funding model and process so these families can work through their financial hardships while maintaining the Catholic education they value for their children. Reserve these funds for families in schools that have exhibited a healthy enrollment, strong leadership, and long-term financial sustainability.
Parents of students enrolled in 23 suburban Catholic elementary schools are receiving unexpected tuition assistance as the schools reopened this fall. The Foundation for Catholic Education (FCE) manages the entire process from application through funds distribution in conjunction with the school principals. A total of 155 tuition assistance grants ranging from $500 to $2,500 were awarded to qualified applicants. The infusion of one-time funding into a thriving school for families struggling with financial setbacks will only continue to make the school and families stronger.
“I lost my job in June because of COVID-19, and my family was unsure how we would be able to send our sons to Catholic school, your financial aid is making it possible for our boys to continue” … “Our girls are so happy to be back in the school they love” … “this grant was a big help for my family.”
Sample Parent & Student Comments
©2021 Ambassador's Fund for Catholic Education
Member and Director
Most Rev. Nelson J. Pérez was appointed 14th Bishop and 10th Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by Pope Francis on January 23, 2020 following more than two years as Bishop of the Diocese of Cleveland. Born in Miami, Florida (1961), Archbishop Pérez was raised in West New York, New Jersey, and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Montclair State University (1983). He entered Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, where he earned master of divinity (1988) and master of arts in theology (1989) degrees. Archbishop Pérez was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on May 20, 1989 and was assigned parochial vicar of Saint Ambrose Parish where he was stationed for five years. He concurrently served as assistant director of the Office for Hispanic Catholics (1990-93) before serving as the founding director of the Institute for Evangelization (1993-2002). He was named Chaplain to His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, with the title of Monsignor in 1998. His service in the Philadelphia archdiocese through 2012 included pastor of two parishes a faculty member at both Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary and LaSalle University. He taught courses in psychology, religious studies, and developmental psychology for more than 15 years. In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI named him a Prelate of Honor. Three years later, Pope Benedict appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Center, New York, where he served as Episcopal Vicar for the Eastern Vicariate overseeing 36 parishes. He also had administrative responsibility for Hispanic Ministry, formation programs, and ecclesial movements in 54 parishes. He participated in or led multiple archdiocesan councils, committees, and boards before his appointment to the Cleveland archdiocese in 2017. As a member of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Pérez serves on several committees and chairs the Bishops’ Standing Committee on Cultural Diversity. In November 2018, he began a three-year term as the bishop liaison for the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM). Rooted in Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation “The Joy of the Gospel,” #24, Archbishop Pérez’s pastoral vision can be summarized as: “Church on Mission: Proactive, Involved, Supportive, Fruitful, and Joyful.”
Member and Director
Matthew H. McCloskey IV is president of the McCloskey Financial Group. A civil engineer by education and early career, Matt entered the financial services profession with a regional firm in 1969. He later formed the McCloskey Financial Group, which prides itself as “faithful stewards of family wealth.” Matt is currently the president of the Ambassador’s Fund for Catholic Education, following his grandfather and father, and also serves as treasurer of the Martin de Porres Foundation, also established and funded by his grandfather. He served as president of Serra International in 1984-85. He is a Knight Commander in the Order of St. Gregory the Great and, in 2018, was honored with the Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice. Matt is a graduate of Waldron Academy, St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, and the University of Notre Dame. Matt and Donna, married since 1963, are parents of of six adult children and grandparents of 17 grandchildren. He and Donna live in Bryn Mawr and are members of St. John Vianney Parish, and in Vero Beach, Florida, where they are members of Holy Cross Parish.
Member & Director
Andrew McCloskey is chief investment officer of the McCloskey Financial Group. He earned a bachelor’s degree in government from the University of Notre Dame in 1992. Andrew serves on the board of the James A. Finnegan Foundation and is a member of the Board of Governors of both St. Joseph’s Preparatory School and Philadelphia Country Club. Andrew also was a member of the Waldron Mercy Academy board, serving as chair from 2011 to 2015. In June 2020, together with their families, Andrew and Jennifer Watts were married at St. Thomas of Villanova, where they are parishioners. They reside in Haverford and are proud parents of five children/stepchildren.
Auxiliary Bishop of Philadelphia
Member and Director
Most Reverend Michael J. Fitzgerald is Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia since 2010 and Vicar for Catholic Education. Bishop Fitzgerald earned a bachelor’s degree from Temple University in 1970, a law degree from Villanova University in 1973, and a master of divinity degree from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 1980, the year he was ordained. He was ordained a bishop on August 6, 2010. Bishop Fitzgerald is also a canon lawyer, awarded his degree by the Catholic University of America, and earned a doctorate degree in law from the Gregorian Institute in Rome. Bishop Fitzgerald has served the Archdiocese of Philadelphia as a judge of the Metropolitan Tribunal, as the founding director of the Office for Legal Services, and in the roles of Promoter of Justice and Judicial Vicar.
An active member of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for more than 30 years, Jorge Ignacio Fernández was named a four-year Charter Member of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council by Archbishop Charles Chaput. He has performed extensive evangelization and social services work in his native Cuba since 1998, when he returned to his homeland with Pope John Paul II (St. John Paul), and later with Pope Benedict VI in 2012 and Pope Francis in 2015. Jorge Ignacio is the retired president of Estée Lauder Group (NYC) and continues as an international advisor and investor. He is a founder and executive producer of La Santa Misa TV Mass — which is filmed monthly at the Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul — established in 2007 and now on UNIVISION. He has been member of the Serra Club of Philadelphia for several years and now serving as its president since March 2021; the Hispanic Outreach Committee of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary; the Pastoral Council and Hispanic Outreach Committee of his Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish (Buckingham, Pa.); and the committee for the annual Philadelphia Archdiocese Hispanic Heritage Mass. Jorge Ignacio is a Charter Member of the national Catholic Association of Latino Leaders and is involved in the expansion of Hispanic ministries within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He is also active in immigration reform at the local, state, and national levels. Jorge Ignacio and his wife, Pamela, have three grown children and live in Bucks County.
Marc Fisher has served the church faithfully for many years in various capacities. Before his appointment as chief financial officer for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in June 2019, he served as director of the Office for Audit Services (2011-2012) and director of the Office for Parish Services and Support (2012-2019). In those roles, he led a team that provided oversight and services to 216 parishes and more than 100 affiliated parish schools throughout the five-county region. He led the design and implementation of standardized financial control policies for all archdiocesan parishes, with a focus on payroll, accounting software, and cloud-based financial reporting. In addition, he played a key role in balancing archdiocesan budgets and helping to reduce archdiocesan debt. Marc is a graduate of De Sales University. Earlier in his career, he served as a Certified Public Accountant in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. A member and past president of the St. Joseph’s Preparatory School Father’s Club, Marc also serves as treasurer of the school’s wrestling team.
James Gallagher is a founding advisor-teacher with the School District of Philadelphia at Vaux Big Picture High School. He served as principal of West Catholic Preparatory High School and has taught at the Lingelbach Elementary School, the Young Scholars Charter School, and at St. Joseph’s University as an instructor in elementary education. Additional professional experience includes business analyst, marketing and sales director, and account executive with marketing and communications firms. Jim is a graduate of Kutztown University and earned a master’s degree in education from Temple University, as well as multiple teacher certifications. Jim and his wife, Elizabeth, who is the associate director of academics with the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACESJU) at St. Joseph’s University, are the parents of two girls and two boys, students at St. Louis University, St. Joseph’s Prep, and Merion Mercy Academy. They are members of St. Margaret Parish in Narberth.
Charles Ladner is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Columbia University (MBA), and Villanova University (M.A.). He retired from UGI Corp. as chief financial officer in 1998 and from John Hancock Mutual Funds in 2010, where he served on the board for 31 years and as chairman from 2002 to 2006. Chuck is chairman emeritus of Dunwoody Village retirement community in Newtown Square. The parents of four adult children and nine grandchildren, Chuck and Diane are members of St. Monica Parish in Berwyn.
David Magee has worked for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia since 1983 and has spent more 25 years devoted to Catholic education. As Chief Financial Officer, Dr. Magee is responsible for the accounting, reporting, and budgetary functions of the Office of Catholic Education, the 17 archdiocesan high schools, and the four schools of special education. His responsibilities also include tuition management, investments, facilities management, procurement and contracts, and benefits administration. During his tenure, OCE built two new high schools after a hiatus of more than 25 years and helped manage the first-ever capital campaign for the schools, resulting in an endowment that now totals more than $45 million for their operations and maintenance. The schools now operate without parish subsidies, which were in excess of $15 million annually in 1994. Dr. Magee received the distinguished graduate award from Incarnation of Our Lord School in 2012. He received the Ratio Studiorum Award from St. Joseph’s University in January 2019 for exceptional leadership in collaborative efforts to transform Catholic education and ensure it for future generations. He earned a doctorate degree in educational leadership from Immaculata University and an M.B.A. from LaSalle University.
Ann Menna is deputy secretary, Office for Catechetical Formation, with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. She earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at Gwynedd Mercy University and a master’s degree in religious studies from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. Ann served as director of elementary religious education for the archdiocese before moving into her current position in catechetical formation, which fosters and supports the catechetical initiatives of the archdiocesan Catholic schools, parish religious education programs, and Catholic campus ministry. Ann serves on the Archdiocesan Religious Education Council, and she chairs the Pennsylvania Conference of Catechetical Leadership. She is a member of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary Admissions Board as well as a board member of the Martin de Porres Foundation and Nativity of Our Lord Elementary School (Warminster). She was bestowed Papal Honors in 2019 as Dame in the Order of St. Sylvester. Ann received the Gwynedd Mercy Distinguished Alumni Award, the 2019 World Mission Ambassador Award, and Paul VI Award for Catechetics, and she is a member of the Archbishop Wood High School Hall of Fame. Ann and Frank are the parents of four adult children and grandparents to five grandchildren. They are members of Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Doylestown.
Brian McCloskey is the director of financial aid at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, where he also coaches rugby. Brian earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Fairfield University in 2005. He serves on the board of Drexel Neumann Academy in Chester, Pa., and of Camp Tecumseh in Center Harbor, New Hampshire. Brian and Maridel, also a Fairfield graduate, are parents of four girls and one boy ranging in age from 17 to 8, attending St. Joseph’s Prep, Academy of Notre Dame de Namur, and their parish school, Ss. Colman-John Neumann in Bryn Mawr.
Sean McCloskey is director of business development for Envative, an experienced mobile app, IoT, custom software, and web development company. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Richmond in 2003. Sean serves on the board of Guadalupe Family Services in Camden, New Jersey, an organization that delivers counseling and social services to troubled families. He spent six happy years on the alumni board of the University of Richmond, serving two consecutive terms that ended in 2019. Sean lives in Wayne and is a member of St. Thomas of Villanova Parish.
Ryan Neff is a risk assurance associate in the Philadelphia office of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. He is a graduate of St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, where he was a member of the National Honor Society and played varsity lacrosse and ice hockey. He continued his education at Boston College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and information systems in 2018 and captained the varsity lacrosse team. He also was a student teacher at the Collaborative for Educational Services, a correctional facility located in Dorchester. Ryan is a member of St. Thomas of Villanova Parish. He is a great-great-grandson of Fund founder Matthew H. McCloskey, Jr., and serves on the Fund board with his grandfather and three uncles.