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placeholder March 18, 2013   •   VOL. 51, NO. 6   •   Oakland, CA
Donors are the heart of FACE

Peter Boero says he is blessed to see the fruits of FACE — Family Aid - Catholic Education — every time he goes to work. As advancement director at Saint Mary's College High School, he knows that some of the young people on the Berkeley campus have been assisted by the organization, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this spring.


Spring Gala

Family Aid — Catholic Education

April 13, 5:30-10 p.m.

Scott's Seafood Restaurant, 2 Broadway Jack London Square, Oakland

Tickets: $150 per person; $1,800 for table for eight

Raffle tickets: $50 each.
Prize is $5,000.

Information and tickets:

FACE by the numbers

For the 2012-13 year 549
students received FACE grants:

• 256 elementary school pupils

• 293 high school students
Elementary grants are $1,750 per pupil

• High school grants are $3,050 per student

He can't help but consider the impact FACE has had not only on the students and their families, but on the vibrancy of campus life. Knowing that the FACE recipients at the high school most likely have been aided since kindergarten, he sometimes wonders "who wouldn't be who they are today" without FACE.

Peter and Linda Boero have been longtime supporters of FACE, with Peter having served terms on the FACE board.

FACE's single focus appeals to the Boeros — "You give to FACE. It's going to tuition assistance. It's going to help a family send their kid to Catholic school. You know you're making an impact on a child and a family."

FACE supporters will gather April 13 at Scott's Seafood in Jack London Square for the annual spring gala, where the evening of friendship, food, wine and auctions benefits tuition assistance programs for low-income families to send their children to Catholic school in the Oakland diocese.

The gala-goers will hear from students who have benefited from FACE grants over the years. In its 35 years, FACE has helped more than 20,000 students attend Catholic school. The success of FACE graduates is one of the program's hallmarks. In 2011, 100 percent of the 58 high school seniors who were receiving FACE assistance graduated from high school. More than 98 percent went on to college.

In addition to the 549 students who are currently receiving FACE grants, many, many more are eligible and remain on waiting lists for grants.

The spring gala is the primary fundraiser for FACE, which was started in 1978 as a grass-roots effort by Catholic school parents, primarily at St. Theresa parish, who were concerned that the cost of Catholic education was going to make it unattainable for lower-income families.

Peter Boero knew those people well. "I was young and interested in doing what I could," he said, seeing the opportunity to bring "a little more hope in the inner-city."

He was asked to join to board.

"I can do that," he said.

Today, he said, "Linda and I remain supportive." The cause, he said, "resonated with us and in our hearts."

"It's hard to find something more worthy of your support than giving inner-city kids access to Catholic grammar school," he said.

During his service on the board, it was an all-volunteer effort. During that time, FACE helped only at the elementary-school level. With the addition of professional staff, FACE support has extended to the high schools.

For a man who was "in on the ground floor," he said, "it's a blessing."
"I get to see it come around here," he said of Saint Mary's, where about three dozen Saint Mary's students are FACE recipients. "They wouldn't be there without the funds FACE gave them."

Kevin Kelly's involvement with FACE is the continuation of a family tradition. His mother, Rosaleen Kelly, was an early supporter of FACE. Kelly's service on the board and as a donor honors his family's commitment.

The Kellys have maintained a strong commitment to Catholic education, not only for their own family, but for others.

FACE helps "as many people as possible have access to Catholic education," Kelly said. Kelly said he was mindful of California's unemployment rate, and the difficulty families have in supporting safe schools where values are taught, and lived.

"You'll have to increase financial aid," he said. "The only way to help schools is to raise money."

The graduation rate of FACE students — and almost all of the graduates go to college says a lot about FACE, Kelly said. He praised particularly the efforts of St. Elizabeth High School. "Find a public high school in Oakland that's a safe place to learn," he said.

If students are not able to be served in Catholic high schools, Kelly said, "What would that say about us?"

FACE was one of the first charities Nancy Cecconi became aware of when she moved to the Bay Area 30 years ago. The grass-roots community of FACE "really energized me," she said.

Attracted by the fact that it was founded by women with children in the Catholic schools, Cecconi said, "I wanted to make it available to more kids."

She has served on the board, and has coordinated auctions for the organization.

About 15 years ago, Cecconi started to work for the diocese as health coordinator for the schools. In this role, she visits all the schools, to ensure health records are in order.

Visiting the schools has given her the opportunity to see "this faith alive" in the children.

"It's really important to do what we could to make sure the kids stay there," she said.

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