||Above, three college-bound students, Allyson Suarez, Chloe Dichoso and Emily Romero, discussed what financial support from FACE donors meant to them and their families. Left, about 180 donors gathered at the Blackhawk Automotive Museum for the annual gala.
ALL: DOORSTEP PHOTOGRAPHY
FACE gala puts spotlight on the future
Three eloquent students, just days away from high school graduation, told a gathering of donors to FACE — Family Aid Catholic Education — what their support has meant to them and their families.
The students — from St. Elizabeth High School in Oakland, Salesian College Preparatory in Richmond, and Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward — are all heading to college this fall.
"When you hear that …" said Phil Toups, interim director of mission advancement for the Diocese of Oakland, "This is why we do this."
The students spoke at the annual FACE gala May 20 at the Blackhawk Automotive Museum in Danville, where 180 donors gathered in support of families that need financial assistance to provide Catholic education for their children.
"The student speakers were awesome," Toups said. "When people hear their stories, this encourages people to give more. They steal your heart."
The student speakers were followed by tuition pops, where donors raise their paddles in support of Catholic education.
The pledging was kicked off with a $25,000 donation from a longtime FACE supporter.
A second paddle was raised at the $25,000 level, to the delight of the crowd.
In all, the tuition pops raided $107,550, in an evening that also included auctions, dinner and dancing, with a backdrop of gleaming classic cars.
During the evening, Bishop Michael C. Barber, SJ, introduced Kathleen Radecke, the diocese's new superintendent of schools.
The gala, the largest fundraiser of the year for FACE, netted about $300,000, Toups said.
Other contributions come from individuals and grants, including these major donors: $600,000 from the Crescent Porter Hale foundation; $100,000 from the Valley Foundation (the third payment on a $300,000 pledge); and $30,000, the last year of a $90,000 grant from the Dean & Margaret Lesher Foundation.
FACE expects to fund 775 students in the 2017-18 school year for a total of $1.8 million.
Elementary school students will receive $1,750 toward tuition, with high school students receiving $3,050.
FACE made grants to 731 students in the 2016-17 school year.
"I work in the investment field," said longtime FACE board member Larry Fernandes, a parishioner at Christ the King Parish in Pleasant Hill. "Investing in education is investing in the future."
Fernandes' passion for investing in the future is rooted in his own past. "My mother came to this country with no formal education," he said. His father had a high school diploma.
His mother, he said, wanted to be sure her children received the best education possible. Fernandes, who grew up in San Leandro, went to St. John School in San Lorenzo and Moreau Catholic High School.
He has provided Catholic education to his own children, "from first grade through college."
"I'm a believer," he said.
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