Giving Others the Benefit of Catholic Education:
Mark Guilfoyle Chairs the Fund for Urban School Excellence
by Dan Monk
Attorney Mark Guilfoyle graduated from Covington Latin High School at 16. The experience made him a believer in the power of a Catholic education. That belief is reaffirmed as each of his five children make their way through local Catholic schools, including Blessed Sacrament Elementary in Fort Mitchell, St. Ursula Academy in Walnut Hills, St. Henry District High School in Erlanger and, yes, Covington Latin.
“They have gotten a first-class education, but it’s been delivered in an atmosphere where principles and Catholic morals are conveyed as well,” said Guilfoyle. “Learning knowledge is one thing, but gaining wisdom is another thing altogether. I think you need that moral context to become a wise person.”
That’s why he agreed to chair the Fund for Urban School Excellence (FUSE), a $10 million endowment campaign that will pay for tuition grants for inner-city students at schools in Covington, Newport, Bellevue and Taylor Mill.
FUSE was announced in May by the Alliance for Catholic Urban Education (ACUE), where Guilfoyle serves as vice chairman. The campaign is modeled after the Catholic Inner-city Schools Education Fund (CISE), created by the Cincinnati Archdiocese in 1980. CISE is an annual fund drive that provides tuition assistance for 1,600 students in Catholic schools north of the Ohio River.
Guilfoyle, a partner at DBL Law (Dressman Benzinger LaVelle) in Crestview Hills, is well-known in political and business circles, having served as general counsel and budget director for former Kentucky Gov. Brereton Jones.
One difference between the two campaigns is that CISE started as an annual fund drive. It only recently started raising money for a long-term endowment. FUSE is focusing on the endowment first, although Guilfoyle said ACUE will announce a separate fund drive for annual expenses in September.
CISE will embark on a $2.5 million campaign for its annual fund drive on Sept. 9. Its donors come from both sides of the Ohio River, but CISE Director Cary Powell said there is room in Cincinnati for two Catholic education campaigns.
“We can all work together,” Powell said. “Any press that ACUE gets, since our mission is the same, it’s good for us, too.”
While $10 million is a tall order, Guilfoyle considers the new FUSE effort to be among the easiest “asks” he’s ever been called to make.
“We’re dealing with vulnerable children,” he said. “We’re really talking about their future. They need a hand up. And, you know, you just can’t beat a Catholic education.”« Back to news