By Marty Denzer
Catholic Key Associate Editor
KANSAS CITY — Usually, co-chairs for events and programs are husband-wife teams. The diocesan Bright Futures Fund, which recently launched the “Shine Brightly” success plan, named three father-daughter teams as its capital campaign co-chairs—unique, surprising and likely a long-term win-win for the Shine Brightly plan and for the Bright Futures Fund schools.
The Bright Futures Fund raises funds to fully support operating costs of Holy Cross and Our Lady of Hope schools and subsidizes tuition costs for nearly 100 percent of the students. In addition, the Fund helps several partner schools in Kansas City, Montrose and Nevada, Missouri.
The Shine Brightly plan, which is expected to be fully implemented in the next 18 months, will necessitate facility improvements, new curriculum and instructional resources, scholarship and reserve funding for the schools and expanded support for the three partner schools. To that end, a $5.2 million capital campaign has been initiated.
The campaign co-chairs — Frank Uryasz and daughter Justine Richard; Lamar Hunt, Jr., and daughter Sarah Arkell; Dan Welsh and daughter Colleen Teasdale — were introduced at a cabinet meeting Monday evening, Jan. 13, at the Catholic Center.
Frank Uryasz serves as president of the Uryasz Family Foundation, was recently named president of the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Art Institute and has served the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph as a member of the diocesan Visioning Team. When asked what he thought of the father-daughter teamwork for the Shine Brightly plan and Capital Campaign, he said, “I think it’s a terrific idea. We are planning the education of future generations, so it makes sense for the chairs to be multi-generational!”
Justine Richard considers the teams “a different dynamic: families working together for a common cause, Catholic education.”
Dan Welsh is a Certified Public Accountant and Finance Committee Chair for the Bright Futures Fund Board. He said, “The campaign is designed to give young people the skill sets for a career. Some are current immigrants, some are immigrants from a couple of generations ago, but they all can use a little help.” He added that serving as a co-chair with his daughter is “the next step in parenting.”
Colleen Teasdale sees her generation as very concerned about the need to break the cycle of poverty. “It’s a giving back outside our normal area — our parishes.”
Lamar Hunt, Jr. serves as president of the Loretto Foundation and as a Bright Futures Fund board member. He said, “Catholic education is tied in with the mission of the church: teach about Christ’s life through Catholic schools. We received the gift of a really good education in Catholic schools. Kids in poverty deserve that gift!”
His daughter Sarah described the father-daughter teams as a concept of rotation. Leadership starts with the clergy and trickles down. Sarah, who sits on the board for the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired, said, “With Catholic education, you’re giving more than an education. You’re giving a child a community.”
The co-chairs see their job description as including arranging and attending meetings with key donors, initiate donors influencing other donors and offer potential donors evidence of the Bright Futures Funds’ sustainability. Hunt noted that there is a strong Baby Boomer population in this diocese supporting the Church. Generosity is also a kind of evangelizing.
Jeremy Lillig, Director of the Bright Futures Fund, clarified that the co-chairs will also serve as ambassadors for the Bright Futures Fund schools and programs.
Currently, students graduating from one of the Bright Futures schools can attend one of the diocesan high schools — St. Pius X and St. Michael the Archangel and Bishop LeBlond in St. Joseph — or one of the independent Catholic high schools — St. Teresa’s Academy, Notre Dame de Sion, Cristo Rey-KC and Rockhurst — with the Honoring Family or the Richard and Olivia Mock scholarships. There is also one student at Avila University who is continuing Catholic education begun with the Bright Futures Fund.
All funds raised by the Bright Futures Fund, including for the Shine Brightly campaign, benefit the students. Administrative costs of the schools are underwritten by the Diocese.
Frank Uryasz’s daughter Justine Richard, added that spreading the word about Our Lady of Hope and Holy Cross schools, as well as St. Regis Academy, St. Mary’s Nevada and St. Mary’s Montrose schools is an underlying goal of the Shine Brightly campaign.
Frank Uryasz concluded that the presence of these school is the Church present in communities that often feel left out of the larger city. “We have a presence in historic Northeast and in Midtown and we want to get the word out!” ”
For more information about Holy Cross School, visit www.hcskcmo.org. For more information about Our Lady of Hope School visit www.olhkcmo.org. For more information about the Bright Futures Fund visit www.brightfuturesfund.org.