We celebrate blessings and a future full of hope

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

In an announcement on June 12, the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation revealed it is donating $150 million to Big Shoulders Fund to invest in the Diocese of Gary Catholic Schools over the next 10 years. I am excited to share this wonderful news with you. It is a historic donation – the largest ever to PreK-12 Catholic education!

Through the joint efforts of Big Shoulders Fund and the Diocese of Gary, the investment will be used to strengthen our school communities and prepare our students for lifelong success.

I am also pleased to announce that in a distinct and separate commitment, the Diocese of Gary will establish an endowment for our Catholic school personnel within The Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana, a 501(c)(3) non-profit independent corporation, by the end of the 2024 calendar year. The goal is for the invested endowment funds to grow exponentially up to $50 million over the next 15 years and be used to supplement the compensation of principals, teachers, and staff within the Diocese of Gary Catholic schools.

Big Shoulders Fund is a non-profit organization passionately committed to ensuring that all students, regardless of background, have access to a high-quality education. You may recall, through a generous gift from Beth and Bruce White along with the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation, Big Shoulders Fund broadened their operations from Chicago to Northwest Indiana in 2019 and has since invested nearly $8 million in our Catholic schools.

Dr. Colleen Brewer, our Superintendent of Catholic Schools, and I believe this expanded investment and collaboration will help our schools serve families in even more vibrant ways. Many of our parish schools have benefited from the support of Big Shoulders Fund over the last five years and we’re enthusiastically looking forward to what we can accomplish together.

Through this investment, Big Shoulders Fund and the Diocese of Gary will reimagine our network of Catholic schools to enhance and ensure they remain viable, impactful providers of extraordinary education that help children become compassionate, contributing leaders in their communities.

Our hearts today are full of gratitude and hope. We give thanks to God that we have been blessed with such generous and visionary support from the Dean and Barbara White Family Foundation. Supported by their commitment and our relationship with Big Shoulders Fund, we are eager to step into this next chapter and witness the extraordinary impact this will have on the lives of our students, their families, our teachers, and our communities.

We will have more information for you in the future regarding how support will be deployed at each school. You can read the full announcement on our website: dcgary.org. This is an incredibly exciting time for our entire community.

I ask you to join us in giving thanks for these abundant blessings and call upon our Lord to guide us to be wise and fruitful stewards of our schools going forth.

We read from the Prophet Jeremiah “Thus says the Lord: ... For I know well the plans I have in mind for you ... to give you a future of hope.” (Jer. 29:11) Today we celebrate all the blessings that we have and will experience in the future...a future full of hope.

Asking God’s blessings upon you through the intercession of Our Lady, Seat of Wisdom, I remain.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

The Most Reverend Robert J. McClory
Diocese of Gary