AOH Brother Leads $1M Effort That Saved Mater Dei

An announcement of a Catholic School closure is usually a certain death sentence, however one AOH brother was determined to not allow this to happen to his alma mater and lead the effort to save Mater Dei.

In early February Fr. Jeff Kegley, pastor of Saint Mary’s parish, announced Mater Dei Prep would close at the end of the school year due to a $1 million operating deficit. Fr. Kegley then gave the community until April 15 to raise the needed funds.

A plan was made to raise the money and transition the school from a Diocese run school into a private non-profit Catholic school that is operated by a board of trustees.

Jim Shaw took up the effort to lead the fundraising effort. Jim is an active AOH member and he is currently the Chairman of the Standing Committee for Monmouth 2. NJAOH will award Jim the Patrick Torphy Award at this year’s convention in recognition for his work to organize the AOH polar plunge that has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars for Catholic schools. Jim is also the chair of Monmouth 2’s annual wounded warrior efforts that have provided thousands of dollars directly to wounded soldiers and their families.

The fundraising effort was able to raise the needed $1M three weeks ahead of the deadline. Their fundraising efforts are set to continue as an endowment to keep the school on the path to sustainability.

Once they had the money they still needed to have the Bishop and Diocese approve the full transition plan before the school could be called saved. The plan was approved and signed by the Bishop on April 30, 2015.

Congratulations to Jim and all of the supporters for this incredible save.

The full details of the effort, the current status, and ways to donate/help are available on the Seraph Fund Website.