Fr. Tolton Catholic HS receives million-dollar gift

COLUMBIA — Bishop Shawn McKnight, bishop of the Diocese of Jefferson City, announced Jan. 22, 2019, that an anonymous donor has given one million dollars to Fr. Tolton Catholic High School to assist in its debt relief. The donor’s intention is that the gift will inspire other friends of the school to support the school’s long-term financial stability with similar generosity.

The school, which opened its doors in 2011, cost $14 million to build, and required bond financing for completion.

“Our diocese is blessed to have benefactors who acknowledge the far-reaching impact of faith-based education and are willing to invest in such a significant way to further solidify the future of our youngest diocesan high school,” Bishop McKnight said. “The benefits of Catholic education – with its universal focus on self-discipline, rigorous academics, and service for the greater good – are significant not only to the Church, but to our society as a whole.”

School Sister of Notre Dame Julie Brandt, associate superintendent of Schools for the diocese, explained that “this transformational gift would provide the school not only the opportunity to pay down the debt obligation but to inspire others to step forward and make an investment in the school.”

“This benefactor is a true visionary who understands how important it is to offer a Catholic education in the Columbia community,” said Sister Brandt.

Deacon Dan Joyce, president of Fr. Tolton Catholic High School said, “We are extremely grateful and pleased to have benefactors who realize the importance of lowering our debt obligation. This gift not only improves the long-term financial sustainability of the school, but positively impacts current operations by permitting funds allocated for debt service to go directly into educational programs and services for current and future generations of students.”

Fr. Tolton Catholic is in its eighth year of operation, serving students in grades 9-12 with an enrollment of 273 students as of August 2018.  The school develops students in spirit, heart, mind, and body, providing a rigorous academic program and expansive extracurricular offering in a Christ-centered environment. The school is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City, which includes 38 counties in northeastern and central Missouri and is led by Bishop McKnight.