On Wednesday, Feb. 12, Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki will host the annual Catholic Schools Dinner at the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee, 333 West Kilbourn Ave., Milwaukee.

This gathering of more than 600 guests will highlight the success of Catholic education and raise funds in support of grant opportunities available to the 102 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee.

Funds raised support Grant Initiatives for Today’s Students (GIFTS), a new Catholic schools grant program. Last year, donations from the dinner enabled the Office for Schools to award 28 grants to area Catholic schools of $5,000 and $10,000 for a total of $205,000.

The Archbishop’s Catholic Schools Dinner also provides an opportunity for Archbishop Listecki to recognize individuals for their dedicated commitment to the vitality of Catholic education. This year’s Elizabeth Ann Seton Awards will be presented to three individuals.

Lauren Beckmann, Principal at St. Robert School in Shorewood. Beckmann, principal of St. Robert School since 2006, is one of the shining stars in elementary school leadership in the archdiocese. Her efforts are grounded in best practice, as she has served in many leadership capacities and committees to help move the needle forward in Catholic education. She has been in the forefront of serving students with intellectual disabilities and other special learning needs at St. Robert School. She has worked to ensure that all students are integrated into the school community with the support of dedicated staff.

 Fr. Thomas Biersack, Pastor at St. Andrew, LeRoy; St. Mary, Mayville; and St. Theresa, Theresa. Fr. Biersack has been a priest in the archdiocese for 39 years and has served as the pastor in Dodge County since 2005. He is a champion for rural Catholic education and has been a cornerstone in maintaining St. Mary School in Mayville, the smallest school in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Fr. Biersack shares the Gospel by visiting students throughout the week in their classrooms, as well as presenting homilies that are relatable to young people. Because of his leadership, students at St. Mary grow academically and spiritually in this unique rural school.

William O’Toole, President and CEO at Catholic Financial Life. Under O’Toole’s leadership for the past 13 years, Catholic Financial Life provides staunch support of Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He is passionate in providing volunteer services and support to benefit Catholic schools, parishes and organizations. Early in his career, he worked in fund development roles for several religious institutions, including the Sisters of Divine Savior in Milwaukee, St. Joseph High School in Kenosha, and Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners.  

The Catholic Schools Dinner starts with a cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the program beginning at 6:30 p.m. Dinner sponsorships to support Catholic education and the GIFTS program are available for $10,000, $5,000 and $2,000. Each sponsorship includes a table for 10 at the dinner. Tickets are available for $200 each. Register online at archmil.regfox.com/schools-dinner-2020.

Archdiocese of Milwaukee

2019 GIFTS School Grant Recipients


School Name Project Name
Category 1: Catholic Identity  
Divine Mercy Parish School, South Milwaukee Project U.N.I.T.Y.
Mary Queen of Saints Catholic Academy, West Allis Mission and Identity in Our New Home
Prince of Peace, Milwaukee Culturally Relevant Catholic Identity
St. Mary Parish School, Hales Corners Faith In Our Families
St. Agnes Parish School, Butler Facilitating Encounters with the Living Jesus Christ for Students, Families, Faculty and Parish
St. Catherine Catholic School, Milwaukee Catholic Faith Development
St. Mary Parish School, Menomonee Falls Strengthening our Catholic Identity & the Faith Life of our Faculty, Parents & Students
Category 2: Development/Marketing  
St. Boniface Catholic School, Germantown School Marketing Campaign
Holy Angels School, West Bend Website Update for Community Engagement
St. Anthony School, Milwaukee Parent Ambassador Program
All Saints Catholic School, Kenosha Annual Fund Campaign
St. Matthew School, Campbellsport School Marketing Project
St. Sebastian Catholic School, Milwaukee Development and Marketing Initiative
Category 3: Educational Innovation  
Blessed Sacrament School, Milwaukee Celebrate Literacy
John Paul II Academy, Racine Personalized Learning Tools For Differentiated Instruction
Northwest Catholic School, Milwaukee Culturally Relevant Literacy Circles
Our Lady Queen of Peace School, Milwaukee Increasing Student Engagement
St. Bruno Parish School, Dousman Kiln for Art Outreach
St. Eugene School, Fox Point STEAM Rollers
St. Thomas Aquinas Academy, Milwaukee STEM Enrichment Program
Catholic Central High School, Burlington Technology Update and Advancement
St. John Paul II, Milwaukee Creating 21st Century Classrooms
Category 4: Project Initiation – Seed Money  
St. Kilian School, Hartford Play System Project
St. Mary School, Mayville ProCare Management Software for Childcare
Mother of Good Counsel, Milwaukee The Magic of a Social Emotional Learning Infusion
Pius XI Catholic High School, Milwaukee Progress Monitoring Assessments for Competency-Based Learning
Saint Mary’s Springs Academy, Fond du Lac Blazing the Trail
St. Joseph School, Racine New K3 Program