“When we found out about this, right before Thanksgiving, we hopped on it pretty quickly,” he said. “We sent an appeal to all alumni, including people from the predecessor schools (Don Bosco and Pio Nono). We were able to raise $100,000 in December. We were very excited by the response.”

In the months ahead, Teske said he and other school officials will be working “fast and furious” in other fundraising initiatives to help raise the remaining $800,000 needed to achieve the goal. They are calling the fundraising effort, “Be a part of More! Special Appeal.”

The endeavor will be promoted during the school’s annual dinner auction, slated for 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, at the school. This year’s auction will feature a circus theme, “Over the Top,” and will include such festivities as dinner, drinks and entertainment – including clowns, magicians, acrobats and jugglers.

While promoting the school’s mission and fundraising initiatives is at the core of the dinner auction, Teske said it is also an opportunity to celebrate community.

Sobotka said the anonymous donation was a pleasant surprise that was gratifying to him and other St. Thomas More staff.

“We are driven and constantly striving for innovation,” Sobotka said. “Donations like this help us get on a very strong footing with the programs we are able to offer. It allows St. Thomas More to continue building on its heritage as an important part of the South Side of Milwaukee.”

Teske said fundraising and philanthropic donations have served as the backbone for some of St. Thomas More’s successes. Organizations, including the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, have helped fund such initiatives as the robotics program, Project Lead the Way and the school’s new bio-medical courses.

Sobotka encourages prospective donors to visit the school and to arrange a tour.

“It’s one thing to give; it’s another thing to see the students engaged in our classes and learning,” Sobotka said. “That’s really what it’s all about.”