Thanks to the leadership of Board of Regents’ Chairman Mark Cleary ’64 and the generosity of SI’s donor community, SI is well on its way to reaching the $50 million goal for the Genesis IV: Endow SI campaign. The success of the endowment campaign comes as a result of generous individuals and foundations, and their donations, large and small. Since SI’s move to the Sunset District, gifts or pledges of $1 million or more — in single gifts or over several years — have come to SI from Mr. & Mrs. Henry J. Budde, Mr. Charles H. Luchessa ’23, the Josephine McCormick Trust, the William G. Irwin Charity Foundation, the Arline & Thomas J. Bannan Foundation, the Henry Doelger Trust, Mr. & Mrs. Michel Orradre, Archbishop Joseph McGucken, Mr. & Mrs. Robert F. McCullough, Sr. ’48, Mr. & Mrs. John Gibbons ’37 and the Jesuit Community of St. Ignatius (who donate their salaries back to the school).
Because scholarships for needy students come from a school’s endowment fund, “endowment is the key to the success of any school,” said Mark Cleary. However, two challenges faced the Development office in raising funds for the Genesis IV campaign. “First, it is sometimes hard to do fund-raising for financial aid, as donors do not see a building rise up from their donations,” said Cleary. Secondly, a new challenge arose in the late 1990s with the dot-com bust. “The economy worked against us. People were not flush with disposable income. We finished well because of Tony Sauer and Steve Lovette. Tony retains personal contact with an awful lot of people, yet he’s not a high-pressure person when it comes to asking for money. Tony helps people feel good about the school, and he is appreciative for any gift, large or small.”
Cleary has also helped bring new people to the Board of Regents who offered diverse talents. “They represented a broad matrix. People such as Clark Callander ’76 have stepped up both with money and expertise. We have an investment committee that major universities would envy. Tom Bertlesen’s competence in taking care of our funds is incredible. Of all the boards I have served on, SI’s is the easiest because everything is so well run.”
Despite the tough economy, the campaign had a few early successes, allowing the school to add on the $5 million Faculty Housing Fund to the Genesis IV campaign to help young teachers who faced one of the hottest housing markets in the world. “We did that to help keep SI in the forefront of education,” said Cleary. “We need to attract and keep the best teachers we can find.”
Cleary praised the work of his predecessors on the Board of Regents who “reconnected with friends of SI during the capital campaign. When we returned to them, we discovered that SI was on their minds, and we encouraged them to join the Heritage Society or to create an endowed scholarship.”
Fr. Sauer praised Cleary for his dedication to the school, and noted that his SI roots go back nearly as far as the school’s beginnings. His great uncle, Frank Cleary, graduated from St. Ignatius College in 1882, and his grandfather, Alfred J. Cleary, followed in 1900. Since then six Clearys and one cousin have graced the halls of SI including Mark’s father, Alfred J. Cleary, Jr. ’37, Mark’s two uncles, Louis Cleary ’39 and William Reilly ’51, Mark’s brother, Alfred J. Cleary III ’61, and Mark’s son, Sean Cleary ’99. “These men all had one thing in common,” said Cleary. “We were all taught to give something back to the community.”