A record number of students will be receiving Catholic Education Foundation tuition awards totaling $16.3 million in the 2013 school year, Archbishop José Gomez announced last week.

"Thanks to CEF’s Board and Regents, 13,300 students will be receiving tuition awards with funding of $16.3 million in this school year,” explained Archbishop Gomez at a Sept. 19 luncheon honoring outgoing CEF executive director Kathy Anderson. “This budget includes an additional $6 million for 4,750 students who were on CEF’s wait-list to be funded.”

More than 160 guests attended the luncheon, including trustees, regents, board committee members, donors, school principals and friends of CEF to honor Anderson. Archbishop Gomez and Cardinal Roger Mahony each expressed appreciation for her nine years as executive director, sharing stories of her high energy and commitment to the mission of CEF. CEF president Tom Barron presented Anderson with an engraved bowl from the boards of trustees and regents as a lasting memory of her impact on the students CEF serves.

Theresa Fragoso, CEF’s director of operations and programs — and named interim director — led the tribute from CEF’s staff, which included a video produced by Casey Communications that featured remarks from principals and students throughout the archdiocese in gratitude for Anderson’s contributions and leadership. Fragoso also presented “Kathy-isms,” phrases that Anderson provided to the staff over the years to guide them in their decisions and in creating a business model for CEF. Anderson’s own favorite: “Good Ideas Get Funded.”

She thanked Cardinal Mahony for establishing CEF; Archbishop Gomez for his unwavering support of Catholic schools; and Barron and the four presidents who preceded him who have guided the foundation’s business strategy. The archbishop said Anderson will continue to work with him to develop CEF’s Hispanic Leadership Advisory Board. And he noted that while Catholic schools in dioceses across the nation are in jeopardy, the schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles are serving more than 80,000 students because, for the past 25 years, CEF has provided $134 million in tuition to over 127,000 recipients, including this year’s program.

Cardinal Mahony offered a brief history of CEF, noting how he was inspired 25 years ago to connect with a group of influential community and Catholic leaders to create the foundation to assist underserved families with the opportunity to attend Catholic school. He then presented CEF’s founding president, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard J. Riordan, with the title of President Emeritus. In closing, Anderson — whose own Catholic education included elementary and high schools and a Catholic university — stated, “CEF’s mission is grounded in compassion. And there is no better team and no better way to serve the poor than in providing an education based on values, faith and expectations for success — the hallmarks of a Catholic school education.”