A crowd of supporters braved chilly weather Thursday to kick off multimillion-dollar fundraising campaigns to help fund Catholic education facilities in Omaha.
The Holy Name Men’s Club and the group CUES, which formerly was the Christian Urban Education System, announced efforts to renovate facilities at Holy Name School and secure funding to sustain operations at Holy Name, Sacred Heart and All Saints Catholic schools.
The Holy Name project would renovate the existing field house as well as add a community center and secure school entry. The project calls for a new gym floor, locker rooms, restrooms and a kitchen, among other improvements to the building, said James Goodman, president of the Holy Name Men’s Club.
A community center connected to the field house would be home to an after-school program run by the Hope Center.
Goodman said raising $5 million for the project will take three years, with construction set to begin in 2021. The campaign has raised $1.8 million so far. The campaign also will donate 10% of funds raised to CUES for operations of Holy Name School.
The project is something the Holy Name parish and school can be proud of, Goodman said.
Holy Name, at 2901 Fontenelle Blvd., is known for fish frys that attract thousands of people during Lent.
“Not an inch of space in the existing structure here will go untouched, allowing this facility to again be the center hub for parish, school and community activities,” he said. “Our vision is to have Holy Name not only be thought of during the Lenten season, but we’d like our citizens of Omaha to visit us throughout the year.”
The fundraising program announced by CUES aims to raise $12.8 million. The initiative is intended to manage and fully fund the operations of three schools: Holy Name; Sacred Heart, at 2205 Binney St.; and All Saints Catholic, at 1335 S. 10th St. Nearly $6 million has been raised so far, organizers said.
“Our goal is not to just fund the schools and keep them open,” said Tim Kudron, chair of the CUES board. “Our goal is to grow the schools and improve the quality of the academic experience for our kids.”
Thursday’s announcement attracted the attention of Holy Name students. In one classroom, they peered out the window, waving to and cheering for the crowd in front of the field house. The Holy Name School choir, bundled up in winter coats, later entertained the crowd by performing two songs.
Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, who kicked off the event, said he has been involved with Holy Name School for nearly a decade. The campaigns are a good example of community involvement helping schools, he said.
“We know that our inner-city Catholic schools have struggled to make ends meet,” Ricketts said. “What we’ve seen over the last decade is that when people in the community do get involved, schools like Holy Name can be successful.”