Supporters give more than $283,000 at Believe

More than 300 La Salle supporters showed their faith in La Salle Prep on Saturday, raising more than $283,000 for the school during the annual Believe Benefit Dinner.

The gifts include more than $121,000 for Dollars for Scholars, which directs financial aid to nearly 60 percent of La Salle’s students, and $69,000 for the Saafeld Athletic Center, a 3,200-square-foot expansion and renovation of the athletic facilities.

"Believe is critical to our Lasallian mission on many levels,” said La Salle’s Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer Matthew Winningham. “It is the largest fundraising event of the year which significantly impacts our ability to fund need-based scholarships for our students.”

The eighth annual event showcases some of La Salle’s best. Thirty fresh-faced student Ambassadors greeted guests, sold fund-raising beads, and helped serve Middle Eastern cuisine. The 60-voice choir directed by Otto Wild thrilled the audience with the gospel song “I Love the Lord.” Nine students spoke about their experiences at La Salle, praising its teachers and coaches for teaching them to work hard and persevere.

“La Salle has taught me to never give up, and always be reaching for my goals,” said Kalei Carter ’20.

Though Believe lasted only three hours, it took nearly a year to plan. A committee of parents and school staffers worked for months to secure sponsors and suppliers. A few days before the event itself, nearly 150 volunteers, staff, students, and vendors descended onto the Brick Oven to transform it into an elegant banquet hall accented by hanging lights, candles, and pumpkin centerpieces filled with flowers and greens.

Director of Giving and Donor Relations Julie Dowhaniuk - who served as the lead organizer of the event - said that Believe illustrates that La Salle is as strong as ever.

“We are able to come together as a community,” she said. “This is the same commitment our alumni parents had in 1966 when the school was founded. We share the same commitment and beliefs now.”

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