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Catholic student races to raise funds to save school

Susan Lutzke, St Bede Fundraiser

WGN News | Fair Use via YouTube

J-P Mauro - published on 01/06/24

When Susan Lutzke learned that her beloved K-8 school was closing, she started a GoFundMe. Now that donation page may save the St. Bede School.

A student at Illinois’ St. Bede School, a K-8th grade school located in Ingleside, is racing against the clock to raise $400,000 in order to prevent the school from closing. As of the publishing of this article, the fundraising campaign has almost reached 85% of the goal, but there’s still a ways to go before the January 26 deadline. 

According to ABC7 Chicago, the Catholic school has been struggling to replenish funds they had previously been receiving from a state-sponsored program. In 2023, however, lawmakers ended the “Invest in Kids” scholarship program, which allowed donors to receive a 75% tax credit to private school scholarship funds. The arrangement, active since 2018, had provided the necessary funds to keep St. Bede in the black. 

When Susan Lutzke and her mother, Tina, heard the news that St. Bede may be forced to close, they had an emotional night. Susan, a high school senior, and Tina, Athletic Director of St. Bede, both attended the Catholic school for the formative years of their education and Susan’s brother attends St. Bede in the midst of his 7th-grade year.

The next morning, feeling driven to do something to try and save her beloved school, Susan created a GoFundMe page. There, she laid out the whole situation to the public, writing: 

“The funds are needed to cover the operating deficit for the next school year, which includes salaries and benefits for the amazing and dedicated teachers and staff. This isn’t the first time the school has needed saving, but it will be the last unless there is a miracle. Anything helps, even just sharing! In the event that not enough money is raised and/or the school is closed in June 2024, all donations will be refunded.” 

Susan did not promote the donation page, but as the Christmas season continued, the page suddenly turned into the ending of It’s a Wonderful Life. Donations began to pour in as the page was shared countless times on social media. As of January 6, the GoFundMe had raised $340,477 of its $400,000 goal. 

The fundraising efforts have until January 26 to raise the final stretch, in order to keep St. Bede’s open. Interested parties can donate to this charitable cause on the GoFundMe page

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