A last minute fundraising campaign to save a Catholic K-8 school, St. Bede’s, has reached its goal. Launched by a Catholic high schooler – and former student of St. Bede’s – the official donation page of the “Save St. Bede School” initiative has raised $403,000, which is $3,000 more than was set at the goal.
Aleteia previously reported that St. Bede School had been struggling to replenish funds they had been receiving from a state-sponsored program. In 2023, the “Invest in Kids” scholarship program, which allowed donors to receive a 75% tax credit to private school scholarship funds, was closed by lawmakers. The arrangement, active since 2018, had provided the necessary funds to keep St. Bede functional, until now.
In late 2023, St. Bede’s made an announcement that it was likely they would have to shutter their doors after the 2024 academic year. When Susan Lutzke and her mother, Tina, caught wind of the predicament, they wasted no time attempting to save the school as it was close to their hearts. 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 Susan launched a donation campaign on GoFundMe with the hope that some of the school’s expenses might be alleviated. There they explained the situation, admitting that even with the donations, the diocese might have to close the school, at which point all donations would be refunded. Although Susan did not take any steps to share the page, well-wishers spread it around social media, and the donations began flooding in.
As of January 14, the GoFundMe page had reached its goal, even going over by a few thousand dollars. In a post celebrating, Susan noted that it only took 33 days for the campaign to be complete. She thanked those who donated, as well as those who shared the story and raised awareness of the needs of St. Bede’s:
“Your constant sharing of our posts and our GoFundMe site, the beautiful writing of your personal connections to St. Bede, the notes, messages, the media coverage, the unwavering support from our friends at neighboring schools, restaurants, and businesses, your presence at our event today, and the generous donations coming in from all over the country was truly an inspiration, and it’s what kept us going. Despite the darkness, you were all a bright light.”