Arrupe Fund Donors
This article first appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of Genesis magazine.
Last year, when Rev. Robert Walsh, S.J. ’68, announced the goal of creating a $5 million Arrupe Fund to help students pay not only for tuition but also for all the other costs associated with high school, he hoped it would succeed.
Today, SI graduates are helping students pay for the hidden costs of an SI education, from books and school jackets to computers and prom tickets.
Mike Boschetto ’74 and members of the Class of 1955 have given major gifts, each motivated by a need to help lower income kids pay for and succeed at SI and to ensure that SI remains a school for all.
Boschetto owns and operates the South San Francisco-based Trinity Building Maintenance, which began operations in 1987. “We lived very simply when I was growing up,” said Boschetto. “I try to impart the value of simple living and working hard on my own kids. Too many people show how wealthy they are by excessive spending, and that’s not healthy.”
He felt motivated to do something more after he hit 50. “I was living obliviously before that. One day, I just woke up and realized I had to simplify my life, and I’m encouraging others to do the same.”
He felt inspired to donate to families at SI thanks to the love he has for his own children. “I think of all the parents who love their children and who sacrifice to give their children a good education.”
Boschetto then called SI’s Vice President for Development Joe Vollert ’84 about a donation. “He told me about the Arrupe Fund and, after seeing a documentary on Rev. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., the former general of the Society of Jesus, I grew even more inspired to help.”
The gift, Boschetto said, is part of his desire “to get back to the roots of why we all should give. I’ve done OK. I’ve worked hard. I want my money to go directly to kids who need it and to support the kind of social justice that Jesuits are all about.”
That same call to social justice inspired members of the Class of ’55, who are raising money to help students from Mission Dolores Academy, the new school formed from the merger of Mission Dolores and Megan Furth Academy. The Gagan Fund, a named Arrupe Fund, honors their classmate Rev. Charles Gagan, S.J. ’55, his work with Megan Furth over the years and his help forming Mission Dolores Academy. After a sabbatical next year, Fr. Gagan will continue to work with Mission Dolores Academy.
“We are devoted to him,” said Bill Hogan ’55. “He has given us so much over the years, particularly as we have aged. The number of guys he has taken care of in recent years is phenomenal. Our class is willing to support him even more than any abstract cause.”
John Barbieri ’55, himself a graduate of both SI and Mission Dolores, is one of many classmates (along with Hogan, Charlton Buckley ’55 and Mark McGuinness ’55) leading the drive to raise funds to support support Mission Dolores Academy students who attend SI.
When Barbieri attended Mission Dolores, he found friends for life whose working class parents were a lot like his own. At SI, Barbieri excelled in football (making the all Northern California team), in track (where he made all-city), and baseball. That experience inspired him to begin a teaching career at Chabot College while still working in the banking industry, to run for the Castro Valley School Board and to serve as treasurer for the Castro Valley Boys Club.
“I want to work hard to help kids develop and, if they qualify, to attend SI, where they will be challenged academically and gain friends for life, just as I did. Some of these kids will discover the cure for cancer. Others will become great poets or doctors.”
The Class of ’55 is no stranger to helping inner-city students succeed at SI. As students, they were inspired by Richard McCurdy, a young teacher who eventually joined the Jesuits and served as principal of SI in the 1970s.
“Dick made a commitment to take students from Sacred Heart Grammar School,” said Hogan. “He made a promise to Sr. Cathryn deBack, O.P., to accept kids from her school who qualified and to support them and grammar school students through the Uplift Program. SI’s Magis Program carries on that work to this day, supporting dozens of inner-city kids.”
After Fr. McCurdy’s death, Hogan and his classmates established a scholarship in the priest’s name to help a child from Megan Furth attend SI. “We wanted this to be our way of fulfilling Dick McCurdy’s pledge to Sr. Cathryn. Now we have a Megan Furth graduate at SI whom we consider to be a member of the Class of ’55. We are committed to caring for and to passing on the traditions of our class to this student, and we’re looking for another class who can help once we’re gone.”
The Gagan Fund, Hogan added, “is our way of keeping SI true to itself and avoid the traps that East Coast prep schools sometimes fall into of becoming elitist.”
Eventually, Hogan and his classmates hope to see 15 to 20 students in every class at SI coming from Mission Dolores Academy. They are working to raise enough money to endow the Arrupe Fund, which will provide each student with $5,000 to pay for all the costs beyond tuition.
“When I was a student at SI, commuting from Oakland, I was accepted right away,” said Hogan. “I realized that this is what goes on at SI. We take care of one another. That attitude came down to the students from the faculty and the Jesuits. Now Fr. Gagan is saving these kids, and we want to be part of that effort.”
If you are interested in learning more about the Arrupe Fund, please check our website at www.siprep.org/giving or contact Joe Vollert at (415) 731-7500 ext. 319.