Steve Lucke came to the Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota (CCF) with a specific need. The College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit school in Massachusetts and Steve’s alma mater, had approached him about creating a scholarship fund earmarked for graduates of the Cristo Rey network of high schools. “Holy Cross knew Cristo Rey was important to me,” Steve observes.
Cristo Rey Network schools provide a Catholic, career focused, college preparatory education to students from families of limited economic means. Through its Corporate Work-Study Program, students earn nearly half of the cost of their education while acquiring years of valuable professional work experience. Since 1996, the Cristo Rey Network has established 38 high schools across the country.
Steve’s experience with Cristo Rey began when Cristo Rey Jesuit High School opened in the Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis in 2007. “It was my good fortune to be asked to serve on the board,” Steve says. “They needed employers to provide work-study opportunities for students, and I persuaded my law firm, Dorsey & Whitney, to be a charter participant.
Making the Scholarship Fund a Reality
When Holy Cross first approached Steve about funding a permanent scholarship, he loved the idea but assumed it would be financially out of reach. Then he started working with CCF. “I knew there were advantages to working through a donor advised fund,” Steve says. “But I didn’t know how advantageous it could be.” Steve credits a thoughtful combination of investment and tax advice for helping him and his wife Colleen make the Lucke Family Cristo Rey Scholarship a reality.
Steve knows Cristo Rey students have to overcome many obstacles to earn a college degree, and he appreciates the opportunity to help in a concrete, enduring way. “We’ve had an opportunity to meet the first scholarship recipient,” Steve reports. Having also gotten to know other Cristo Rey graduates, including one who will start law school this fall, Steve is confident that the scholarship support will make a difference.
Getting Personally Involved
Cristo Rey is a good example of Steve’s general approach to stewardship. He’s drawn to organizations that work to lift up people facing economic, social, and cultural challenges. That includes other Catholic ministries, such as the Ignatian Volunteer Corps. He also works on a pro bono basis representing young people and an Indian tribe in foster care proceedings.
Steve views his stewardship experiences as an opportunity to learn from the people he’s supporting. “I probably shouldn’t be, but I’m surprised at the understanding I gain from getting personally involved,” Steve admits. “Seeing firsthand what goes on in the world changes my outlook and how I want to contribute.”