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Giving Together: The Heart of O’Dowd

<img class="wp-image-38010 aligncenter lazyload" src="" alt="Cor Unum Logo" width="416" height="416" srcset=" 650w, 150w, 300w, 45w" sizes="(max-width: 416px) 100vw, 416px" />As we approach Thanksgiving, we want to share our gratitude for the power and faith of the O’Dowd community, who have given so generously to the Cor Unum Campaign for the O’Dowd Center. To date, we have raised $34.2M and are in reach of our $36.5M goal. And it’s because so many of you, our families, alumni, staff, and friends, believe in the future of O’Dowd.

The participation in this campaign has truly been staggering. We have received gifts from the Class of ’55 to the Class of ’15, and we have received gifts of all sizes. Every gift is a symbol of the enormous love our community feels for O’Dowd, and we are overjoyed to translate that love into a new Center, a building at the heart of O’Dowd, where we can continue to gather together for generations to come, with performing arts, Mass, sports, and more.

“Our family is inspired by the words of Mother Theresa,” says Katie Cronin ’80, Vice-Principal at St. Felicitas Catholic School in San Leandro. “She taught us that ‘We can do small things with great love.’ Even though we couldn’t contribute a lot to Cor Unum, we feel we have a moral obligation to support the community that gave us so much.” Katie met her husband Kelly Cronin ’80 at the O’Dowd flagpole. Their children, Connor ’09 and Emma ’13, enjoyed school trips to Costa Rica and participating in Campus Ministry. “We sacrificed to send our kids to O’Dowd because we wanted them to be infused with faith,” Katie says. “We wanted them to learn to give back and fight for social justice. And we know that the connections and relationships at O’Dowd last a lifetime.”

A central strength of the Cor Unum Campaign lies in our match from the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation, secured by former O’Dowd President Steve Phelps before his sudden passing. Every single gift is matched 100%. Gifts of $50 become $100, gifts of $200 become $400. The outpouring of support we have received from our Dragon community is doubled and amplified.

<img class="aligncenter wp-image-38015 lazyload" src="" alt="Katie Cronin '80 quote" width="522" height="522" srcset=" 1080w, 150w, 300w, 768w, 1024w, 45w" sizes="(max-width: 522px) 100vw, 522px" />

Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure– pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return. – Luke 6:38

“Cor Unum was my first giving experience,” says Christine Keener ’07, Director of Government and Community Affairs at Verizon. “I called my Mom and said, ‘Guess what, I’m a real adult now!” Christine grew up in East Oakland, and knew in seventh grade she wanted to go to O’Dowd. “There are very few places that you can say changed your life,” Christine notes, “but my life changed when I went to O’Dowd.” Christine played on O’Dowd’s softball team and she loves that the new Center will be a place for athletics, arts, and human connections. “Imagine what will happen with these new spaces for creativity and collaboration,” she envisions. “Imagine the endless opportunities. Imagine the people we can serve and engage. Imagine three times the people at our games!” Christine sees O’Dowd as an institution that’s always building on its greatness, always looking towards the future. “I want to say thanks by empowering students that come after me with the access and opportunities that helped me grow.”

Through the contributions, large and small, of our current 1,235 families and over 15,000 alumni families, we will bring the O’Dowd Center into being for today and tomorrow’s students. With the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation match, each individual gift is exponential, representing not only the brick and mortar for the new Center, but the lives and spirits of students whose personal and professional journeys will be forever shaped by their experience at O’Dowd.

<img class="aligncenter wp-image-38013 lazyload" src="" alt="Christine Keener '07 Quote" width="521" height="521" srcset=" 1024w, 150w, 300w, 768w, 45w, 1080w" sizes="(max-width: 521px) 100vw, 521px" />

“I’m proud to give to the campaign,” says Mrs. Dorothy Wilson, grandmother to Julian ’22. “Whenever I’m visiting and we drop my grandson off at school, there’s always a big smile on his face.” Mrs. Wilson gives to her grandson’s school every year, but she was especially impressed by the virtual tour for the O’Dowd Center. “It’s beautiful,” she says, “not just the building but the plan for using the building. I hope my two younger grandsons will also go to O’Dowd, and benefit from the new Center.”

To date, the Cor Unum Campaign has received gifts from almost 250 individual donors, and that number rises every week. “The match meant a lot to me,”says Brian Cushing ’84, history teacher at O’Dowd. Three generations of Brian’s family graduated from O’Dowd. His mother Sheila ’57 attended, as well as his children, Robert ’20 and Colleen ’19. “O’Dowd has always been a part of my family life and my family story. Both my kids were baptized in the chapel at O’Dowd.” For Brian, the opportunity for his gift to be matched made him stretch further. “I tried to make my contribution as big as possible because I know the overall impact it can have for the students and teachers and community that will use the O’Dowd Center. I want to make sure the campus is as vibrant when I leave as when I entered.”

This Thanksgiving, we are truly blessed to have such a devoted and generous community, pushing forward together to build the new future and support the next generation at O’Dowd. With you, our school community will continue to grow, thrive, and serve students across Oakland and the East Bay.

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We invite you to join the heart of our community by contributing to the Cor Unum Campaign. All gifts, no matter the size, make a difference. Your donation will be 100% matched.

As you consider your charitable giving approaching calendar year-end, click here for information that might provide you with a tax advantage.


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