Catholic education and faith formation just got a shot in the arm from the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation, which geared its second year’s efforts toward raising funds for those causes.
The second annual Hartford Bishops’ Foundation Gala at the Aria in Prospect on Nov. 18 raised more than $1.7 million to support Catholic education and faith formation for people of all ages in the Archdiocese of Hartford.
The gala was chaired by Jim Torgerson, CEO of Avangrid, Inc., and his wife MaryAnn. Torgerson is a regional chairman of the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation.
In his opening remarks to the more than 200 guests, Torgerson summarized the foundation’s dual roles as fostering “philanthropic culture” in support of the parishes of the Archdiocese of Hartford as well as supporting Catholic education and faith formation.
The Hartford Bishops’ Foundation was created in 2016 by Archbishop Leonard Blair as a means of strengthening the Church’s ties to the local community through the skills and contributions of high-profile notables in local business and government.
A similar foundation existed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when Hartford insurance and finance executives, then known as “bishops,” pooled their resources to improve the lives of the people throughout central Connecticut.
The Hartford Bishops’ Foundation has 42 directors to date, headed by general chair Jim Smith, CEO of Webster Bank.
Smith also spoke to the guests and extended his thanks to Archbishop Blair for his guidance and support of the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation over the past year.
Smith stressed that the foundation’s role is to “gather resources for the moral, spiritual, and material welfare of the people of the archdiocese.” He added: “Now is the time to invest in the future of our parishes and to keep them vibrant.”
Smith thanked those present for their donations, talent and leadership.
“We are missionaries in pursuit of our goals for the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation,” he said.
Neil Berg’s “100 Years of Broadway,” re-created popular songs of Broadway’s finest musicals, sung by the stars of shows such as "The Phantom of the Opera," "Les Miserables," "CATS," "Jesus Christ Superstar" and "Jekyll & Hyde."
A 2017 Corvette was raffled for the benefit of Catholic education throughout the archdiocese.
Sister Mary Grace Walsh, provost of the archdiocesan Office of Education, Evangelization and Catechesis, thanked the guests for their support of the gala.
In the event’s closing, Sister Mary Grace said proceeds from the gala will help to “re-ignite our Catholic faith” through advances in professional development, spiritual formation and innovative learning.
At the end of the event, it was announced that the Hartford Bishops’ Foundation Gala had secured pledges totaling $1,762,540.