Anonymous donor offers $250K matching gift for ACE

For the second year in a row, an anonymous donor has offered a matching gift of up to $250,000 for the fundraising event for the Advancement of Catholic Education.

“That’s huge,” said Ashley Linville, stewardship director for the Diocese of Nashville. “This gives every donor an opportunity to automatically double their gift,” and in the process help twice as many students.

This year’s event has been moved online because of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on gatherings of large groups. The event will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 27. Donors and supporters can watch the event and make a donation by visiting the website www.dioceseofnashville.com/ace.

The goal for this year’s event is to raise $250,000 for the Advancement of Catholic Education (ACE) endowment, which helps fund tuition assistance at the diocese’s 16 elementary and high schools. Currently, the endowment is valued at about $5 million.

The matching gift “is a special opportunity that could literally take us from a quarter million to a half million if we can meet our goal,” Linville said.

The online event, which will be hosted by ACE Board Member Marty Blair, will include presentations by Bishop J. Mark Spalding, students and a featured speaker talking about the importance of supporting ACE and Catholic education.

The winner of this year’s Christ the Teacher Award, which recognizes an outstanding teacher in a diocesan school, also will be introduced during the event.

For the first time, the event will also include an online auction, which will open about a week before the event. Some of the auction items include:

  • A pig roast at Camp Marymount.
  • Bordeaux and Burgers with Bishop J. Mark Spalding, including a variety of Bordeaux wines.
  • A virtual fine wine tasting with Father Dexter Brewer, pastor of Christ the King Church in Nashville. The wines will be delivered to the homes of the winning bidders who will join an online call with a wine expert leading the tasting. Special foods also will be delivered for the tasting.
  • A bourbon tasting.

Organizers also are offering virtual table sponsorships starting at $1,000 for 10 people. The people at the sponsored table will be invited to participate in an online happy hour from 5:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. the evening of the fundraiser to have a discussion with the principal of one of the diocesan schools.

Table sponsors who raise $2,500 will have the happy hour with diocesan Superintendent of Schools Rebecca Hammel.

Table sponsors also will be invited to participate in a table naming contest. The table that comes up with the most creative name will participate in an online meeting with Pete Weber, the radio voice of the Nashville Predators, and Dave McGinnis, a former Titans assistant coach, NFL head coach, and the color analyst for Titans Radio.

“Between Dave and Pete, it’s going to be a fun event,” Linville said.

The diocesan Schools Office will launch during the first week of October a social media advertising campaign promoting the event. The ads will feature Catholic school students inviting people to watch the event online on Oct. 27 and talking about why Catholic schools are important to them.

People can join the event online through the website www.dioceseofnashville.com/ace.

Those who make an online donation to support ACE will also have the opportunity to honor a teacher who has been special to them, Linville said. “They’ll be able to leave a message for that teacher and the messages will be delivered during Catholic Schools Week to each of the teachers.”

For more information about the event, the auction, sponsorships or to make a donation, visit www.dioceseofnashville.com/ace. People also can mail a donation to ACE, 2800 McGavock Pike, Nashville, TN, 37214.