WASHINGTON, D.C. – – Georgetown University announced that it received a $6.9 million gift from the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation of Los Angeles to create and name three programs that will enrich the university’s 220-year-old Catholic and Jesuit heritage.
The Leavey Foundation has been a member of FADICA for twenty eight years and its chair, Kathleen Leavey McCarthy, serves on FADICA’s board of directors.
Of the sum, $5 million will provide permanent financial support for the university’s innovative Catholic programs in the Office of Mission and Ministry. The gift will endow programs and a new position that will provide expanded spiritual and educational opportunities for faculty, staff, students and alumni.
Programs will allow participants to gain a deeper understanding of the Catholic and Jesuit traditions from which the university gains its identity. Enhanced programming will build a larger corps within the university community, so members may understand and live out Jesuit values, whatever their faith or role at the university.
Another $1 million will provide need-based scholarship support, with preference to students from Jesuit high schools – including Cristo Rey schools, a national network of Catholic high schools that provide college preparatory education to urban young people who live in communities with limited educational options. Academic programs also will benefit from the Leavey Foundation’s gift, including $900,000 to help Georgetown recruit and retain outstanding Jesuit faculty members through the Leavey Distinguished Jesuit Scholars Fund.
Since its creation in 1952, the Leavey Foundation has donated more than $100 million to beneficiaries in California and throughout the country, a short list of which includes the University of Southern California, Loyola Marymount University, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Catholic Relief Services and Los Angeles’ Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.
After receiving an undergraduate degree from Santa Clara University, California native Thomas Leavey graduated from Georgetown’s Law Center in 1923. He went on to found and to serve as chairman of Farmer’s Group Inc., one of the nation’s biggest property and casualty insurers. His wife, Dorothy, co-founder of the Leavey Foundation, shared his interest in Georgetown. Leavey died in 1980 and his widow died in 1998.
The Leavey tradition at Georgetown is carried on by their daughter Kathleen Leavey McCarthy, who chairs the Leavey Foundation. Her late husband, J. Thomas McCarthy, served on Georgetown’s board of directors, and two of their children, John P. McCarthy and Colleen McCarthy Pennell, graduated from the university in 1984 and 1993, respectively. John McCarthy has served on the FADICA board of directors.
“The trustees of the Leavey Foundation are delighted to support Georgetown with this grant, which we believe goes to the heart of the university,” said Kathleen McCarthy. “Georgetown’s Catholic and Jesuit traditions are what distinguish the institution and keep it vital. We are honored to play a part in strengthening these core values and to help students, faculty and staff put their faith into practice during their time at Georgetown and beyond.”