St. Thomas More High School proudly announces that the school’s virtual auction event and one-day online fundraising campaign has raised over $180,000 to support school operations and student scholarships. Traditionally an in-person event with over 400 guests, the 2020 Dinner Auction, the More-ing 20s, was transitioned to a virtual format to better ensure the safety of the school community during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Supported by a committee of volunteers who spent seven months soliciting items, sponsorships, and advertisers for the event, the St. Thomas More Dinner Auction represents the school’s largest annual fundraising event. Under normal circumstances, the event welcomes alumni, parents, and other members of the school community to St. Thomas More for dinner, drinks, and fellowship. Before dinner, guests can bid on over 200 silent auction items through the GiveSmart online platform, and during the dinner program, the school auctions off special items and experiences available exclusively for our event attendees.
“The decision to transition the STM Dinner Auction to a virtual event was disappointing but necessary,” Event Coordinator and Alumni Director Dan Steffes (TM ’03) said regarding the cancellation of the event, which had been scheduled for March 21, 2020. “We know how much our guests look forward to attending the Dinner Auction. It’s more than a fundraising event – it’s a yearly family reunion. We didn’t know what to expect in terms of bidder engagement in the virtual event, and the results surpassed our highest expectations.”
In the event’s traditional format, at the conclusion of the dinner program, St. Thomas More asks guests to raise their paddles to contribute to the school’s Fund the Future campaign. All donations to this campaign fund scholarships for St. Thomas More students, which will be especially important during the economic turmoil caused by COVID-19.
This year’s Fund the Future campaign transformed into a one-day virtual fundraiser driven by video testimonials from STM teachers, staff, and administrators. Branded “Fund the Future Friday,” the campaign shared short video messages throughout the day from president Mary McIntosh; principal Nic Kelly; servant leadership director and teacher Mike Greuel; board member and Milwaukee Admirals president Jon Greenberg and his daughter, Caroline (STM ’21); and Steffes on the school’s social media pages.
In each video, these St. Thomas More stakeholders explained why a Catholic education should be accessible to everyone who wants one, and how each contribution on Fund the Future Friday can make a difference in the lives of St. Thomas More students.
“This was the most unique event I’ve ever been involved with.” said Greenberg, who also co-chaired the school’s auction committee. “To see how both the St. Thomas More community and the community at-large came together was inspirational.”
“We are ever grateful to our community of supporters who really showed their school spirit and generosity by helping to make this one of the most financially successful events that we have ever had,” added Greenberg’s co-chair and current STM parent, Jeanne Winiarski.
Former St. Thomas More president and principal Tom Knitter, who was to be the honoree at this year’s auction dinner, will instead receive the Chancellor Award, which recognizes impactful, longstanding members of the school community, at St. Thomas More’s 150th Anniversary and All-School Reunion in June 2021. St. Thomas More will share more information about this event in the coming months.
To contribute to the Fund the Future campaign at St. Thomas More High School, visit tmore.org/donate.