Notre Dame Alumnus Throws Down Challenge To “Making Our Kids World Ready”

| February 18, 2016

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By Dyann Nashton

For some, personal history and values converge at a point that can change the future for others. One Notre Dame High School alumnus recently found himself in that very place. Terence Darby graduated from Notre Dame in Utica in 1971 and went on to a career in finance.

Now, Darby and his family have decided to give back to his hometown through a matching gift to Notre Dame’s capital campaign, “Making Our Kids World Ready.” Darby has challenged Notre Dame, St. Francis de Sales High School and Utica Catholic Academy’s alumni to join him in supporting the effort by donating up to $250,000 for every dollar raised.

“I gave to Notre Dame because I wanted to give back to an institution that really helped me in my life. I think if I had not been to Notre Dame, I would not be where I am today,” he said. Darby has been successful in investment development and strategies for the independent power and utilities sectors.

And while Notre Dame’s management team and board has been working hard to meet this challenge, Darby decided to extend the generosity further to the country’s youth, including those throughout the Syracuse Diocese.

Darby created a World Youth Day Scholarship Fund through a crowdfunding not-for-profit, The Charitable Exchange. Money contributed to the fund will be matched up to $50,000. Then, 30 youth, seminarians and newly ordained priests and religious will be able to make the pilgrimage to World Youth Day in Krakow, Poland, in July 2016. The hope is to send 22 students and eight seminarians or newly ordained priests from each diocese.

The scholarships will be allocated in dioceses that have special places in the heart of the Darby family: The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which is where they reside throughout the year; the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey, where they live and worship in the summers, and the Diocese of Syracuse, Darby’s original diocese.

Superintendent William Crist said that excitement around the project started “from the very first conversation.” He added, “From the Bishop right on down, we kind of blinked our eyes because it is such a wonderful opportunity for any of the diocese’s kids to attend World Youth.”

Wife Anna Darby-Matteoda said the idea of the fund began after they happened to be traveling through Italy one year during World Youth Day. “We heard from the people there and others what a meaningful experience it was for teens,” she said. “We started to think about how we could help.”

“We want to get young people—and a lot of young people—in touch with Christ and bring them together to share in the Catholic culture. Young people are very compassionate and idealistic and you have to harness that. It is a noble thing,” Anna said.

World Youth Day traces its beginnings to 1984 when Pope John Paul II invited the youth to an international jubilee on Palm Sunday in St. Peter’s Square. Approximately 300,000 young people from around the world attended the event. A similar youth pilgrimage to Rome was held the following year. Later, the first official World Youth Day was scheduled for 1996.

In a pontifical message, Pope Francis asks the youth to prepare themselves for the upcoming World Youth Day by contemplating the 6th Beatitude, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8). Pope Francis said, “Dear young friends, this search for happiness is shared by people of all times and all ages. God has placed in the heart of every man and woman an irrepressible desire for happiness, for fulfillment. Have you not noticed that your hearts are restless, always searching for a treasure which can satisfy their thirst for the infinite?”

It appears in this particular case, the prayers of our youth and their restless hearts have been answered by the treasure shared with them by the Darby family.

Anna said that crowdfunding is a modern way to reach out to donors “by using the numbers game.” She said that gaining a following through social media will help illustrate that “many small gifts really do help.” To make a donation or learn more about the World Youth Day Scholarship Fund, visit www.charitableexchange.org. Funds raised on the web site will be matched dollar for dollar.

Dyann Nashton is the development director of Notre Dame Schools.

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Category: Stewardship

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