Stalwarts of Catholic Education to Be Presented the 2018 NCEA Seton Award

The 2018 honorees exemplify the highest qualities among individuals and organizations who are ardent supporters of Catholic education.

Arlington, VA – The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) joyfully announces the honorees of the 2018 NCEA Seton Award. James and Molly Perry of Madison Dearborn Partners (MDP), Kevin Short with Clayton Capital Partners, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D. from the Archdiocese of Louisville, Porto Charities, Inc., in Arlington, Virginia and Women’s Education Alliance from Towson, Maryland, are the recipients of the Seton Award and the Reverend Joseph O’Keefe, SJ, from Fordham University will receive the prestigious 2018 NCEA President’s Award. The honorees will be recognized at the NCEA Seton Awards Gala on October 1, 2018 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Jim and Molly Perry are longtime supporters of better education options for disadvantaged kids. The Perrys, along with a group of generous donors and several seed funders, came together to form One Chance Illinois to push for a statewide tax credit for scholarships for families to send their children to private and religious schools.

Kevin Short devotes his free time to the education of children from low-income families by working to expand educational opportunities and to provide scholarships to families in need so their children can attend K – 8 schools that best meet their needs.

Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz is the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Louisville, and the Most Reverend Joseph E. Kurtz, D.D. Scholarship Fund has been established in honor of the archbishop’s service to the church, broader community and his contributions to the growth and vitality of Catholic education in Louisville and Central Kentucky.

Porto Charities, Inc. (PCI) is an organization dedicated to actively assisting people with developmental or intellectual disabilities. In addition to inclusive education, PCI’s mission includes promoting awareness, friendship and social forums among members, their families and communities.

Women’s Education Alliance (WEA) raises funds to support the children of families who want an academically rigorous education and character formation at any of the four Catholic community schools. To date, more than $1.5 million in scholarships have been awarded to deserving students.

Fordham University’s Reverend Joseph O’Keefe, SJ, is the recipient of the 2018 NCEA President’s Award. As part of the Seton Awards Gala, the President’s Award is presented to honor a professional whose longstanding dedication to Catholic education has enhanced the wellbeing of our nation’s youth and American Catholic schools, in particular. Father O’Keefe is a fellow in the Center for Catholic School Leadership and Faith-Based Education, a scholar-in-residence in the graduate school of education at Fordham University, where he also serves as rector of Ciszek Hall and the community for young Jesuits in formation studies. Father O’Keefe was reappointed by the United States Secretary of Education, John B. King, Jr., to a second term on the National Assessment Governing Board, where he represents the private school community.

For more than a quarter century, NCEA has honored outstanding individuals who have given time, talent and treasure in support of Catholic education. NCEA’s Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Award is named after Mother Seton in recognition of her lifelong dedication to teaching and children. She was the first native-born American saint and is also considered the patron of Catholic schools because of her pioneering work in this mission-driven ministry.

More information about the 2018 NCEA Seton Awards and the inaugural Seton Philanthropy Symposium is available online.


In service of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, NCEA strengthens Catholic school communities by providing professional development, formation, leadership and advocacy.