The gift is in honor of Zach Perry's legacy to continue elevating the Cristo Rey movement.
December 3, 2020 – CHICAGO – Today, the Cristo Rey Network and member schools Cristo Rey Jesuit High School (Chicago), Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep (Waukegan), and Christ the King Jesuit College Prep (Chicago) announce with deep gratitude that the Perry Family Charitable Foundation has made an extraordinary $4 million gift to the movement.
The gift is in honor of Zach Perry, who died of leukemia earlier this year, and will be shared equally among the national office and three greater Chicagoland area schools.
"This gift, and the Perry family, reflect the impression that Zach left with anyone he encountered – consistently kind without seeking or expecting praise, a generous spirit, and unconditional love for one's neighbor," said Antonio Ortiz, President of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School. "It is an honor to carry Zach's legacy in the hopes and dreams of our courageous students."
To be used at the discretion of each recipient's management and board, the gift will partially offset the financial hardship resulting from COVID-19, which has impacted the Corporate Work Study Program and Cristo Rey families.
"We are humbled and appreciative for the family's $4 million gift during this unforeseen time of challenges," said Cristo Rey Network President and CEO Elizabeth Goettl. "Their confidence in our mission is affirming and will ensure the continued success of our 12,300 deserving young men and women across 37 Cristo Rey schools."
Since the flagship school, Cristo Rey Jesuit, was founded 25 years ago, the Perry family has been an instrumental partner in the advancement of the mission locally and nationally. Zach's parents, Marty and Barbara Perry, have been active in the Cristo Rey movement as local Corporate Work Study Program job sponsors, trustees, and donors. Chris and Kathy Perry, Zach's godparents, have also been active as job sponsors, trustees, and donors. Chris served as Chairperson of the Board for Cristo Rey Jesuit and most recently as Chairperson of the Board of Trustees for Cristo Rey St. Martin. Currently, he serves on the national Board of Directors of the Cristo Rey Network.
Cristo Rey St. Martin President Preston Kendall said, "It is difficult to imagine two other individuals who have played a more significant role in making quality education available to students from low-income communities, especially in the Chicagoland area, than Chris and Kathy Perry. Their commitment to the success of Cristo Rey schools is unrivaled. Chris' leadership transformed Cristo Rey St. Martin into one of the highest performing schools in the Cristo Rey Network. His and Kathy's generosity ensure that Cristo Rey students can follow their dreams for generations to come. We are incredibly grateful."
The Perry family's demonstrated promise and commitment to Cristo Rey is evident, and Zach's legacy will have a transformational impact on the lives of thousands of students and families.
"With this remarkably generous gift, the Perry family sends a bold message of belief in the young women and men of our community, ensuring that their futures are full of boundless opportunities," remarked Clem Martin, President of Christ the King. "On behalf of the entire Christ the King Jesuit College Prep community, especially our students and their families, I extend my sincere gratitude to the Perry family for making this profound investment in our mission on the West Side of Chicago."