20 Years of Fulcrum: Embracing Our Legacy

June 28, 2022

This article, originally published in the Fulcrum Foundation Annual Report 2005, is part of our “20 Years of Fulcrum” series. 

For Mike and Mary Lee, their first thoughts about the Fulcrum Foundation were, “that sounds like a good idea, but we are already supporting Catholic education.” Catholic schools are a legacy for the Lee family. They have contributed generously to Catholic schools for years. Given that long tradition, Mike, Mary, and their extended family always felt they were contributing to Catholic education by helping their own alma maters and their children’s schools. 

Yet, as time went on, they learned about the schools at risk of closing because local financial support was just not enough. They learned that hundreds, even thousands, of children were unable to attend Catholic school because too little financial aid was available. Then they learned that the Fulcrum Foundation had a plan to keep Catholic schools open–now and long into the future. 

“We recognized that the need reaches far beyond our former schools or our children’s schools,” explains Mike Lee. “For Catholic education in the archdiocese to survive and grow, we have to think about all of the schools and provide a long-term solution to keep them open.” 

To affirm their commitment to Catholic education, Mike and Mary chose to take a leadership role and to chair the Fulcrum Foundation’s historic capital campaign: Embracing Our Legacy, Endowing the Future of Catholic Schools. Now in its silent phase, the campaign will raise money for endowments that will secure the future of the Archdiocese of Seattle’s Catholic schools. 

“We are honored to serve as chairs of this critical cause and pleased to work on behalf of a campaign so important to the people of this archdiocese,” states Mary Lee. 

As chairs of the Embracing Our Legacy campaign, the Lees are building a committed leadership team that will work to raise $35 million for two endowments: one for tuition assistance for students ($25 million) and the other for assistance to schools in need ($10 million). In addition, another $5 million will be raised for immediate assistance to children and schools at present levels until the endowments are fully funded over the next five years. When the campaign succeeds in building the endowments, the Fulcrum Foundation will be able to provide more than 1,200 tuition assistance grants and more than $500,000 in assistance to schools to need annually. 

The success of the Embracing Our Legacy campaign for the Fulcrum Foundation will ensure that financial aid will continue to be available to families that want to send their children to Catholic schools; that schools in need will be provided support to continue to serve their communities; and, most importantly, that through education provided by these schools, the legacy of Catholic education will be carried on through our children and future generations throughout the archdiocese. 

Fulcrum Snapshot: 2005 

Executive Director: Joe Womac 
Total Tuition Assistance Disbursed: $484,350 
Total School Assistance Disbursed: $615,000 
Total Leadership Training Funding Disbursed: $14,577