Brian Williams donates $50,000 to save Mater Dei Prep
A South Jersey prep school in danger of closing has received a sizable donation from suspended NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams.
Williams, a 1977 graduate of Mater Dei Prep, made a $50,000 donation to the Catholic high school during Saturday night's Save the Seraphs Gala, according to the Asbury Park Press. Williams attended the event with his wife, Jane, at Shore Casino in Atlantic Highlands. According to the Asbury Park Press, "the event sold out, with 464 people paying $125 apiece for tickets. It raised $95,000 for The Seraph's Fund, which brought the fundraising campaign's total to $990,000."
The 50-year-old school needed to raise $1 million in two months in order to keep from shutting it's doors in June when the school year ends. In February, Rev. Jeff Kegley, pastor of St. Mary Church in Middletown,announced that the school would be shut down in June due to "severe multi-year deficits and a $1 million shortfall for the current school year. Enrollment numbers had recently seen some growth, but have not stabilized to the point of sufficiently supporting the school's viability," according to a letter on the school's website. After the "outpouring of support from the school and parish" The Rev. Kegley and the Parish Finance Council agreed to give the school two months to raise the funds needed to save the school.
Last week, the Seraph's Fund was granted 501(c)3 status so that it could collect donations toward keeping the school open. Once adequate funds are collected, school officials will look to split the school from the parish in order to keep it open, which, according to the Asbury Park Press, will require approval from the Archdiocese of Trenton.
Prior to his suspension from NBC, Williams, a 55-year-old Middletown native, told the publication that he was "heartbroken" about the possibility of his alma mater closing.
"I will be highly interested in any attempt to save this great Monmouth County institution," he told the APP.
Williams was suspended for six months without pay in February after he apologized for going on the air and claiming he was in a helicopter that had been hit by a grenade in 2003 while covering the Iraq War. It was later revealed by veterans who had been involved in the incident that he was not in the helicopter that was hit, but in a group of helicopters when another was hit.
NBC'S Brian Williams makes big donation to save Mater Dei / Asbury Park Press