“I deeply appreciate the gift of having my group of friends from high school and college still together and all united in what I consider a second gift – the pursuit of our charity’s cause of giving needy families educational opportunities similar to those we had,” said Neil Lanzi, President of GB Charities.
Since its founding, GB Charities has supported approximately 40 Catholic schools, helping more than 1,300 students and providing $4 million dollars in tuition assistance. As part of its mission, the charity recently established six endowment funds with the Catholic Community Foundation in support of tuition assistance for Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Maryvale Preparatory School, Notre Dame Preparatory School, St. Ignatius Loyola Academy, Calvert Hall College High School and Loyola Blakefield.
GB Charities officially formed in 1992, but the history of this special group of friends began long before that, back in their high school days. Most of them attended Calvert Hall, though some students from Loyola Blakefield and Towson Catholic were also part of the original group. They went on to college, yet always remained close, reuniting on a regular basis at Jerry’s Belvedere on York Road. It all began as a social thing, but then became much more.
“We realized how invaluable the experience of attending a Catholic school was. We wanted to do something good, something meaningful, and came up with helping educate disadvantaged children. It was a way to keep the group together and give back at the same time,” said Rick Bozel, a founding member of GB Charities.
Chuck Stembler, Principal at Calvert Hall, one of the schools whose students will benefit from these funds, believes this makes the difference between whether or not certain families will be able to send their son to Calvert Hall. He said, “Without that money, there’s no way some of our students would be here. We believe that a diverse environment really enriches our community. We say to all our students, ‘We want to have people here who are just like you and people who are not like you at all.’”
James Sellinger, Chancellor of Education for the Archdiocese said, “Access to the quality, values-oriented education offered by our Catholic schools, not only changes the life of the beneficiary, but also impacts our community as whole. Our schools’ students go out into the world well-grounded in how to lead a life filled with compassion. They know how to look beyond themselves and focus on the greater good. Our friends who created GB Charities are a living example of that.”