A hotel entrepreneur is donating $16 million to Catholic schools in northwestern Indiana.
The gift from White Lodging founder and CEO Bruce White and his wife, Beth, aims to boost access to technology, curriculum support and financial aid through a new community partner.
The Big Shoulders Fund in Chicago will provide support to help make those efforts possible in northern Lake County’s Catholic schools, aiming to first serve families in Gary, Hammond, East Chicago, Munster, Merrillville, Griffith, Highland and Whiting, The Times reported.
The Bruce and Beth White Family Foundation’s gift is expected to bring operational and academic support directly to 10 elementary and high schools in the Diocese of Gary, benefiting about 3,300 students.
Founded in 1986, Big Shoulders works with more than 75 Chicago schools serving about 20,000 children. Eighty percent are minorities and 66 percent live in poverty. The group said its schools have a 94% graduation rate, compared with an Illinois state average of 85 percent.
Bruce White is the son of Dean White, the billionaire founder of Whiteco Advertising, who died in 2016 with a net worth of about $2.5 billion.
White Lodging owns or operates dozens of hotels, including at least seven in the Indianapolis area.