LORAS RECEIVES $1M DONATION (part of $4.5 million given within the Archdiocese of Dubuque)

A record-breaking gift, totaling $4.5 million will be given to five entities within the Archdiocese of Dubuque.  The parishes of St. Jude and St. Patrick in Cedar Rapids, as well as Loras College in Dubuque, Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, will each receive $1 million. Cedar Rapids Xavier High School will receive $500,000. This is the largest gift in its scope in that five organizations within the Archdiocese of Dubuque are recipients of the gift.
                                                       
The primary philanthropic emphasis of this pledge is in the areas of education financial aid for K-12 Catholic education in Cedar Rapids & Catholic post-secondary education, retiring parish debt, and enhancing technology in classrooms. Additional financial assistance will include support for seminarians and retired priests who dedicated a portion of their lives to serving the parishes of St. Jude and St. Patrick. “We just want to do the Lord’s work,” states Mike Cambridge, age 75, who, along with his wife Jo, are behind this historic gift to the institutions within the Archdiocese.
 
Mike explains, “Over the years, I invested a lot of time and money in the stock market, at one point having investments in over 75 companies all on his own, and was very lucky to miss most of the bad times over 25 years of investing.” Cambridge continues that he simply wants to give back to his church, his alma mater and those places he values that educate the future leaders of the Church, state and nation. “I have attended daily Mass for the last 25 years and over that time, our financial fortunes began to change as well,” Cambridge said. “The reason to make this ‘ten-year pledge’ public is to encourage and challenge others to give and beat the record of $4.5 million.  I expect and hope this record will be broken soon.” He estimates there are 300 Catholic families in the Archdiocese of Dubuque that are in the top 1% of earners and 25 of those families have been in that tier over 10 years running. He prays they accept this challenge.
 
Father Mark Reasoner of St. Jude Parish, where the Cambridges are members, states, “I was not surprised by their generosity and support for our parish and our Catholic schools, as it witnesses to their faith and understanding of how God has blessed them and has blessed everyone with gifts that are to be shared according to one’s ability.  When I heard of this gift, my first thoughts were how this will help greatly in our ability and efforts to reach out and take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to more people and build up God’s Church.”  
 
Assisting those in need through the blessings they have received comes naturally for the Cambridges.
 
The need could not be more evident in perhaps any other parish than St. Patrick, which was devastated after the 2008 flooding in Cedar Rapids.  “After barely surviving the flood of 2008, St. Patrick Parish has worked tirelessly for the last seven years to get to back on its feet.  The $1,000,000 gift will help the parish move beyond the flood reconstruction phase and seek to embrace Pope Francis’ call that Catholics are to bring the Gospel of Christ to our local neighborhoods,” remarked Fr. Ivan Nienhaus, pastor at St. Patrick, “the Parish is grateful for their support and generosity.” 
 
The gifts to Loras College, Mount Mercy University and Xavier High School will be used for various initiatives that benefit students at each institution, including establishing scholarships (Loras College and Mount Mercy University), upgrading facilities (Mount Mercy University) and improving student technology (Xavier High School) among other programs.
 
 “Mike and Jo have been great supporters of Loras, and this selfless contribution further illustrates their deep commitment to Mike’s alma mater, and their strong belief in the quality of a Catholic liberal arts education,” states Loras College President, Jim Collins. “This generous gift will ensure future generations of Duhawks the opportunity to enroll at Loras College and reap the benefits of the values that are developed here.”
 
“Mount Mercy is incredibly blessed to receive such a generous gift,” said Mount Mercy University President Laurie Hamen. “Because of Mike and Jo, the University community will continue to see positive growth in the school’s most significant areas. This gift will affect students on many levels, and we just can’t express our gratitude enough.”
 
“We are truly grateful for this wonderful gift from Mike and Jo Cambridge,” states Xavier High School principal, Tom Keating. “As a result of their generosity, our students will enjoy enhanced learning spaces and access to the latest technology tools needed to develop and utilize their digital skills.  In addition, through an enhanced tuition assistance endowment, a Xavier education will be possible for those students needing financial assistance.  Through their philanthropy, Mike and Jo have demonstrated a phenomenal commitment to Catholic education!”
 
The Cambridges are strong supporters of school choice, particularly Catholic schools as evidenced by this gift. “We feel it is vital to support these schools and the families who want to send their children to those schools,” states Mike. “Not only do they provide a world-class education and faith-based spiritual program, but between state and local taxes, save Iowa taxpayers over $350 million annually.”
 
The Cambridges have been married 53 years and have spent their lives in the Cedar Rapids area. Mike and Jo graduated from St. Patrick High School in Cedar Rapids in 1959.  Mike graduated from Loras College with a B.A. in Economics in 1963.  Jo received an honorary degree from Mount Mercy University in 2015. Mike started his professional career working for 13 years at both Link-Belt Speeder/FMC and Rockwell Goss. Mike worked primarily in the human resources industry for 13 years before he and Jo started Cambridge Staffing/Tempositions in 1979 with offices in Davenport, Iowa City, Cedar Falls, Dubuque and Cedar Rapids. Their home office was in Cedar Rapids, where they built a new office in 1979. They sold the business in 2012 to QPS-Wisconsin Company. During their 33 years in the staffing business, they placed more than 75,000 Eastern Iowans in either full-time jobs or temporary positions.
 
Mike and Jo have three children, Jim, John and Chris; who graduated from Cedar Rapids LaSalle High School in the 1980’s, and have four grandchildren.

Loras Pillar