SLUH’s Cashbah 20/20 Vision auction, despite unusual circumstances and logistical challenges, achieved unprecedented success in preserving the school’s longstanding tradition of providing need-blind admission. The April 3-4 virtual event, co-chaired by current parents Carol Andrew and Martha McArthur, grossed more than $1 million in support of financial aid at SLUH.
“This was the first virtual event in our auction’s 51-year history, and our community rallied to meet the need in a time of anxiety and uncertainty,” says President Alan Carruthers. “We’re incredibly grateful to our sponsors, alumni, parents, benefactors and friends who stepped up to support our Jesuit mission of admitting all qualified young men regardless of their families’ economic circumstances.”
In mid-March, SLUH decided to move Cashbah to an online experience to ensure the health and well-being of its community. The school embraced the new format by offering free registration and encouraging everybody, including out-of-town alumni, to bid on items and donate. Remarkably, 1,818 people signed up, surpassing the goal of 1,500 registrants.
The event ran from Friday, April 3 at 5:00 p.m. through Saturday, April 4 at 9:00 p.m. Some auction highlights, among many others, include:
- The St. Jean de Brebeuf Jesuit Community, which includes Jesuits from SLUH, DeSmet and Saint Louis University, celebrated a livestream Mass on April 2 to kick off Cashbah the following day. They continue to offer daily Mass online (learn more at www.sluh.org/mass).
- Alumni and parents celebrated #Cashbah2020 while adhering to social distancing protocols by creating virtual happy hours in spaces like Google Hangouts and Zoom.
- Registrants were invited to create a custom SLUH experience in the comfort of their own home by enjoying restaurants, movies, TV shows and books associated with Jr. Bill alumni and event sponsors as they bid on items.
- In order to meet the need for financial aid, “Fund-a-Need” needed to raise at least $425,000, more than had ever been achieved during a live auction. The SLUH community across the country rose to the challenge and made commitments of $472,613.
- Academy award-winning producer Michael Beugg ‘81 provided virtual encouragement to Cashbah attendees, and the event was hosted by the charismatic Jesuit Scholastic and SLUH faculty member Michael Mohr, SJ. Their delightful videos, as well as testimonials from students and families, remain available at www.sluh.org/cashbah2020.
All Cashbah proceeds benefit SLUH’s robust financial aid program, which is designed to meet at least 100 percent of a families’ demonstrated need. Currently, Jr. Bills represent 86 zip codes and 168 grade schools, on both sides of the river. Since 2008, the amount of direct aid has tripled, and the number of students benefiting from that aid has doubled. Today, SLUH offers $4.1 million in aid to 40 percent of its students. The average amount of aid is roughly half of tuition.
“Our families can rest assured that we continue to be in a strong position of supporting them despite the economic climate or their personal situations,” says Carruthers. “We are blessed to balance a high level of excellence with affordability, thanks to all those who support our mission. Love triumphs over fear every time.”