Thirty-Fifth Annual Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children Gala to Honor New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center President Hugh Weber

The Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children (SFIC) will have a piece of “The Rock” in attendance when it hosts its 35th Annual Gala on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at The Venetian in Garfield, NJ.

Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark, and many loyal supporters and friends of the SFIC will present Hugh Weber, President of Prudential Center and the New Jersey Devils, with the Vitae Discimus (“We Teach By Our Lives”) Award for the organization’s support of inner-city education.

In addition, Polly and Terry O’Toole, residents of Short Hills, will receive the SFIC’s “Archbishop Peter L. Gerety Award,” named in honor of the SFIC founder, for their generous support of SFIC and tireless efforts to support the educational needs of the neediest students without regard to age, gender, ethnicity or faith.

SFIC is the Archdiocese of Newark’s nonprofit organization that empowers economically disadvantaged children to use education to overcome enormous odds and escape the vicious cycle of poverty.

Rev. Edwin Leahy, OSB, Headmaster at St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, will serve as this year’s Honorary Gala Chairman.

“There has never been a more important time in our history to find new ways to support our neediest children,” said Gerry O’Connor, SFIC Executive Director. “The SFIC is privileged to assist almost 1,500 students each year. Unfortunately, that accounts for just half of the applications we receive from families who want to send their children to our schools instead of inner-city public schools that often fail challenges to meet even basic academic and safety standards.

“Our goal is to ensure that no child is denied an opportunity to learn,” O’Connor said. “The Gala is our ‘Tiffany’ fundraising event. We hope that this year’s event will be our most successful fundraiser yet, so that we can meet the needs of even more families for the next school year.”

“I am honored to partner with a group of committed people who are working tirelessly to improve the lives of children,” said Hugh Weber, President of Harris Blizter Sports & Entertainment, which includes in its portfolio the New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center. “The ability to bring attention to initiatives that transform lives through the power of sports and entertainment has been a critical part of our mission and will continue to define how Prudential Center and The New Jersey Devils engage in the community. We are proud to use our platform and the resources of our employees in support of The Scholarship Fund for Inner City Children and their important mission to improve educational opportunities for children.”

“The Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children’s legacy of empowering students to achieve their full potential is unparalleled, and we are profoundly honored to receive the Archbishop Peter L. Gerety Award,” said Terry and Polly O’Toole. “By expanding educational opportunities for these children, the fund is making a remarkable impact on our community. We share the belief that access to great education changes lives, and it’s our hope to one day see these programs being replicated in cities across the country.”

SFIC Student Ambassadors will greet guests to this evening that includes an hour of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, followed by a delicious dinner reception and live auction. All evening long, guests will be entertained by the renowned Tim McLoone & The Shirleys.

Since 1984, The Scholarship Fund for Inner-City Children has provided more than $40 million in partial-tuition scholarships, giving more than 50,000 children of all faiths and backgrounds a high-quality, value-based education at private and parochial schools within The Archdiocese of Newark.

“The secret to the success of parochial schools is no secret,” says Tony Linn, Chairman of the SFIC Board of Trustees. “They devote themselves to the whole child. Many of these children come from homes and communities where they have to navigate a variety of issues and outside influences. The safe and nurturing environments that our inner-city parochial schools provide are conducive to learning, overcoming fear and building self-worth.

“I know in my heart and see each day the remarkable success of SFIC and our scholarship recipients,” says Linn. “Because parents and students are so grateful for the opportunity our donors provide, they are more participatory. Last year, the Daily Attendance Rate for SFIC Scholarship Recipients was 98 percent at the elementary level and 97 percent at the high school level. However, two statistics exemplify the SFIC’s impact: 100 percent of our high school seniors graduated on time — and 97 percent now attend major colleges or universities. It proves what we all know to be true: When you embrace a child, help him or her change limiting beliefs, educate and encourage to positive life choices — he or she can accomplish anything.”

To become a sponsor, donate an auction item or learn more about attending the event, please contact Barbara Cortes at 973-297-4278, or register online by visiting