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National fundraising day for New Orleans' St Augustine High School kicks off Tuesday

Give Purple Day, the annual fundraiser for New Orleans' historic Black Catholic all-boys high school, aims to raise $650,000.

(St Augustine High School)

Give Purple Day, the annual fundraiser supporting JosephitesSt Augustine High School in New Orleans, is taking place all day Tuesday, June 14th online and throughout the city.

Promotional messages have been shared online by the historic all-boys Black Catholic high school throughout the past several weeks, following an announcement of the date in late April.

This year’s fundraiser aims to raise $650,000—a 10% increase from last year's goal, which was surpassed by more than $30,000.

“It takes all of us,” said St Augustine president and CEO Aulston Taylor, whose interim tag was lifted on June 1st after a year on the job.

“We're urging everyone to spread the word about our campaign, which ensures our scholars can achieve success!”

One new aspect of this year’s event is the introduction of the St Augustine Father’s Day Recognition Scholarship, which will be awarded to a deserving student for the 2022-23 academic year.

“The Scholarship Recognition Certificate will be titled in the father or father figure's name,” said Taylor in an announcement.

The school is asking for a minimum donation of $500 from those interested in supporting the new initiative.

The school has become known throughout the country in the past year-plus for producing well-known figures in a variety of fields, including business, education, sports, and the arts. Perhaps chief among them is Jon Batiste, who won the top award at the 2022 Grammys just days after the Give Purple Day giving period began.

The school’s marching band was featured on 60 Minutes in March of last year, just weeks before Batiste took home an Oscar for his work on the soundtrack for Disney’s “Soul” and a month after two of the school’s alumni competed against one another in the Super Bowl.

In April of that year, the school also honored the dozen Purple Knights who have gone on to become Catholic priests, including one of the nation’s youngest in Fr Ajani Gibson of St Peter Claver Catholic Church in New Orleans.

Earlier this year, the school announced a partnership with LG Electronics, in which the South Korean company will commit $150,000 to the school, part of which the school will use to create a new state-of-the-art athletics facility.

Their current basketball court and gym were damaged in a fire last Thanksgiving, and renovations of campus offices are also underway this summer.

Businesses throughout New Orleans are partnering with the school to contribute a portion of proceeds toward Give Purple Day. Several are Black-owned, two of which—Jas Venue and the Bourbon Square Jazz Bar—will also serve alongside the school's campus as satellite locations for receiving direct donations.

Those interested in supporting Give Purple Day online can do so at this link. All donations received before the end of the day tomorrow will count toward the Give Purple Day fundraising goal.

Nate Tinner-Williams is co-founder and editor of Black Catholic Messenger, a seminarian with the Josephites, and a ThM student with the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA).

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