Lechleiter to take the helm this summer
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 10, 2014) – The Catholic Education Foundation of Louisville, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the growth and vitality of Catholic education in the Archdiocese of Louisville, officially announced last week that its executive director, Rosemary Bisig Smith, will retire this summer and Richard A. Lechleiter, former Kindred Healthcare executive vice president and chief financial officer, has been hired as president of the foundation.
During her tenure with the Catholic Education Foundation, Smith served as an outstanding advocate for Catholic education, growing the Foundation’s Salute to Catholic School Alumni Dinner and the Salute to THE GAME Luncheon into two of the largest and most profitable fundraising events in the region. In 2013, the dinner raised $560,000 and the luncheon $202,000 for Catholic education grants.
Smith has spent more than 34 years fundraising for the Catholic community. As director of stewardship for the Archdiocese of Louisville from 1990 to 2004, she led the capital campaign for Catholic education that established the seed money for the Catholic Education Foundation. In the 1980s, as director of development at Assumption High School, she raised funds for the school’s first capital campaign and initiated several events that remain today.
Lechleiter, a Louisville native who retired from Kindred in January, served on the Catholic Education Foundation Board from 2006 to 2012, including service as chair of the board during his last two years. He is steeped in the Catholic education tradition, having graduated from Louisville’s Saint Stephen Martyr Elementary and Saint Xavier High School as well as Cincinnati’s Xavier University (summa cum laude).
Lechleiter started his career at Coopers & Lybrand in Louisville, moving to Humana in 1981 and becoming its chief accounting officer in 1990. In 1995, he began a 19-year career at Kindred Healthcare in Louisville, retiring in January as its executive vice president and chief financial officer. During his tenure at Kindred, the company grew from $400 million in annual revenues to over $6 billion, making it the largest post-acute healthcare provider in the United States.
He has been an active leader in the Louisville area, serving on a number of community and civic boards including Saint Xavier High School, Sacred Heart Schools, Lifehouse, Holy Spirit Parish, the Archdiocesan “Building a Future of Hope Campaign” and Stock Yards Bank & Trust Co.
In November 2013, Lechleiter was the recipient of the Benemerenti Medal from Pope Francis for his service to the Catholic Church. In addition, he will be one of six honorees at the 24th Salute to Catholic School Alumni Dinner to be conducted at the Galt House on March 18.
“The Foundation is very blessed to be in this position,” said Brad Rives, Catholic Education Foundation Board Chair and LG&E and KU Energy Chief Administrative Officer. “Rosemary has been a tireless advocate for the Foundation and her ability to raise awareness and funding for this important cause is unparalleled. We will miss her greatly. At the same time, we couldn’t be more fortunate to have Rich succeed her. During his time on the Foundation Board, Rich demonstrated outstanding leadership and great passion for our Catholic education tradition and was tireless in his efforts to expand the role of the Foundation. While Rosemary leaves a great legacy, Rich brings us many talents developed through both his long professional career and his work on behalf of Catholic education.”
The Catholic Education Foundation of Louisville, formed in 1996, supports Catholic education through grants for religious education and technology enhancements for parishes and schools; educator and catechist professional development; and family tuition assistance. Grants have increased from $320,000 in 1999 to $2.1 million in 2013, of which $1.7 million was used for tuition assistance.