FALL RIVER - Larry Lucchino, the president and chief executive officer of the Boston Red Sox, will be the guest speaker at the 15th annual St. Mary's Education Fund Fall Dinner on Tuesday, December 1, at White's of Westport.
Proceeds from the evening support the St. Mary's Education Fund, which provides need-based scholarships to students at Catholic elementary and middle schools in the Fall River diocese.
Lucchino has managed the daily operations of the Red Sox franchise since his arrival in Boston in winter 2002 as part of a new Sox ownership group.
As Red Sox Nation knows, it was during his tenure that the team ended its 86 year championship drought, winning the World Series in 2004 and then again in 2007.
Lucchino has spent 30 years in Major League Baseball, serving at one time as president of the Baltimore Orioles and later the San Diego Padres during which time team won the pennant.
His overall game-winning record as a baseball executive is but one measure of his success in the sport and beyond. With his vision for Oriole Park at Camden Yards and Petco Park in San Diego, he is credited with helping create ballparks that have improved fan experience, boosted attendance, and contributed to the revitalization of urban areas.
In Boston, with the Sox ownership group committed to saving Fenway Park, Lucchino oversaw a number of successful renovations that provided expanded seating, new concourse areas, and enhanced infrastructure while maintaining the feel and charm of the legendary ballpark and respecting the environs.
As president of each franchise, Lucchino established a team charitable foundation to strengthen its philanthropic support of the community. He is personally involved in numerous civic and charitable efforts.
E. Dennis Kelly, president and CEO of Bristol County Savings Bank and Bristol County Charitable Foundation, has agreed to again serve as the chairman of the Fall Dinner, and he thinks that Lucchino makes an ideal speaker for the event.
"The Red Sox organization has certainly had extraordinary success with Lucchino at the helm," he said, "but beyond that, led by Lucchino, the organization has transcended the baseball field to serve an important role within the community. As a charitable foundation, the Sox are out front. Lucchino epitomizes the ideal of giving back to the community."
It is that sense of giving back to those in need that is at the heart of the purpose of the Fall Dinner and the St. Mary's Education Fund it supports, Kelly explained.
The dinner is one of only two yearly fund-raising events for the St. Mary's Fund, which within the current school year is distributing over $605,000 in partial tuition aid to 726 students attending Catholic schools in the diocese.
"By far the majority of those students would not be in our local Catholic schools without financial assistance from the St. Mary's Education Fund," said Diocesan Development Director Mike Donly, who oversees the fund disbursement process.
He added that the job losses and employment uncertainty of this recessionary economy has made it harder for more and more families to afford a Catholic education for their children.
Kelly and volunteer lay committees in four areas of the diocese are now reaching out to businesses and individuals to extend an invitation to sponsor a table or purchase at ticket for the Fall Dinner in support of tuition assistance.
Leading the area committees are, in Attleboro, Paul Lenahan; in Fall River, Nick Christ; in New Bedford, Gary Fealy; and in Taunton, Harry Rose.
Those interested in supporting the Fall Dinner or obtaining more information on the St. Mary's Education Fund, should contact Kelly, any area committee chair, or Donly who may be reached at the Diocesan Development Office at 508-675-1311.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.