Helping Catholics Make

a Lasting Difference.

Barbara Bafundo Support Services Scholarship Fund

 

Catholic school has long been a special place for special education teachers, allowing them – with an abiding sense of Christian love — to build meaningful partnerships with families and earnest relationships with students. Often the unsung heroes of Catholic education, these men and women serve at the nucleus of whole-child teaching, meeting students where they are and helping them grow academically, emotionally, and spiritually –even when it’s not easy.

 

Barbara J. Bafundo was one such teacher.

 

A special education teacher by trade, she found her home in parochial schools. While working at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic School from 1993-2003, she taught everything from kindergarten to eighth grade, eventually becoming the Assistant Principal under Dr. Joan Tiernan. Her most meaningful work involved restructuring and formalizing the Support Services Program in the mid-1990s. At its very core, this program celebrated the dignity and personal growth of each student. It made students feel capable and valued and helped keep countless Catholic children with learning differences in Catholic school. In the words of a former student, Blair Tighe ‘97, “it was people like Mrs. Bafundo who kept kids moving forward.” And she really did.

 

Barbara Bafundo passed away on January 10, 2024 after a four-year battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Barbara’s husband, Robert, and children (Beth ’95, Jennifer ’96, and Michael ’99) established this scholarship in her memory. It is awarded to one of “Mrs. B’s kids,” a Support Services student who shows tremendous development and desire to be in Catholic school.

 

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Why We Give: Leaving a Legacy

John and Jenni Weldin

 

Our journey to support the Pregnancy Aid Clinic started with a desire to leave a legacy rather than only provide short-term support.

 

We decided to create an endowment through the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia in order to leave a legacy that would provide support in perpetuity to an organization that is important to both of us. While many focus on creating generational wealth for their family, our priority is generational philanthropy.

 

We are not extremely wealthy people, but as Catholics we strive to be good stewards of our blessings. We saved over a couple of years to start the endowment. During that time, we discussed what organization we wanted the endowment to benefit.

 

We married later in life, and while we remain open to life, we know that it is unlikely we will have any more biological children. We wanted the void of a biological legacy to be filled with this endowment. That plus our ardent support for life led us to the Pregnancy Aid Clinic. We know that the money we contribute each month will ultimately help make a difference in the lives of more children and families than we can begin to imagine.

 

The John and Jenni Weldin Endowment Fund supports the general purpose of Pregnancy Aid Clinic (PAC) in Georgia.

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Story courtesy of the Pregnancy Aid Clinic, originally published in the Spring 2023 newsletter.

Supporting Schools for Generations

Katie Trocheck Abel Scholarship Fund   

 

Catholic schools produce more than just scholars and test scores. Their focus on spiritual formation and Christian community builds lasting and lifelong neighbors, friends, and disciples. One of these disciples was Katie Trocheck Abel.

 

Katie grew up in Avondale Estates and attended St. Thomas More Catholic School. Graduating in 1996, she went on to attend St. Pius X Catholic High School, and after earning a degree in communications and marrying her husband, Mark, Katie returned to the Atlanta area where her two children, Molly and Griffin, would follow in their loving mother’s footsteps, traversing the halls of St. Thomas More Catholic School. It was in the hallways, classrooms, courts, and carpool lines of St. Thomas More where Katie, Mark, Molly, and Griffin would be embraced by their community in times of joy and hardship.

 

After a brief battle with illness, Katie passed away in 2022, and her parents, Kathy and Tom Trocheck, decided to establish a scholarship fund in Katie’s honor. Having seen two generations of children and grandchildren attend St. Thomas More, the Trochecks recognized the value that a loving, Catholic community can provide not only for the enrichment of the mind but also for the development and support of the soul. By creating this scholarship fund, the Trocheck’s hope to recognize worthy students who will also benefit from the lasting impact that being a part of the St. Thomas More community provided to their daughter.

 

Katie Trocheck Abel was a selfless member of her community. Having herself served as a consistent volunteer at the school and after building lifelong friendships within the St. Thomas More family, today Katie’s legacy lives on in support of the church and school which embraced her family in its darkest moments. As a result of her parents’ generous donation, many donations from family and friends, and partnership with the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia, now more children will have the opportunity to grow up in a community surrounded by the faith-filled disciples of Christ who offered so much to Katie in her life.

 

Give to the Katie Trocheck Abel Scholarship Fund