by Mark Carter
Posted 10/10/2013 02:28 pm
Updated 10 months ago
Little Rock's Catholic High School for Boys announced on Thursday a $10 million donation to its capital campaign from a group that includes Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, San Francisco 49ers chairman John York and an anonymous school alumnus.
The group includes Gene and Jerry Jones Family Charities of Dallas and Denise and John York of San Francisco. Jones, who was born in Los Angeles but grew up in North Little Rock, is a past contributor to Catholic High and sent his two sons to the school: Stephen Jones graduated in 1983 and Jerry Jones Jr. in 1988. Both work in executive positions with the Cowboys.
In addition, Shy Anderson, married to Jerry Jones' daughter and Cowboys executive Charlotte, graduated from Catholic High in 1981.
York is a 1967 graduate of the school.
"Words cannot express how humbled we are by the three families' contributions and all the donations we've already received during our capital campaign," said CHS principal Steve Straessle in a news release. "This challenge is inspiring, and we look forward to reaching our goal of $15 million to continue the necessary renovations."
The capital campaign is responsible for recent improvements at the private school, including the installation of new windows and the renovation of its athletic field, gymnasium and cafeteria.
Future projects will include technology integration, mechanical system improvements and classroom upgrades, the school said.
Jones built a successful oil-and-gas exploration firm in Little Rock before purchasing the Cowboys in 1989 for $140 million. Forbes estimates the team's worth at $2.3 billion, and places the Cowboys at the top of its list of the most valuable NFL teams.
Forbes estimates the 49ers' worth at $1.2 billion, placing the franchise at No. 10 on the list. York owns the team and is its co-chair with his wife Denise DeBartolo York.
Jones, who attended high school in North Little Rock, said he sent his sons to Catholic because of the school's "impeccable reputation" and the leadership of former principal Father George Tribou, who died in 2001.
"He was a mentor to my sons and also to me, and his commitment to educating and disciplining young men had a wonderful impact on several generations," he said in a statement. "His presence at CHS remains very strong and serves as the inspiration for our family's gift and those of many others who will participate in this campaign."
A previous gift from York helped the school build its current math and science building. York said the capital campaign will help ensure that future generations receive the same quality education and experience he received at Catholic High.
"Just being a part of the Catholic High history and tradition is an honor," he said.
The current campaign represents the first major fundraising effort since the school moved to its current Midtown location in the 1960s. The school, affiliated with the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock, has roughly 700 boys -- including ARK Challenge winner Josh Moody -- enrolled in grades 9-12. It was founded in 1930.