Quality education draws sponsors to Steps for Students

December 11, 2018

Thousands of families participate in the Steps for Students 5K Race, which is set for Feb. 16, 2019. Register now at www.steps4students.org. File photo by James Ramos/Herald.

HOUSTON — ’Tis the season for charitable giving! One of the largest events in our Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is Steps for Students. This 5K walk/run, set for Feb. 16, is a celebratory race that allows the Archdiocese’s 59 Catholic schools to raise funds while also making a wonderful show of support for Catholic education in downtown Houston.

Steps for Students sponsors flock to the event because they see the value of Catholic education and want to make the investment in Houston-area students. During this season of giving, potential sponsors are encouraged to consider supporting Steps for Students as an opportunity to invest in their future.

Reliant, a Texas energy company, has supported Steps for Students for many years, including as the $10,000 sponsor of the David Guite Spirit. Art Formas, director of Commercial and Industrial for Reliant, said that the future depends on the education children are given today.

“Working to better the opportunities for students to get a quality education is an investment in our future,” he said. “I have attended the race and ran it many times. It is very well organized and a pleasant view of the city. The families that participate give you a great feeling as you see the enjoyment that they are experiencing, too.”

A spirit of philanthropy, or giving, within its company is what Reliant tries to work toward.
“Most people know Reliant as the company that powers their homes and businesses, but we also believe in being a positive force in the communities where we live and work through volunteerism, charitable giving and meaningful partnerships.”

The newest donor to Steps for Students is Kidventure, the popular company that runs afterschool programs and summer camps for students and schools. Michael Valka, Kidventure’s vice president of Houston operations, said that Kidventure has been a part of the Catholic community since its inception in 1994.

“The relationship we have developed and the students we have served have helped shape who we are today,” Valka said. “Participating in Steps helps us give back to that community and provide a greater opportunity for education across all schools.”

Kidventure is sponsoring Steps this year because, more than ever, Valka said, children require partnerships like Steps for Students and Kidventure.

“The challenges facing our kids, our families and our community are great,” said Valka. “When we come together to face these challenges, we provide a greater opportunity for them. Providing our children with every opportunity to grow strong, and be kind and safe should be one of our greatest goals.”

William Schneidau, a Steps for Students advocate, was on the original steering committee when the race began in 2006 and he rejoined the committee this year to support the underwriting efforts.
“Our financial support is broad-based across individuals, foundations and companies that believe in the value that Catholic education brings our community,” Schneidau said. “I have been involved in other races the past several years but my faith and desire to support the mission of the Church drew me back to Steps for Students and it has been rewarding.”

Schneidau said a few giving opportunities still exist for the 2019 Steps for Students and the committee is actively looking for sponsors at every level. Opportunities include a presenting sponsor for $25,000, a participant bib sponsor at $10,000 and other sponsorship levels starting at $500. 

“For me, seeing the benefits of any philanthropic effort is a gift,” Schneidau said. “That is my reward. I am blessed and I believe in the importance of giving back to the community. All gifts make a difference.”

Last year, registrants and donors contributed more than $1 million, allowing schools to purchase new technology and textbooks, provide valuable training for teachers and update school facilities. To inquire about a sponsorships, visit www.steps4students.org or contact Julie Eberle at jeberle@archgh.org.