Author Carla Harris Helps Raise Nearly $1 million for Guardian Catholic School
November 10, 2022 • Diocese of St. Augustine
Bishop Erik Pohlmeier and Msgr. James Boddie, Jr. thanks Carla Harris for her generosity in supporting Guardian Catholic School.

Carla Harris, celebrated author, gospel singer and Wall Street executive, sets a high bar for any endeavor she undertakes. Harris’ standard of excellence was a major boon for her alma mater, Guardian Catholic School, as she helped raise nearly $1 million for educational scholarships. 

Harris was the keynote speaker at the “Lead to Win” event on Nov. 8, held at Florida Blue and attended by more than 600 people, including state and city officials, business, nonprofit and school leaders and many others. The funds will further bolster the school’s ability to provide access to an excellent education for all children, no matter their ZIP code. 

Hosted by Guidewell and Florida Blue President and CEO Patrick Geraghty and presented by Florida Blue, the event included an invocation from Bishop Erik Pohlmeier from the Diocese of St. Augustine; a conversation between Harris and Geraghty; a proclamation from the city of Jacksonville declaring Nov. 8 “Carla Harris Day,” and surprise announcements from event sponsors including the Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund and Florida Blue.

“The outpouring of generosity from our community is incredible and we simply can’t thank Carla enough for sharing her many gifts of time, treasure and guidance with Guardian and our students,” said Sister of Notre Dame Dianne Rumschlag, head of school. “She’s an incredible role model, one who truly has not forgotten her roots and understands the importance education plays in building a successful life.” 

At the luncheon, Delores Barr Weaver continued her tradition of philanthropy by announcing a $250,000 gift to Guardian, which was matched when Geraghty presented $250,000 from Florida Blue. The gifts will fund an endowed scholarship at Guardian in perpetuity.

“It’s an honor to welcome esteemed business leader, singer and author, Carla Harris, back home to Jacksonville in support of her alma mater, Guardian Catholic School,” said Geraghty. “Education and health go hand in hand. In line with our commitment to help end generational poverty in critically underserved communities across the state, Florida Blue is proud to match the $250,000 donation from the Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund to create an endowed scholarship that will provide opportunities for deserving children in the Jacksonville community to attend Guardian.”

In addition to Florida Blue and the Delores Barr Weaver Legacy Fund, other sponsors include the Dianne T. and Charles E. Rice Family Foundation; the Dick and Diane Erickson Family Foundation; Haskell; the University of North Florida’s Coggin College of Business, the College of Education and Human Services and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion; The Walsh Investment Consulting Group of Wells Fargo Advisors; Anne and John Baker; Ascension St. Vincent’s; Brooke & Hap Stein Foundation; Nancy & Gary Chartrand; Jacksonville Jaguars; Jacksonville University; and The PLAYERS Championship, among others.

About Guardian Catholic School:Guardian Catholic School offers children enrolled in pre-K through 8th grade the opportunity for an excellent education in an area of North Jacksonville with the largest statistical concentration of residents living in poverty. Eighty-seven percent of Guardian students are non-Catholic, and 100 percent of students receive some level of financial assistance. As a 501(c)(3), Guardian ensures a high-quality Catholic education remains affordable for every child regardless of their family’s economic status. The school, founded in 2017, combined Holy Rosary and St. Pius V, both Catholic schools serving North Jacksonville. Guardian Catholic continues its 100-year legacy, preparing graduates for lifelong success, breaking free from the cycle of poverty. For more information, visit www.GuardianCatholic.com.