Clint Daniel (left) and Jeff Greteman celebrate with a fist bump after revealing the record Friends of Kuemper Ball total.
Clint Daniel (left) and Jeff Greteman celebrate with a fist bump after revealing the record Friends of Kuemper Ball total.
May 6, 2013

The Friends of Kuemper Ball thundered across the finish line with $552,461, a record-breaker in the 29th annual fundraising campaign for Kuemper Catholic Schools.

This year's campaign featured the theme "A Knight at the Derby," since the Ball has been held the first Saturday in May, the same day as the Kentucky Derby.

And while the betting favorite, Orb, won the Run for the Roses in Louisville Saturday afternoon, there was no doubt about the Derby favorite at a packed house at the Carrollton Centre ballroom that evening. When chaircouples Clint and Melinda Daniel, Dirk and Beth Glynn, Jeff and Lori Greteman, and John and Monica Healy revealed the final tally, the crowd erupted in rousing cheers.

Indeed, as Clint Daniel said, it felt good to celebrate after the organizers had been playing the results close to the vest. The smiles all around looked great, he said.

Daniel, Dirk Glynn and Jeff Greteman shared some thoughts on the Ball's success Sunday morning.

"Everybody just believes in the Kuemper system," Glynn said. "It has a lot of support. There are a lot of very generous people who believe in Catholic education."

He added, "Hats off to Carroll County and our support. There was a lot of alumni support and a lot of support from businesses in town that really value what Kuemper provides for students and the community."

The three noted that the economic climate, including the strong farm economy and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state in Carroll County.

Greteman said, "Everyone was very generous. There were a lot of donors. And the addition of the ag raffle was a big success this year."

The ag raffle was a new feature this year, joining the regular general raffle and a vehicle raffle. Four implement dealerships participated in the ag raffle. Tickets were $50 each, and the winner receives a $10,000 voucher toward a purchase or service work. The vehicle raffle tickets are $100 each, good for a $20,000 voucher, and general-raffle tickets were $10 each for a chance at 21 prizes.

Unofficially, 922 ag raffle tickets were purchased; 776 car-raffle tickets were purchased, down from 836 last year; and the general raffle generated $59,180, up from $52,470 last year.

Greteman said of the ag raffle's popularity, "The four implement dealerships that were part of that really supported it, helped drive it and sell tickets." Participating dealerships were Haley Equipment, Horizon Equipment, Rueter's and Schenkelberg Implement.

Glynn said of the ag raffle, "It was a new feature, and we are a farm community. It gave another option to people who maybe didn't want a $100 car ticket but liked the idea of a $50 ag ticket. And it's not just for the farm community. People looked at it for a lawnmower or whatever."

From the kickoff on Jan. 27 to the Ball on Saturday, the campaign is a hard-charging, wire-to-wire effort that thrives with the work of scores of volunteers.

With the campaign taking place over about a 90-day period and more than $550,000 raised, contributions rolled in at about a $6,000-a-day-pace.

Daniel said, "These guys are like I am. We feel honored to be a part of that, to raise this kind of money is overwhelming."

Daniel, Glynn and Greteman called the overall generosity amazing.

Veteran Kuemper Ball coordinator Sharon Olerich commented, "What is amazing to me is raising over $550,000 from approximately 3,000 donors in a three-month time frame.

"We are thankful for the generosity of the entire Kuemper family and the Carroll community. Whether it was a raffle prize, monetary gift, or donation of some type of service, every donation is values and greatly appreciated. The Kuemper Ball is more than just an annual fundraiser for the Kuemper Catholic School System. It is a communitywide celebration that continues to amaze everyone involved, especially me."

Olerich said the "Knight at the Derby" theme proved to be a winner.

"Everyone we talked to shared ideas about decorations - what kind of hat to wear - how the race was going, et cetera. Then the chairs came up with the ag raffle for something new and exciting to add to the Ball mix," she said. "The momentum just kept growing."

She added, "The chaircouples have been amazing, and I know they had just a little fun along with the hard work. I cherish the privilege of working with so many wonderful chairpersons over the years and getting to know them personally as we work together on such a tremendous project for our students. I am so excited the chaircouples reached their goal with the help of thousands of individuals."

Kuemper Catholic School System president Vern Henkenius said he's tracked fundraising events in the Sioux City Diocese and other large communities in the state - Des Moines, Davenport and Dubuque - and believes the Ball is Iowa's biggest one-time event for Catholic schools.

He attributes Kuemper's success to a tremendous network of Kuemper supporters representing several generations and the vast network of contacts built by the Alumni Office.

"Sharon's (Olerich's) leadership, the hard work of the Ball chairs, all the volunteers, that just all works together. And leadership is open to new ideas," Henkenius added.

With 29 years of experience, the Ball has built a successful system, Henkenius said.

Expenses of the campaign in recent years have totaled about $50,000 to $54,000, so the net to Kuemper should be close to $500,000.

Over the years, Kuemper has used funds from the campaign for an array of needs such as building improvements, technology, tuition assistance and teachers' salary support.

Greteman said of the Ball's significance, "It's an important part of the budget. It's something the Kuemper School System depends on."

Glynn observed, "It allows us to stay competitive with the state-funded schools and maintain our teacher pay."

Daniel commented on the overall experience, "We felt honored to do this. We built friendships. We got to meet a lot of people. It's an awesome feeling."

Henkenius said the fundraising goal from efforts such as the Ball and Alumni Phoneathon has been exceeded.

He noted that some immediate building improvements such as installation of sound boards in the high school gym to boost the sound quality and installation of cameras in schools for safety and security. A new car was recently purchased for staff to use to attend meetings.

The success of fundraising will allow Kuemper to keep tuition moderate as well as reduce parish investments, he said.

In the 2011-12 annual report, tuition and fees accounted for 28 percent of the budget. In contrast, Henkenius pointed out, at Iowa's regents universities tuition makes up more than half the budgets.

Kuemper is reducing parish investments from 51 percent this year to 48.5 percent next year, meeting a goal throughout the diocese of reducing parishes' investments to schools. That's intended to help parishes have funds available for other needs. Parishes have been dedicating a high percentage of their budgets to schools.

"The parishes have always stepped up to the plate and done well in support of Kuemper Catholic School System," Henkenius commented.

Introduced at the Ball Saturday night were the 2014 chaircouples: Jair and Julie Mayhall, Chase and Janelle Schreck, Dr. Mike and Pat Soppe and Brent and Cindy Tiefenthaler.

Following are winners of the vehicle, ag and regular raffles, as well as the auction winners:

Vehicle raffle - Don and Kay Nieland, Carroll, good for $20,000 voucher at Adams Motors, Champion Ford, Macke Motors, Motor Inn of Carroll or Wittrock Motors.

Ag raffle - Mike Greteman, Carroll, good for $10,000 voucher at Haley Equipment, Horizon Equipment, Rueter's or Schenkelberg Implement.

Regular raffle

$2,000 Travel Voucher - in part by Town & Country Travel - Mitch and Amber Hoffman, Arcadia.

Miele Vacuum and Maid for a Day - Rutten's Vacuum Center, Denny and Joan Rutten - Mike Bachman, Carroll.

Custom Made Item - Crafted by Chase Schreck, Materials in part by Midwest Lumber - Philip Collison, Arcadia.

Summer Spruce Up! - Paint Supplies from Sherwin Williams and 20 hours of painting service by Mike McCarty - Tom and Lori Seidl, Dedham.

$500 In-Store Credit - Sound and Service, Jacki Montgomery - Joe Lampe, Carroll.

$500 Tuition or Scrip - Kuemper Catholic Students - Bob and Rose Giguere, Overland Park, Kan.

Toshiba Laptop Computer - Computer Concepts of Iowa, Adam Schweers - the Rev. Brian Danner, Manson.

12-Month All-Inclusive Membership - Anytime Fit-ness - Jeff and Ann Wenck, Lidderdale.

Remote Start - Sound and Service, Jacki Montgomery - Tim Schulz, Carroll.

"Knight of Memories" in Des Moines - Quality Inn and Restaurant Gift Cards - Jeff Bruning, Scott Alongi and Kent Middendorf - Mary Schneider, Carroll.

$250 Golf Swing Analysis - Active Performance and four rounds of golf with cart rental - Carroll Country Club - Carissa Steinkamp, Arcadia.

Family Sitting Plus 20-by-24 Portrait - Niceswanger Photography, Eric and Janel Niceswanger - Kathleen Weitze, Carroll.

20-by-24 Custom Family Portrait - Sundermann Photography, Steve and Patti Sundermann - Chris Danner Templeton.

$200 Gas Card - Country Stores of Carroll and $50 Mac's Café Gift Card - Chico and Todd Kanne - Marilyn Hoffman, Carroll.

$250 Tuition or Scrip - Kuemper Catholic Students - Russ Steinkamp, Carroll.

$150 Sparky's One Stop Gift Card, King's Pointe Waterpark passes for four and Sac County Cattleman Company Certificate - Nick Badding, Carroll.

Private Tour, Wine and Dinner for six - Santa Maria Winery, hosted by John and Rose Guinan - Mike and Linda Berger, Arcadia.

Pandora Bracelet with two charms - Eckerman Jewelry, Mike Eckerman - Ron Brincks, Carroll.

$100 Grocery Giveaway - Fareway - Catherine Wiederien, Dedham.

$100 Grocery Giveaway - Hy-Vee - Larry and Peg Willenborg, Carroll.

$50 Gas Card - Reilings 71 South and $50 gift card - Rube's Steakhouse - Tim and Barb Toohey Carroll.

Platinum Fitness - 10 3-month memberships - Shirley Rupiper, Okoboji; Chuck Greteman, West Des Moines; Daren Overmohle, Carroll; Kenneth Sanders, Carroll; Judy Balk, Templeton; Dennis Fischer, Boise, Idaho; Deb Koster, Carroll; Wayne Reiman, Carroll; Carol Ramsey, Templeton; and Bill Stork, Lidderdale.

Auction winners:

Four premium parking spots for one year - Curt Lynette Schweers, $1,200; Dave and Deb Quandt, $1,200; Matt and Peggy Greteman, $1,000; and Frank and Kathy Comito, $1,200.

Kuemper activity passes for two and reserved football seating - Joe and Katie Daniel, $1,200.

Kuemper activity passes for two and reserved auditorium seating - Jerry and Reen Rupiper, $800.

Concrete garden bench, donated by Bohlmann Quality Products of Denison - Lon and Rosie Diers, $800.