Sharon Gerken Receives St. Louis the King Award, Highest Honor in the Archdiocese of St. Louis

Sharon Gerken Receives St. Louis the King Award, Highest Honor in the Archdiocese of St. Louis

 

On Monday, May 10th, Archbishop Mitchell T. Rozanski enrolled Sharon Gerken as the 105th member of the “Order of St. Louis the King for Outstanding Service to Christ and His Church.” This award is the highest honor bestowed in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

 

Sharon Gerken was presented with this prestigious honor at the Cardinal Rigali Center in recognition of her consistent, outstanding service to the work of the Church in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, including a lifetime of significant contributions to Catholic education locally and nationally.

 

Ms. Gerken’s lifetime of service to Catholic education includes fifteen years as Executive Director of the Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation (TTEF). Under Sharon’s leadership, TTEF has grown into the largest foundation of its kind in the state of Missouri and the 4th largest elementary school scholarship foundation in the country, having distributed more than $175 million in need-based tuition assistance since its inception.

 

About the Order of the St. Louis the King Award

The Order of the St. Louis King Award is the highest award that the Archdiocese bestows, given to those who have provided consistent, outstanding service to the work of the Church in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. This award was established by Archbishop May and was first awarded on March 25, 1988 to Cardinal Carberry on the 20th anniversary of his Installation of Archbishop of St. Louis. It has been awarded to just over 100 people, among them: John Cardinal Carberry, Archbishop John L. May, David and Diane Snively, Donald and Nancy Ross, Michael and Rita Mooney and Kevin Short.

 

About Sharon Gerken

Sharon Gerken is the Executive Director of the Today and Tomorrow Educational Foundation and an accomplished education fundraiser. In 2008, Sharon spearheaded the highly successful Help for Today – Hope for Tomorrow Scholarship Program providing need-based tuition assistance to elementary school children attending faith-based schools, which still serves thousands today. She followed this initiative with the Alive in Christ Scholarship Program, which has since awarded more than $20 million to 5,000 families.

 

Sharon has spearheaded significant large scale events to raise additional scholarship dollars, including the Archbishop’s Gala — a tremendously successful annual event which has raised an additional $7 million for scholarships over 11 years. Under Sharon’s leadership Today and Tomorrow has grown into 4th largest foundation of its kind in the United States, providing scholarships to 4,500 children annually.

 

In addition to her impact through Today and Tomorrow, Sharon has donated her time to a variety of other Catholic causes, including Annual Catholic Appeal speaker, Roman Catholic Foundation Task Force member, participation on the Archdiocesan School Oversight Committee and Marketing as Mission Committee. She has volunteered her expertise as a coach for the Catholic Youth Council and the Special Olympics, an event she has also chaired.

 

Finally, Sharon has volunteered her time for decades raising funds to support her alma mater, Incarnate Word Academy, where she will take the helm as President in July 2021. For her lifetime of contributions to Catholic education locally and nationally, and generous gifts of time, talent and treasure to our local church in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, Sharon was enrolled as the 105th member of the “Order of St. Louis the King for Outstanding Service to Christ and His Church” on May 10, 2021.

10 Comments
  • Margretta Forrester
    Reply
    Posted at 12:05 pm, May 11, 2021

    A much deserved reward! Congratulations, Sharon.

    Gretta

    • Sharon Gerken
      Reply
      Posted at 12:21 pm, May 12, 2021

      Thank you Gretta. Hope you are well.
      Talk soon.
      Sharon

  • STEPHEN J PODRY
    Reply
    Posted at 4:05 pm, May 11, 2021

    Sharon is the epitome of emulating the work of Jesus Christ here on earth. She is Catholic, selfless, committed, spiritual, friend to all in living her life. We are proud to call her a life-long friend of our family. She will bring all of her life to her new position at Incarnate Word Academy. God’s blessings continue for her. Thank you, Sharon, for being God’s creation that you are. Love and respect, The Stephen & Dorothy Podry Family.

    • Sharon Gerken
      Reply
      Posted at 12:23 pm, May 12, 2021

      Mr. P.,
      Thank you so much for your very kind words.
      Much love and many blessings to the Podry family.
      Please pray for me and for IWA.
      My honor to serve the church and the mission of Catholic education.

  • birch m mullins
    Reply
    Posted at 5:40 pm, May 11, 2021

    CONGRATULATIONS Sharon
    What a great contribution you have made for these kids. You will be missed
    Incarnate Word is very fortunate to have you for their next President.

    • Sharon Gerken
      Reply
      Posted at 12:24 pm, May 12, 2021

      Birch,
      Thank you so much. I have enjoyed working with you on our shared passion.
      God bless.

  • Kathy Buchholz
    Reply
    Posted at 12:47 am, May 13, 2021

    I’m so happy for Sharon to receive this award!! Sharon is a unique individual that puts her heart & soul into such great causes . I have known Sharon for many years & I am inspired by her dedication to worthwhile causes !! She is so deserving of this honor!!

  • Posted at 12:13 am, May 14, 2021

    Love you dear friend. Thank you for being such an inspiration and role model. Your faith is inspiring.

  • Marilyn T Hill
    Reply
    Posted at 5:42 pm, May 14, 2021

    Sharon, Kudos and congratulations!! Your mother would be so incredibly proud of you and justifiably so! I am so happy you have found such a marvelous way to use your talent, energy and time. You (and your siblings) are your parents’ wonderful legacy, and your work and those who benefit from it are yours. Your Houston cousin, Marilyn

  • Sharon Gerken
    Reply
    Posted at 2:32 pm, May 17, 2021

    Hi Marilyn,
    So nice to hear from you. Aunt Carol said she shared this news with you. Thank you for taking the time to write.
    I hope this finds you well and the kids and grandkids too.
    Miss my parents every day and we are all well aware of what amazing parents we had and what wonderful gifts they gave us.
    Their 8th great grandchild will be born in June, God is so very good.
    Thank you again, so great to hear from you.

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