The 2020 Gesu Gala

Gesu has made the decision to cancel the 2020 Gala scheduled for April 30. This is a difficult decision, as the Gala is essential to raising critical funds for Gesu’s annual operations. However, in this uncertain time, and with current government restrictions, we must prioritize the health and safety of our students, staff, and donors.

While the in-person event is cancelled, Gesu is moving ahead with alternate plans to raise the funds so critical to our annual operations and to honor Spirit Medalists Rosemary Español, CFM and Saint Joseph’s University. We will also recognize Imani Briscoe ’09, recipient of the inaugural James F. Higgins (’45) Distinguished Alumni Award.

Thank you to those who have committed to supporting Gesu’s 2020 Gala. We appreciate you and your continued investment in our students’ education, especially during this time of great uncertainty.

We will update this page to share plans for raising the funds to support our students and celebrate our award recipients. All are great champions of Gesu School and deserving of recognition.

​You can also sign up for Gesu emails to receive notifications about our plans.

Support Gesu's annual operations & innovative education. Learn more here. 

Sarah Stirzel Cuzzolina, Director of Special Events
215 763 9077

Thank you to our Gala Co-Chairs -- Craig & Jean Burns, Jenn & Phil Flynn, and Mike & Joyce Hagan -- and the 2020 Gala Committee for their tireless efforts on behalf of Gesu students.

We are grateful to our 2020 Gesu Gala sponsors for their generous support of this event and their dedication to quality education in North Philadelphia.

Craig & Jean Burns
Mike & Joyce Hagan
Susan Martinelli Shea

James F. Higgins ‘45 & Donna M. Higgins
PoGo Foundation
Saint Joseph’s University

The Flynn Family: Jennifer, Philip, & Charlotte
Jami McKeon & John Hollway

Cozen O’Connor

Rosemary Español
John Ryan & Mary Gregg and the Ryan Family Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation
Bernadette C. Wheeler, MD & Larry Wells, MD

1919 Investment Counsel
Gordon & Gretchen Cooney
John & Jennifer Curry
Vault Communications

James & Diane Brecker
Ellen & Win Churchill
Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School
Rard & Judy Davies
Jack & Tammy Dodds
Jackie & Aram Jerrehian
Keith M. Pension
Lou Pichini
Kathleen & Frank Seidman
The Shipley School

Andy Anderson
Christina & Joe Cathcart

Carol & Chuck Walsh


About the Gesu Gala
The Gesu Gala is an annual fundraiser that supports Gesu School in its mission to help North Philadelphia’s children to transcend all forms of poverty through a comprehensive, innovative education. The Gesu Gala supports forward-thinking academic and extracurricular programming that empowers students to develop their strengths, overcome challenges, and become positive, engaged members of the community and the world.

About the Gesu Spirit Medal
The Gesu Spirit Medal honors individuals and organizations who have shown extraordinary commitment to Gesu School through their loyal advocacy and actions, and who have made a significant contribution to Gesu School’s success as a model inner-city elementary school.

Rosemary Español, CFM
Gesu Trustee 

Rosemary is the president and founder of IEI Group, an architecture and interior design firm that manages projects more than $50 million. Her expertise in design and facilities management has resulted in IEI’s ranking as a top 200 design firm by Interior Design Magazine. She has been recognized as a Philadelphia Business Journal Woman of Distinction and a recipient of the Philadelphia SmartCEO’s Brava Award and Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Pinnacle Society Award. She has taught at Moore College of Art and Philadelphia University. She has served as a trustee at FDU and on advisory councils at Fulton Bank and Jefferson University. Rosemary shared her entrepreneurial skills to help Gesu achieve significant expansion in the Building for Tomorrow campaign, which added an elevator, gym, and two new floors. These spaces increased Gesu’s accessibility and student learning opportunities with a science lab, art studio, music room, advanced writing space, and after-school program facilities. Rosemary has been a dedicated trustee since 2000, leading the physical plant and technology committee and offering critical expertise and consultation for Gesu’s ongoing facilities initiatives. Her knowledge has directly impacted Gesu’s growth.

Saint Joseph's University 

As Philadelphia’s Jesuit Catholic University, Saint Joseph’s provides a rigorous, student-centered education rooted in the liberal arts. Saint Joseph’s prepares students for personal excellence, professional success, and engaged citizenship. Striving to be an inclusive and diverse community that educates and cares for the whole person, Saint Joseph’s encourages and models lifelong commitment to thinking critically, making ethical decisions, pursuing social justice, and finding God in all things. With a shared Jesuit tradition and intertwining histories, Saint Joseph’s University and Gesu School have thrived together for over a century. From 1889-1921, the university’s campus existed where Gesu now stands, and since then, Saint Joseph’s has remained a stalwart supporter of Gesu’s faculty and students. The two institutions partner via the Alliance for Catholic Education at Saint Joseph’s University (ACESJU), a volunteer teaching corps. Saint Joseph’s also provides graduate education free of charge to Gesu faculty. Numerous Gesu alumni have attended the university, many through its Ignatian College Connection and Lenfest Scholars programs, which support academically successful students from low-income backgrounds.