12/19/18—Our Lady of Mercy School for Young Women unveiled plans for its new Cheryl Speranza Leadership Institute, a program launching in fall 2019, to recruit and mentor racially and socioeconomically diverse young women. The initiative is being funded thanks to a generous gift of more than $1.2 million from the Speranza family and the Cheryl and Paul Speranza Foundation. The late Cheryl Speranza was a 1965 Mercy graduate with a passion for serving others. Her husband Paul shared the couple’s commitment to Mercy, “One thing we saw over and over (in traveling across the country) was a lack of women of color in any high leadership positions in any segment of society…I’m stating the obvious, but it’s true. …We felt so strongly about Mercy and what Mercy can do for young women, and it all came together.”
The Institute will fund more than eleven “emerging leaders from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, such as young women with limited financial and emotional support.” Scholars will gain access to mentors and tutors, will partake in a leadership development curriculum, and receive life and career assistance throughout college, graduate school, and beyond.
Christian Jensen, Mercy’s vice president of institutional advancement, said “[The Speranza’s giving] is a lot bigger than 11 scholarships. They’re going to touch lives and inspire generations of future leaders.”