Gala & Gesu Spirit Medal

May 10, 2018
600 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
The Gesu Gala is an annual fundraiser that supports Gesu School in its mission to empower North Philadelphia’s children to break the cycle of poverty and violence through a quality education. The Gesu Gala supports forward-thinking academic and extracurricular programming that molds students’ skills and stretches their abilities. 
Please join us for a celebratory evening of cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, dinner, live and silent auctions, and presentation of Gesu's highest honor, the Spirit Medal, to J. Gordon Cooney, Jr., Esq., and Steve Piltch, Ed.D. The evening also includes inspiring stories, art, and performances from Gesu School students.  

Click here for sponsor/patron opportunties. 

Guest tickets are available until April 30!


The Gesu Spirit Medal

The Gesu Spirit Medal honors individuals 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.


J. Gordon Cooney, Jr., Esq.
Partner, Morgan Lewis

 As leader of Morgan Lewis’s litigation practice, J. Gordon Cooney, Jr. oversees the firm’s litigation operations across the globe. With a focus on defending class actions in state and federal court, Gordon has appeared in the courts of more than 35 states. He has argued before the United States Supreme Court and many federal circuit courts.

Gordon’s relationship with Gesu began in 1999, and he joined the Board in 2002. In 2010, Gordon was appointed Chairman of the Gesu School Board of Directors. During his six-year tenure as Board Chair, Gordon worked tirelessly to bring Gesu to a new age of financial health and growth. Gordon and his wife, Gretchen are strong champions for Gesu’s mission and its children. Together they have provided scholarship support annually and through a generous endowed gift. Since completing his tenure on the Board of Directors, Gordon remains involved with the school as the lead member of Gesu’s inaugural President's Advisory Council.





Steve Piltch, Ed.D.  
Head of School, The Shipley School

 Steve holds a Bachelor's degree from Williams College, two Master’s degrees in education, and a Doctorate in education from Harvard University. He has taught in public and independent schools and is currently an instructor at the University of Pennsylvania. Steve has been Head of School of The Shipley School since 1992. He has served on a number of boards, including The Gladwyne Montessori School, The Wyndcroft School, Girard College, ADVIS, and PAIS.

While Steve has been an outstanding leader of The Shipley School for 26 years, he often says that Gesu School is his "second favorite school." Steve joined the Gesu School Board of Directors in 2005. He has demonstrated his commitment to Gesu by opening his home to introduce new individuals to the school and serving multiple times as moderator for our Symposium on Transforming Inner-City Education. Steve has been a staunch advocate for Gesu’s students and has embraced our alumni who have attended The Shipley School.






Thank you to our Gala Co-Chairs, Jack & Tammy Dodds, Karen & Kevin Lucey, and Georgine & Ed Trumpbour, as well as the 2018 Gala Committee for their tireless efforts on behalf of our children. 

Event Contact: Sarah Stirzel Cuzzolina, Director of Annual Giving, or 215-763-9077


Past Gesu Spirit Medal Recipients

2017    James F. Higgins '45 
2017    H. Chase Lenfest  
2016    Peter G. Gould
2016    Rev. Stephen D. Thorne 
2015    Tad Decker 
2015    Keith Pension
2014    Ms. Elizabeth R. Moran
2014    Rev. Neil Ver'Schneider, S.J.
2013    Rev. William J. Byron, S.J.
2013    Vivienne Lambert Ehret
2012    Robert M. McAlaine
2011    Christine S. Beck
2011    George W. Bur, S.J.
2010    John J. DiIulio, Jr., Ph.D.
2009    Aline & Al Martinelli
2009    Susan & Bill Shea
2008    Ralph Saul
2008    John J.F. “Jay” Sherrerd, posthumously
2006    Mark Solomon