Romeoville, Illinois, Aug. 27, 2018—Celebrating the fruits of his vision and dedication, Christian Brothers Services (CBS) is honoring its founder, Br. Joel Damian, FSC, with an endowment to Lewis University. This gift will recognize his contributions that will serve well into the future with the "Brother Joel Damian, FSC, Business Plan Competition."
The endowment will help offer a platform that fosters entrepreneurial thinking and transforms thoughts into reality, better preparing students to compete in today's global world. In addition, it will instill the entrepreneurial spirit in future students reminiscent of the visionary thinking of Damian, who orchestrated the concept of pooling resources to help define insurance and financial needs and requirements, making the Christian Brothers one of the first Religious Orders to do so.
The business plan competition, which began in 2013, is the marquee event hosted by Lewis University's Lowell Stahl Center for Entrepreneurship and Real Estate. The ongoing program is designed to help student entrepreneurs launch new business ideas.
"Brother Damian was an entrepreneurial genius and we believe this endowment will foster the kind of spirit and leadership that we hope can match his vision for generations to come," said Brother Michael Quirk, FSC, E.D., president and CEO, Christian Brothers Services.
Open to all Lewis University students, the program provides feedback and guidance from faculty, Lewis alumni and industry professionals. The top teams compete in the finals, where they present their ideas live in front of a judging panel. Funds are awarded to top performers to assist in startup costs for their business model.
"We are extremely grateful for the generosity of the board of directors of Christian Brothers Services to support and grow the Brother Joel Damian Business Plan Competition into a regionally recognized and socially responsible entrepreneurial event, infused with the Lasallian spirit," said Ryan D. Butt, J.D., M.S.A., dean, College of Business and Graduate School of Management at Lewis University. "We are pleased that it will honor and recognize Br. Damian for years to come, sharing his story that continues to have a profound impact for religious communities and congregations nationwide. We are sure the narrative of his success will help to guide our students into successful careers, reflecting the tradition of the Christian Brothers in offering excellence in education."
Damian was a pioneer of his time and instrumental in creating Christian Brothers Services and was lauded for his work throughout his lifetime; his accomplishments were numerous along his path as a Christian Brother.
In 1966, Damian came to Lewis University to establish the national headquarters of the Christian Brothers and also to erect a Novitiate and Scholasticate. He was on the first board of directors at then Lewis College and helped move Lewis to University status as a trustee. He was named executive secretary of Christian Brothers Conference and it was then that he established employee benefit programs for Christian Brothers' lay associates and was consulted by numerous dioceses in establishing retirement plans for their priests and employees. Damian died in 1991 at age 73, having been a De La Salle Christian Brother for 58 years.
About Christian Brothers Services
Founded in 1960 and headquartered in Romeoville, Illinois, Christian Brothers Services is a nonprofit, Catholic organization that administers cooperative programs in the areas of health, retirement, property/casualty, and technology as well as financial, administrative and Catholic school consulting to church congregations, organizations and dioceses internationally.
About Catholic School Management
Founded in 1973, NCEA Financial Consulting Services focused exclusively on finance and development consulting services for Catholic school and diocesan administrators. In 1979 demand for a broader scope of services resulted in the creation of Catholic School Management (CSM). In 2014, Christian Brothers Services acquired CSM's growing operations, making CBS the national leader in consultative guidance for Catholic schools. CSM's team of experts represents more than 500 years of experience in the education field with a focus on strategy, planning and leadership.
Founded in 1972 and headquartered in Tarrytown, New York, Brenner, McDonagh & Tortolani, Inc., BMT Management and Financial Consultants was acquired by Christian Brothers Services in 2017. Providing premier consulting services to 280 religious institutes and many sponsored ministries in need of assistance, BMT offers the management of daily operations, including accounting and financial management, benefits eligibility management, human resources, investment consulting and real estate planning and sustainability studies.