ST. LOUIS – On Monday, May 10, 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.