For Will Mullin and his wife, Colleen Sherry Mullin, a connection to Bonner & Prendie runs in the family.
Will, a 1986 graduate of Bonner, is one of seven siblings who attended Bonner & Prendie. Will has fond memories of growing up a mile away in Upper Darby’s St. Laurence Parish and walking to school daily with his best friends. Will still considers ten of his Bonner classmates among his closest friends.
Colleen Sherry grew up in New Jersey and attended Holy Cross Academy. Joseph Sherry, her father, was also a graduate of Monsignor Bonner Catholic High School. Many of Colleen’s aunts, uncles, and cousins also attended Bonner & Prendie.
“Bonner & Prendie had a huge impact on our families and our community,” Will shared.
That is why, years later, when Will and Colleen learned of the opportunity to give back to Catholic education in a significant way through the EITC and BLOCS programs, they did not hesitate to direct their support to Monsignor Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School.
After graduating from Bonner, Will lived outside the Philadelphia area for over a decade. He attained a Bachelor of Science in finance from the University of Tampa and later graduated from Boston University with an MBA.
Will’s career began as an Officer in the United States Army Corps of Engineers, where he received a Bronze Star for his service in Operation Desert Storm/Shield. During these years, Will remained close friends with his Bonner classmates. When his mother became sick, Will returned to the Philadelphia area, where he met and married Colleen Sherry. For most of his career, Will worked in financial services, first as an employee and then as a business owner. In 1997, Will went independent with his company, Villanova Financial Partners, which later merged into Hoover Financial Advisors in 2017. That entity was merged into Wealth Enhancement Group in 2021.
Will credits the values and character that Bonner instilled in him as a student for guiding him through life and making him who he is today. “I was not involved with Bonner for many years,” Will explained, “but Bonner never left me.”
Their Catholic values inspired Will and Colleen to get involved with local nonprofits and charities over 20 years ago. Will served as a board member of the American Red Cross, the local soccer club, and as a member of the Tredyffrin East School District Strategic Planning Committee, where their children attended school.
In June 2021, when Will sold to Wealth Enhancement Group, Will and Colleen saw an opportunity to combine their passion for charity work and catholic education by contributing through the EITC and BLOCS programs. The changing economic and health environment brought the importance of supporting Catholic education to the forefront of their minds. “We realized we could make a generational difference by giving back to catholic schools,” Will shared.
Together, they chose to donate their EITC and BLOC program support to three catholic educational institutions in the Philadelphia area: St. Laurence School, Monsignor Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School, and Cristo Rey High School, whose founder, John McConnell, and future president, Tom Shoemaker, are personal friends.
“The EITC and BLOCS programs allowed Colleen and I to be more generous to all three institutions, but Bonner & Prendie were the biggest beneficiaries of our support, because of the impact it had on both of our families,” Will explained.
Will and Colleen contributed $100,000 to Bonner & Prendie through the EITC and BLOCS programs. With scholarships averaging $2,000 per student, their support will allow nearly 50 students to attend Bonner & Prendie at a subsidized cost.
WHY WE CHOSE TO GIVE CATHOLIC
When Will and his siblings attended Bonner & Prendie, options for school in the area were limited. Families sent their kids to the Upper Darby School District or Bonner & Prendie.
Will’s dad worked for PECO, while his mother was a homemaker. With seven children attending catholic school, Will’s parents sacrificed for their children to receive a faith-based education. At the time, Bonner & Prendie offered reduced tuition for every third child, and free tuition for every fourth child enrolled. With three or four Mullins attending Bonner & Prendie at any time, the subsidized tuition made it possible for Will’s parents to afford Bonner & Prendie.
“More than 50% of the students at the Catholic schools we support receive financial support, just like I did,” Will explained. “These families are sacrificing to afford a Catholic education, and there are fewer choices for faith-based education. Colleen and I want to make it possible for families to make the best educational choice for their kids.”
For Will and Colleen, attending Catholic school was the best choice and it had the most significant impact on their lives. Will credits his education at Bonner for preparing him to attain a bachelor’s and master’s degree. His catholic upbringing guided him while making life’s most important decisions.
Every dollar Will and Colleen contributed through the EITC and BLOCS programs goes directly to student scholarships, an aspect that Will and Colleen value most about the programs. It is what inspired them to expand their support to Bonner & Prendie and the other schools. They hope this donation and future donations they make will create opportunity and improve the lives of future generations of students who choose a catholic education in the Philadelphia area.
REFLECTIONS ON GIVING TO BONNER & PRENDIE
For Will, the formative years he spent at Bonner were the most impactful years of his life. They shaped his character and his faith. Bonner is where his best friendships were formed. Will and Colleen hope the students who benefit from their scholarship support will experience the same lifelong friendships.
“The friendships I made are what inspire me to give back to Bonner & Prendie,” Will explained. “We also give in honor of Colleen’s father, Joseph Sherry, who experienced those friendships in his life too.”
Though Will and Colleen originally intended for their donation to Bonner & Prendie to remain anonymous, they soon realized the importance of letting others know about Pennsylvania’s EITC and BLOCS programs.
Not only do the EITC and BLOCS programs offer a tax benefit to businesses, but they allow donors to make a real financial difference in people’s lives. The state supports and rewards EITC donations of any size to educational institutions, like Bonner & Prendie.
Will and Colleen remain steadfast in their support of Philadelphia-area Catholic schools, like Bonner & Prendie. As Will shared, “The EITC and BLOC programs provided the vehicle for us to help the next generation of students receive the same Catholic education that made a difference in our lives and in the lives of our family members.”
If you are interested in making an EITC contribution to Bonner & Prendie, contact Tara George Basile ’86, Executive Director of Advancement at 610-259-0280 Ext. 3240 or email [email protected].