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WEST DES MOINES, Iowa -- W.A. "Bill" Krause, co-founder of the Kum & Go chain of convenience stores, was named a 2007 honoree of the National Catholic Educational Association's (NCEA) St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Award.
"We are grateful for all of the benefactors who support Catholic education, but Bill is a special angel for the way his personal and financial support have helped specific schools," Dr. Karen Ristau, NCEA president, said in a statement. "We, at NCEA, value his friendship and were pleased to recognize his efforts at the national level."
The national award is presented each year to individuals whose personal or professional philanthropy or volunteer service has impacted Catholic education and the nation's youth, the company stated. The award is named after St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who is regarded as the founder of the U.S. Catholic school network, in recognition of her lifelong dedication to teaching, according to the company.
The committee selects award winners based on an individual's major and far-reaching contributions to education and youth. Krause is one of five 2007 honorees, who received a $1,000 scholarship presented in their honor, to a Catholic school student from their community, the company stated.
Krause accepted the award during the NCEA's 17th annual awards dinner and ceremony, which was held in Washington earlier this month. Krause was also honored last year by Convenience Store News, which inducted him into the Convenience Store Hall of Fame.
NCEA highlighted Krause's work with Holy Family School, located in Des Moines, which serves a diverse, low-income population. There, more than 70 percent of the students are on free and reduced lunch programs. In addition, the majority of students' families speak English as a second language and more than 60 percent of the students are the first members of their families to be educated beyond grade school, according to the company.
Krause's relationship with Holy Family School began in 1996 when he was asked by the principal to speak to students. He agreed and taught eighth-graders the Junior Achievement curriculum every Friday for several years. Over time, Krause invited his employees to visit the school and work with the class.
Krause has also rallied others to help the school, and the results have been outstanding. Enrollment at the school has increased, in part, because of Krause's support of a capital campaign, which created an endowment that is now close to $3 million. The endowment provides significant financial support to the school and parents for tuition assistance. Krause also helps with regular fundraising efforts, including a school-sponsored golf outing and auction.
"We don't often see benefactors involved in the classroom," Ristau said. "From his experience in working with eighth-graders at Holy Family, Bill saw a need firsthand and did something about it -- not just in generalities, but also in specific assistance to Holy Family School and Dowling Catholic High School."
At Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines, Krause serves on the Honorary Foundation Board and is a regular supporter of Annual Appeal. He is a supporter of the school's annual golf outing to raise money for financial aid, and he gave significant support in 2001 to create a plan for enhanced teacher compensation. Each year, Krause sponsors the high school's Jennie Lillis Scholarship, which gives $2,500 each to two students who exemplify leadership and dedication. This spring, Krause and his family donated $3 million to the high school's We Believe capital campaign to renovate classrooms. It was the largest single gift in school history.
Kum & Go operates more than 445 stores in 13 states (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Colorado, Arkansas, Wyoming and Wisconsin).