During the COVID-19 pandemic, many are coping with unexpected challenges in the workplace. Marc Milkie understands those challenges. As a Major Gifts Officer with Saint Ignatius High School’s Advancement Office, he is normally traveling anywhere from Chicago to California, visiting benefactors and seeking support for the school’s mission and strategic initiatives. Those visits came quickly to a halt this Spring. But if anyone knows how to adapt to the unexpected, Milkie does.
In 2002, Milkie was 38 years old, raising four young children with his wife, Kay, and training to run his fourth marathon when he suddenly had difficulty breathing and was rushed to the hospital. After doctors inserted a tube in his throat to help him breathe, he fell into a coma that would last seven weeks. His lungs, liver and kidneys shut down and he suffered multiple strokes and seizures. He was given last rites three times and calls it a miracle to be alive.
Milkie was diagnosed with a disease called Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis or GPA. Even after both his legs needed to be amputated below the knees, he was determined to see the positive in life and not wallow in self-pity. It was two years before Milkie could return to work, and during that time he celebrated every small success.
“Attitude is everything. I choose, very intentionally, to be grateful. I focus not on what I can’t do, but what I can do,” says Milkie.
Following his diagnosis and recovery, he sought work that changed lives for the better. His son Troy '13 was a senior at Saint Ignatius when Milkie saw the posting for a Major Gifts Officer. He followed up and was hired. “I was so impressed with the way Saint Ignatius cares for the entire person. And I liked the broad socioeconomic range of students. My son learned that not all are as fortunate as him. It gave him perspective on life and inspired an obligation to help others.”
Milkie has seen the difference the school’s tuition assistance can make in the life of a student and is often overwhelmed by the generosity of donors.
During the coronavirus stay-at-home order, Milkie made a point to reach out to his donor base to let them know the Saint Ignatius community is thinking about them and praying for their families to be safe and healthy. “We appreciate our donors so much. Without them, Saint Ignatius wouldn’t be in a position to weather this storm. We still have 1,500 boys requiring our academic attention and care. Teachers tell us the boys miss each other. It can be a lonely time, so we are focused not only on content but on community. The creativity required from faculty has been immense. They’re stepping up to the challenge while caring for their own families.”
Milkie expresses tremendous gratitude for all who support Saint Ignatius, especially in trying times.
“Our Advancement Office is sensitive to the financial strain caused by COVID-19. More than ever, philanthropic support is needed to help families and support our mission. Having met hundreds of alumni and friends across the country, I know the Ignatius community will rally in support of our boys.”
To support the Family Tuition Relief Fund, CLICK HERE.
To make a gift to the Annual Fund, CLICK HERE.