Leon Harris, the anchor for ABC 7/WJLA-TV, served as the master of ceremonies for the inaugural gala of the Catholic Business Network of the District of Columbia on Sept. 25, an event that made news by raising more than $30,000, which will provide grants supporting students in need at 14 Catholic schools in Washington. “I give thanks to God. It really is all by grace,” said Justin Silvers, the president of CBN-DC, who received the group’s Founders Award that evening. Silvers, who works as vice president and business relationship manager for Eagle Bank in Washington and is a parishioner of the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle, noted that the group first began organizing about one year ago, and has since raised more than $52,000 to support Catholic education in the city. The group was hoping that 90-100 people would attend its first gala, which was held at the St. Regis, but 175 attended. CBN-DC exists to help its members apply Catholic teaching to the marketplace, and to help provide scholarships to students attending Catholic schools in the nation’s capital. “To provide a child with the opportunity to receive formation in our faith and an amazing education is the key to why we do this,” Silver said in a later email interview. Before he offered the opening prayer at the dinner, Washington Auxiliary Bishop  Barry Knestout thanked the attendees, saying, “Catholic education is really the responsibility of all Catholics. We all share that responsibility, and you’ve expressed that tangibly by your presence tonight.” Beth Blaufuss, the president of Archbishop Carroll High School in Washington, said, “Your fundraising efforts and your advocacy make a meaningful impact on our institutions, and on the lives of our students.” Alvin Zepeda, a 2006 graduate of San Miguel School in Washington, a middle school sponsored by the Christian Brothers that serves at-risk Latino boys, said the school helped him grow in his faith. He went on to graduate from Gonzaga College High School in 2010 and then from Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg this past spring. Zepeda, who now works in the admissions office at San Miguel, is the first of the school’s graduates to be employed there. This past summer, he volunteered for a month in Colombia, teaching English. At San Miguel, he said he hopes to “impact students, the way I have been,” at the school where he was “encouraged to do my best, and achieve my best.” Harris then told the dinner’s guests, “You can see what your investment does… This is what this is all about.” Ernest Maier, Inc., was named the CBN-DC Catholic Business Partner of the Year. Brendan Quinn, the president of Ernest Maier and a 1989 graduate of St. John’s College High School in Washington, whose company has supported the school’s building program and also supported St. Ann’s Parish in Washington and Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Bethesda, said, “We just do our part.” He joked that his 16 years in Catholic school may explain his motivation. “Investing in the community pays dividends… They’re great investments. The returns may not be in dollars, but may be more.” Msgr. John Enzler, the president of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington and a graduate of Our Lady of Lourdes School in Bethesda and St. John’s College High School, received the CBN-DC Clergy of the Year Award. “I’m a big believer in partnerships,” he said. “When that happens, great things happen, for our schools and for our charities…Together we make a difference.” Joseph Borger, the president of Borger Management, Inc., received the CBN-DC Business Person of the Year Award. His company has been involved in the renovation and repositioning of many retail and commercial properties in the Washington area. He is a 1976 graduate of St. John’s College High School, one of more than 20 family members to graduate from St. John’s. Borger has served as a board member for St. John’s and for San Miguel School, and he helped find a permanent location for San Miguel School. He also coached CYO sports and served on the finance committee at St. Jane de Chantal Parish in Bethesda. Addressing the group,  Borger said, “You’re very talented. Use your talent, and give it back to the community you’re in.” That, he said, was a lesson he learned from the Christian Brothers at St. John’s. CBN-DC will host a breakfast at 8 a.m. Oct. 28 in the Great Hall of St. Matthew’s Cathedral, and Brendan Quinn of Ernest Maier, the group’s 2014 Catholic Business Partner of the Year Award winner, will be the speaker. For more information about CBN-DC, visit the group’s website at cbndc.org .