Montgomery County real estate developer Brian O’Neill was a major player in the effort that led to a Friday decision by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to keep four high schools open. They include Conwell-Egan in Bristol Township. O’Neill headed a two-week fundraising drive that raised $12 million and created an independent foundation that will raise another $100 million over the next five years for all Catholic schools in the archdiocese, both elementary and secondary.
O’Neill is CEO of the O’Neill Properties Group in King of Prussia. He says he’s not a major donor because of business difficulties in the last few years, and he’s not even a product of the Catholic schools. He attended Lower Merion High School, but he says he promised his mother before she died in September that he would do something to help the Catholic Church.
Archbishop Charles Chaput says another important part of the Catholic school survival plan is a state law providing vouchers to help parents pay their children’s tuition at private and parochial schools.