Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia has received a $1 million EITC/OSTC commitment – the largest such gift in the school’s history – from local businessman and 1983 Roman graduate Matt Gardner, the school announced Jan. 19.

The gift utilizes the two Pennsylvania programs whereby business can receive state tax credits from donations to approved scholarship organizations for non-public students.

Gardner made the gift in memory of his late brother Chris, a 1977 Roman graduate, to provide tuition assistance to as many as 400 current and future school students from low- and moderate-income families.

“My four years at Roman helped make me the person I am today, and I still draw each day on what I learned there in the classroom, in student government and on the football field,” he said.

“Education is the key to an independent and prosperous future, and I’m pleased that these funds will help many Philadelphia-area young men enroll in a rigorous, faith-based college preparatory program.”

Gardner is founder and CEO of Patriot Growth Insurance Services, a national insurance distribution firm in Ft. Washington.

“Matt’s generosity is truly overwhelming.” said Father Joseph W. Bongard, president of Roman Catholic. “By his commitment, Matt is providing educational opportunities to present and future students who would otherwise be consigned to failing schools. We are honored to receive such a commitment and welcome the positive impact this gift will have on our student body.”

Philanthropy and community engagement are hallmarks of Gardner’s career.  He

Gardner previously served on the board of John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School and on the board of the Philadelphia Hero Scholarship Fund, established to support the children of Philadelphia police officers and firefighters disabled or killed in the line of duty; Gardner himself was a recipient of college tuition assistance from the fund.

He has also served on the board of the Philadelphia Children’s Advocacy Center, providing vital services to the city’s most vulnerable children, and has been active with the non-profit Bridges to Community, traveling extensively in Central America leading groups that provide economic and capacity-building support to deeply impoverished areas.

Gardner holds a B.S. in finance from Drexel University and an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. He resides in Erdenheim, Montgomery County and Stone Harbor, N.J. with his wife Kelley and their sons Reilly and Alexander.