May 22, 2023

A Clarke Passion Event: Nativity School of Worcester Gala Fundraiser


Imagine a tuition-free school where students moving onto the next level of education have a 100% acceptance rate. A place that is the launching pad for the future and 69% of those accepted to college are first-generation college students. This is the Nativity School of Worcester and when Clarke Founder and CEO Tom Clarke first visited the school, he knew it was something special and he needed to get involved in supporting this singular Massachusetts all-scholarship middle school.

On Friday, May 19th, Clarke, New England’s Official Sub-Zero, Wolf and Cove Showroom and Test Kitchen in Milford, Massachusetts, hosted 187 guests at its 9th Annual Culinary Gala fundraiser for Nativity School of Worcester, and raised over $420,000. This night of food, wine and giving, which celebrated the school’s 20th anniversary, brought Clarke’s total fundraising for Nativity School of Worcester to almost $3 million. This accredited, independent, Jesuit middle school provides a quality all-scholarship education to underserved boys of all faiths. The Nativity School of Worcester does not receive financial assistance from the state or federal government and relies instead on the generosity of individuals, foundations and corporations.

“When you meet the students, you know you have to help,” shared Tom Clarke, who has offered his award-winning showrooms as venues for The Nativity School galas for nearly a decade. “Each year we have several of the young men who attend the school come to the Gala to talk with guests and explain what the school has done for them. This year we had Jariel, a current 8th grader and Noel, a 2007 Nativity graduate, address our guests. Their gratitude for support of their education is heart-warming and their determination to succeed is inspiring. When the auction starts, the bidding is always enthusiastic and generous.”

Founded in 2003, The Nativity School of Worcester is the only tuition-free private middle school in Central Massachusetts. The initiative, based on a successful model used in New York City, was proposed by the senior administration of the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, where the city had been wracked by a devastating graduation rate for boys experiencing economic insecurity. As a Holy Cross graduate, Tom Clarke became aware of the Nativity School of Worcester and was intrigued with the mission and model. After meeting with school administrators, he pledged his support and launched the annual events at Clarke’s showroom.

Clarke’s themed culinary gala fundraisers are always a mix of education and entertainment, with spectacular food being a focal point of the evening. Past galas have featured James Beard Award-winning Chef Ken Oringer and Smith & Wollensky Executive Chef Matt King, who is also president and COO of Legal Seafoods. This year, all food for the Nativity Event Gala was generously donated by PPX Hospitality Brands, the owners of Legal Seafoods, Smith & Wollensky and Strega, three iconic New England-based restaurant brands known for their exquisite culinary teams and unique personal service. Clarke’s in-house team of talented chefs prepared a delicious combination of tastes for the guests, making the night that much more special.

Family and friends of Clarke and Nativity School of Worcester are helping this unique educational institution continue its legacy of excellence into its third decade:

  • School enrollment is 60 boys in grades 5-8.
  • 100% of graduates who have applied have been accepted into a selective high school or specialized high school program.
  • 97% of graduates have completed high school, or a specialized high school program.
  • Graduates have now gone on to distinguished colleges and post-graduate programs throughout the country.