An enthusiastic advocate for Catholic education, Clarissa Holmgren Elgarten has served since 2001 as chairperson of the Futures in Education Be an Angel to a Student program; a role she has assumed in memory of her mother, Roberta.
Under Clarissa’s guidance, the program, which pairs Catholic elementary school students with generous Angel donors who pay close to half of the student’s tuition, now supports more than 500 students annually. To raise awareness of the Angel program and increase funding, Clarissa co-founded the Annual Angels on the Fairway Golf Outing in 2006 and continues to co-chair this incredibly successful event. The outing, which she hosts at The Creek Club every spring, has grown each year and most recently raised over $500,000. As a result, the program is able to provide tuition assistance to an additional 325 students annually.
In addition to her fundraising efforts on behalf of Futures in Education, Clarissa also serves on the Board of Trustees for the organization. She works tirelessly to make a difference in the lives of countless families in need, giving them hope through the gift of a quality Catholic Education. Clarissa’s roots in the Diocese of Brooklyn trace back to Holy Cross Church in Maspeth, Queens; a parish her great-grandparents helped build when they emigrated from Poland at the turn of the 20th century.
Holy Cross has continued to serve as a cornerstone for Clarissa’s family for five generations; her grandmother, Helen, remains one of the oldest active parishioners. It was the education that she and Clarissa’s grandfather and mother received at Holy Cross that Clarissa credits with having laid the foundation for her own success. Growing up in Huntington, NY, Clarissa graduated at the top of her high school class and went on to earn a B.S. in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1986.
Clarissa had a successful career at Bear Stearns starting as an intern during her college years and ultimately leading the Convertible Securities Research Department. After 12 years, she left the Street to focus on her family. Currently, Clarissa resides in Upper Brookville with her husband, Michael, their children, Paige (17) and Grant (14) and her grandmother, Helen. With their own children, Michael and Clarissa believe in leading by example, and together as a family they are active in a number of initiatives focused primarily on assisting disadvantaged children, including of course, being Angels to a number of students through the Be an Angel to a Student program.
They feel privileged to have witnessed first hand the gift that a high quality, value-based education can bring to a child, a family and a community.