Tim Strader jokingly called this the “Year of the Tim,” as he accepted one of two Bishop’s Awards for Exemplary Business Integrity presented at the 2018 Orange Catholic Foundation Conference on Business & Ethics Friday, May 4 at the Hotel Irvine.
Strader wasn’t just referring to himself – he is almost averse to self-promotion – but fellow award winner Tim Buckley, as well as speaker Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Orange County Auxiliary Bishop Timothy Freyer, who offered the blessing before the breakfast.
Although the sold-out Conference on Business & Ethics provides local entrepreneurial leaders with a chance to hobnob and celebrate, Strader said it wasn’t about the awardees or speakers, but supporting Catholic education and raising money for scholarships to needy students.
Strader called himself a “product of Catholic education,” attending Catholic schools from elementary school through John Carroll University, a Jesuit college in Ohio.
Strader and his wife of 52 years, Susan, have continued the tradition with their four children and 11 grandchildren, all attending Catholic schools.
“We know this strong foundation prepares them to understand and love faith and be good and honest citizens,” Strader said.
Strader and Buckley were feted at the 16th annual celebration, which each year fills up early and raises hundreds of thousands for Catholic elementary school education.
Since the late Carl Karcher and Peter Muth, both role models for the young Strader, received the first bishop’s awards in 2003, the event has grown exponentially.
According to Hank Evers, director of development and communications for the Orange Catholic Foundation, “Over the years, the Conference on Business & Ethics has raised more than $3.5 million in tuition assistance. Using an average of $1,500 per student, this event has enabled 2,300 children to attend a Catholic school in our diocese.”
This year’s event, he said, netted more than $550,000 for scholarships.
“That equals more than 350 children who are now able to attend Catholic schools,” Evers said.
Strader knows first-hand the importance of education and the Catholic experience.
The youngest of six children, Strader, 80, says his parents had to sacrifice to put him through parochial school. And when his father died, during Strader’s freshman year of college, he worked throughout college to finish his studies.
Strader said Susan, whom he met as UCLA’s Catholic Newman Center, had a similar story, losing her father at a young age and scrambling to make ends meet.
However, Strader said he and his wife both gained discipline and quality education through Catholic schooling that helped them succeed.
“It’s the key to opening opportunities,” Strader said of Catholic education. “That’s why we got involved and are honored to be involved.”
Strader is the founder and chairman of Orange County real estate development and consulting company Starpointe Ventures.
After working as the lawyer for the citizens who formed the city of Irvine in 1970, Strader moved into real estate, helping in the formation of landmark Koll Company projects in Orange County. He formed the Legacy Company in 1984, renamed Starpointe in 1999. Among company’s projects, it is lead consultant to Lennar and FivePoint, in connection with the 3000-acre Great Park Neighborhoods.
In that capacity, Strader said he is often involved in complicated negotiations with many contending interests. And he says Catholic ethics wend through all he does.
“Being a product of Jesuit education, you are taught philosophy and values,” he said, that help ensure “every business deal is done on a fair basis.”
Those values extend to treatment of employees and leadership practices.
Strader’s commitment to education goes beyond sending kids to Catholic schools. He was also among the group that founded Santa Margarita Catholic High School in 1987 and was a past president and member of the Principal’s Council at the school.
Seeking to avert attention from himself, Strader praised Bishop Vann for his leadership and commitment to learning.
“He’s done a good job advancing Catholic education,” Strader said, crediting the bishop for keeping several Catholic schools open and continuing to push for scholarships for needy students.
“What the event does that’s even bigger than bringing together leaders, is its impacts to education,” said Evers. “But that’s what it’s been since the beginning.”
At this year’s event, organizers showed the stories of three beneficiaries of the scholarship, including second-grader Grace Nguyen, who journeys daily with her quadriplegic mother, Sharon, via train and bus from Riverside to Christ Cathedral Academy.
“I call it return on investment,” Evers said of the stories that emerge from the CBE events. “I love to show the stories. Education is so huge.”