CCDS alumnus issues match challenge for Triumphant Scholars Program
CCDS alumnus issues match challenge for Triumphant Scholars Program

Roger B. Kafker, a 1980 graduate of Cincinnati Country Day School, has made a $2 million gift, the largest amount ever donated to the school for tuition aid, to launch the Triumphant Scholars Program.

The program provides full tuition scholarships to academically-talented students with significant financial need. In addition to a strong academic record, qualifying students must demonstrate active community involvement and character that are a fit with the school's virtues of respect, responsibility, courage, compassion, and integrity.

The first Triumphant Scholar, awarded as part of a pilot program in 2017-18, is now a freshman at Oberlin College. This year's scholar is an incoming CCDS ninth grader from Bond Hill.

Kafker, a managing director at TA Associates, a global growth private equity firm, announced his gift at Country Day's annual 'State of the School' event. He also challenged the Country Day community to raise an additional $1 million within 12 months to enable the scholarship to support more students. He pledged to match that amount dollar-for-dollar, placing the Triumphant Scholar Fund's total at $4 million.

Three months into the challenge, the school has raised nearly $500,000 toward the $1 million target.

Head of School Tony Jaccaci summarized his excitement: "There is no greater gift than the gift of education. Roger's generous support and the launch of the Triumphant Scholars Program makes a Country Day education accessible to outstanding students no matter their circumstances. I'm excited by our community's response, enthusiastically supporting the challenge and sharing in Roger's vision. It is a testament to their commitment to our school and its motto: 'Virtue in Action.'"

Kafker's philanthropy was inspired by the author of Hillbilly Elegy. "The idea of creating the scholarship came to me after hearing J.D. Vance speak about the transformation from living in a small Appalachian town in Kentucky and moving in with his grandparents in Middletown."

"This is where his story changed. He pushed through barriers and boundaries, growing beyond the working-class neighborhood." Vance, a military veteran, is a graduate of Ohio State University and Yale Law School.

Kafker was also motivated to give back to his alma mater because of the benefits he received from his Country Day education. "I have seen, time and time again throughout my career, the importance of a great education. It sets you apart. I'm grateful for all that I learned at Country Day, in the classroom and in the relationships I built – and treasure to this day – across a diverse student body."

"I believe that the Triumphant Scholars Program, enabling students with significant financial need to attend Country Day, will change the trajectory of their lives," Kafker said.

Those interested in learning more about Kafker's gift or supporting the Triumphant Scholars Program should contact Louise Vaughan, Director of Strategic Initiatives (513) 979-0284 or, or Paula Brock, Director of Donor Relations (513) 979-0282 or for more information.