Dennis and Nancy MarksDr. Dennis and Nancy Marks are proud to support Sister Eileen Enright (center) and her vision for quality education for all.

Providing a Brighter Future Thanks to a Common Past

Retired pediatrician Dr. Dennis Marks feels a strong connection to the obstacles Cristo Rey High School Sacramento’s students face, all of whom come from economically challenged families. “I was in the same position as they are—working while going to high school,” he explains. “It is not easy!”

Dr. Marks is referring to Cristo Rey’s unique Work-Study Program. Students attend classes four days a week, and one day a week work offsite at various area businesses where they learn professional work skills and generate income to offset the cost of their education. The Work-Study formula is geared toward making academic achievement a tangible reality, while enabling students to acquire the tools to break the cycle of poverty and eventually become a vital part of Sacramento’s workforce.

Working with Mercy Foundation, Dennis and Nancy have given generously to Cristo Rey. Through their donor-advised fund they directed $500,000 towards the new facility and have committed an additional $500,000 through Mercy Foundation in support of Cristo Rey’s program enhancements. “We are so impressed by what they are doing at Cristo Rey,” says Nancy Marks. “We want to support them however we can.”

Dr. Marks practiced pediatrics in the Arden area for 30 years while he and his wife, Nancy, raised their four children. Throughout his career and into retirement he and Nancy have supported various philanthropic projects. For them, Cristo Rey and its mission to provide a college preparatory education to underserved students has been a natural choice. “My parents were immigrants from Greece,” recalls Dennis. “No one in my family had graduated from college before, but they always supported me.” The fact that he and his wife are now doing their part for these deserving students is their way of paying it forward.