Board of Directors
Michael C. LaFever, President
Dr. LaFever is the President of the CCLC and a retired Superintendent of Catholic Schools for Western New York in the Diocese of Buffalo. He proposed that the model of funding Catholic education could not sustain itself long-term. A system that depended on “tuition and the gifts of others” in his opinion would at some point exhaust itself. He felt that tuition had to remain reasonable so that any family regardless of their denomination or absence of one, could afford a faith-based education. Dr. LaFever was also concerned about “fundraising exhaustion”, meaning that year after year of fundraisers in Catholic schools would eventually become too much for people to keep contributing. In addition, the low salaries and benefits offered to the employees of the Catholic schools continually contributed to turnover resulting in instability. As a result of these concerns, Dr. LaFever suggested that a new approach to funding Catholic schools was needed and created the Catholic Children’s Learning Corporation.
Dr. LaFever’s vision for the CCLC is to create an income stream for Catholic schools while at the same time provide opportunities to contribute to the communities where those schools exist. Further, it is hoped that as the CCLC grows opportunities for youth employment will occur. Through these efforts, young people will be able to learn life skills and contribute to their education by earning funds for their own school tuition.
For fifty years, Dr. LaFever has worked in the field of education. His career has included teaching, and administration in both public and parochial schools for both K-12 and Higher education.
Mr. John Vecchio,
John began his career as a Catholic Schoolteacher (Holy Trinity, Dunkirk, NY) before transitioning to Business at M&T, Goldome and Fleet Banks, serving as Vice President in their Consumer Banking/Operations/Residential Real Estate Divisions.
As VP for Institutional Advancement at Trocaire College, (2000 - 2013), John served as the college’s Chief Advancement Officer, College Spokesperson, and as a member of the President’s Cabinet.
John also served as a Relationship Manager for the Foundation of the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo (2014-2016) and was a loaned executive to the Catholic Charities Corporate Annual Appeal.
As President of Vecchio & Associates, LLC his firm’s clients include: The North Park Italian Center Project, Ronald Mc Donald House of WNY, The Clarence Rotary Foundation, The Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park and The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Northtowns. John is proud of his volunteer services in nonprofit agencies throughout WNY.
Members of St. Benedicts Church, John and his wife Janice reside in East Amherst.
Mr. Vecchio’s educational background includes:
BS Education, SUNY Fredonia, 1974.
MBA, Canisius College, 1989.
The Professional Development Leadership Program Certificate, Canisius, 2001.
Mr. Jeffery Blair,
Jeff Blair grew up in WNY and attended Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut where he played ice hockey as a goalie; graduating with a degree in Political Science. After two years trying his hand at professional hockey, Jeff attended law school; graduating from the University at Buffalo. Jeff has worked as an attorney for the last 15 years focusing on business law and doing a lot of work in the Not-For-Profit sector. Jeff currently is a Partner at the Blair Law Group. Jeff is married to Myroslava Blair and they are the pround parents toa baby girl, Nadiya.
Kevin Brayer has a long career committed to and an advocate for Catholic Education.
Retiring in May of 2017, from St. Bonaventure University as the Executive Director of the St. Bonaventure Buffalo Center where he served as the Chief Operations Officer for 17 years. He was responsible for overseeing all the day-to-day operations and delivery of graduate programs in Business, Education, and Integrated Marketing at the Buffalo Center. During his years in administration, he also taught marketing-related courses in the undergraduate and graduate programs at both campuses. In the spring of 2012, he was awarded The Professional Excellence in Teaching Award. This is award is the highest honor given to an academic by the University. Prior to overseeing the operations of the St. Bonaventure Buffalo Center, his service started at St. Bonaventure University teaching in the Marketing Department beginning in the fall of 1982.
Over his years at St. Bonaventure, he served on the following committees: The President’s Senior Management Committee, The Associate Provost’s Graduate Committee, Graduate Marketing Committee, St. Francis Week Planning Committee and the St. Bonaventure Gaudete Honors Dinner Committee. Outside his service at St. Bonaventure University, his services included the Chairperson for the WNY Consortium of Colleges and Universities, Adult Educational Services Committee for 10 years. Also, he served in advisory roles to the American Marketing Association, and as an academic advisor to Buffalo/Niagara Sales Marketing Executives.
Prior to his years at St. Bonaventure, He started his academic career in 1978 at Daemen College as an Assistant Professor of Marketing and Management. His service at Daeman included committee involvement and the Academic Advisor to Phi Sigma Epsilon Sales/Marketing Fraternity.
For the past 18 years volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House, his service includes being a founding member of the Ronald McDonald House 5k Run. Since its inception in 2002, the 5k run has raised over $1,000,000 for the Ronald McDonald House that helped over 20,000 families stay at the House during their time of need. Currently, his service includes being a Ronald McDonald House Board Member and Chairing the Marketing Committee. Also, he served on the Executive Committee, Grants Committee, and Co-Chaired the 25th and 30 Anniversary events and coordinated volunteer opportunities at the Ronald McDonald House.
He has been a member of the St. Louis Church Parish family for over 30 years. During those years his service to the parish his involvement includes Sacristan, Usher, Eucharistic Minister, a reader at Lessons and Carols, and a member of the Parish Council. In June 2019, he was elected President of the St. Louis Parish Council.
Samuel F. Iraci, Jr.
Currently, Mr. Iraci is the Executive Director of Buffalo Civic Auto Ramps in the City of Buffalo He has had an extensive career in public service starting in 1978 a the Director of State of Federal Aid, for the City of Buffalo. Other professional positions have included Director of Labor Relations, Deputy Mayor, Executive Assistant to the Mayor, Commissioner of Community Development, City Manager, and Public Sector Consulting/Assistant to the Mayor City of Tonawanda
Samuel has a strong Catholic educational background having attended Canisius High School, Niagara University and Canisius College He holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in Public Administration.
Mr. Iraci continues his service to the community by serving on the finance committee of St Rose of Lima Parish and on the board of directors for both the Catholic Academy of West Buffalo and the Western New York Maritime Charter School.
Erica Aikin holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Elementary Education and a Masters of Science in Administration & Supervision. Ms. Aikin has served in Catholic education for 23 years. She recently held the position of Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction for the Diocese of Buffalo. In that position, she helped all Catholic elementary schools prepare for the scoring of New York State student exams, led curriculum development and textbook adoptions, conducted professional development, provided leadership for instructional strategies and served as the superintendent’s representative to the schools. Currently, Ms. Aikin works in the Education Department for the U.S. Veteran’s Benefits Association where she continues to support the educational development of our veterans.
Ms. Aikin is the mother of three young adults all of whom attended school in Catholic elementary schools.