An Indianapolis couple, known for charitable giving, made a major gift Saturday to a local high school.
It kicks-off a multi-million dollar capital campaign at Herron High School to restore buildings on the campus on East 16th Street in Indianapolis.
In the classrooms at Herron High School, there is a lot of success. But out of 700 teens enrolled, there's no typical student. There are artists, athletes and academic students. It's that diversity and dedication to education that drew in Steve and Livia Russell.
Steve, the founder and chairman of the board of Celadon trucking and Livia, a retired realtor, felt something special here the first time they walked through Herron's doors.
"The positive energy, the students - everybody was talking and vibrant and there was just a wonderful feeling that these kids were thrilled to be here," Livia Russell said.
That's why the Russells are making a generous gift to this Indianapolis charter school.
They've donated $2 million to jump-start a new $5.3 million capital campaign to renovate buildings on the Indianapolis campus. It's called "Rebuilding the Past for the Future".
"We have the great hope that Steve and Livia Russell's gift will inspire others to give to our school, so that we can complete the capital campaign," said Herron's Head of School, Janet McNeal.
Now in its 8th year as a charter school, Herron High has reason to boast. Nearly 100% of its students graduate and go on to college.
"The number of lives that Herron High School is changing is wonderful," Steve Russell said. "Kids who wouldn't go to college or wouldn't finish high school are now going to be not only successful in life, but they're going to be contributing to make Indianapolis better, Indiana better and America better and that's worth something."
But unlike regular public schools, as a charter school, Herron does not receive taxpayer dollars for facilities, technology or transportation.
That's why school leaders say the Russell's gift and the capital campaign is so important.
The donations are meant to make Herron's surroundings just as successful as the students inside.