Notre Dame alum earns national recognition for philanthropy

1988 alumnus is honored for work in helping underprivileged children receive a Notre Dame Prep education; also a finalist in the 2017 Invest in Others Awards.

Nearly two decades ago, Notre Dame alum Paul Housey (’88) founded Building Bridges, a non-profit dedicated to inspiring underprivileged children in Pontiac, Mich., to believe in themselves by connecting them with adult role models and private high school scholarships.

Paul Housey, an alumnus of Notre Dame High School and co-founder of Troy-based ISTO Advisors, has been announced as one of three national finalists for the Catalyst Award as part of the eleventh annual Invest in Others Awards. Housey is being honored for his work with Building Bridges, which will receive a $5,000 donation from the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation. If Housey wins his category, the donation will increase to $20,000.

Nearly two decades ago, Housey, who graduated from NDHS in 1988, founded Building Bridges, a non-profit dedicated to inspiring underprivileged children in Pontiac, Mich., to believe in themselves by connecting them with adult role models and private high school scholarships. Since 2004, Building Bridges has partnered with Notre Dame Preparatory High School in Pontiac to sponsor dozens of high school students, connecting them with high-quality education and putting them on the path to a college education.

According to Housey, kids who haven’t had a fair chance for a good education should get one. “So we get good and generous people together as donors or advocates to inspire these kids to believe in themselves, and once they believe in themselves, the sky’s the limit.”

Mikal Spann, a 2009 graduate of Notre Dame Prep, attended the school with the help of a Building Bridges scholarship. He went on to attend MSU and currently works in the financial services industry.

The Building Bridges organization’s work has included helping to educate schoolchildren through its school-based program, ongoing mentoring activities with children at Christ Child House in Detroit and an annual holiday gifting program that provides hundreds of gifts to children whose families cannot afford even a single gift.

“Notre Dame Prep and Building Bridges truly have a unique and meaningful partnership,” said Housey, who will be traveling to New York City in late September for the final award ceremony. “From the early days of working with Gregory Simon (director of advancement) and Andy Guest (head of school) to get this off the ground, to all of Greg’s hard work for 10 years on identifying strong candidates, to (dean of diversity and associate dean of admissions) Kala Parker’s tireless efforts that now help support 38 students on scholarship, the Notre Dame team has been extraordinary.”

Housey said he is committed to spending every dollar Building Bridges raises on scholarships and related programming; he and his wife personally finance all other organizational overhead expenses. His enthusiasm for education inspires annual fundraising events and encourages the Board members he has assembled over the past decades to also give generously.

Building Bridges has changed the trajectory of the lives of many young adults in Pontiac, allowing them to attain an education and break the cycle of poverty that affects many families in the community. The organization also connects students with adult advocates who provide mentoring and real world guidance over the students’ four-year high school career and beyond. Every graduate of the program has gone on to pursue a college education. According to Housey, this year, Building Bridges plans to support 40 high school students and will underwrite more than $300,000 in tuition payments.

NOTE: The Detroit Pistons will be hosting a fundraiser for Building Bridges on Aug. 31 from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. For $40, guests will be able to mingle with the Pistons’ cheerleaders, watch the players in one of their last workouts on the Palace floor, receive Pistons’ paraphernalia, and get a ticket to a game at the new Little Caesar’s Arena. More info and tickets are available here.

The Invest in Others Awards program recognizes the charitable work of financial advisors and financial services firms in communities across the country and around the world. Advisors are nominated by their peers for actively giving back to non-profits to improve their communities and make a difference in the lives of others. There are five award categories for advisors and two for financial services companies.

Invest in Others received hundreds of nominations this year and finalists were selected based on their leadership, dedication, contribution, inspiration, and impact on a non-profit and the community it serves. Nominations were blindly reviewed by a diverse panel of judges representing industry associations and national media outlets.

Awards will be presented at the eleventh annual Invest in Others Awards Gala, a premier event attended by nearly 600 financial advisors and financial services executives, on September 28, 2017, in New York, NY.

About the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation
The inspiration for the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation came directly from the financial advisors who invest in others by giving back to their communities with overwhelming generosity and dedication. Since its founding in 2006, Invest in Others has amplified these efforts by providing a platform for advisors to increase awareness, visibility, and funding to their favorite non-profits. For more information, visit

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About Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy
Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy is a private, Catholic, independent, coeducational day school located in Oakland County. The school’s upper division enrolls students in grades nine through twelve and has been named one of the nation’s best 50 Catholic high schools (Acton Institute) four times since 2005. Notre Dame’s middle and lower divisions enroll students in jr. kindergarten through grade eight. All three divisions are International Baccalaureate “World Schools.” NDPMA is conducted by the Marist Fathers and Brothers and is accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement. For more on Notre Dame Preparatory School and Marist Academy, visit the school’s home page at