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Connor Bradford

Traveling to Puerto Rice and witnessing the great work Caras Con Causa is doing in the San Juan region was an eye-opening experience.

Connor Bradford

Connor Bradford. Photo by Maggie Rotermund

I’ve worked on the receiving side of philanthropy, so I was excited to shift roles and help the Opus Prize pass their blessings to deserving causes. 

I graduated from SLU in 2017 and started working in Development right after graduation. In my current role, I engage Arts and Sciences graduates with our college’s faculty and leadership and forge meaningful connections between alumni and our alma mater. My favorite part of fundraising for SLU is listening to alumni share how their Jesuit education shaped and impacted their careers and lives. 

Learning about the significant gaps in the educational system in Puerto Rico was shocking, but observing how Michael Fernandez-Frey and his team are working to close those gaps was encouraging. Caras Con Causa is tackling systemic issues through a multi-faceted approach and improving the lives of Puerto Rico’s marginalized youth. Reflecting on my experience made me question my beliefs and challenge my perception of my personal role in society.

I’ve worked on the receiving side of philanthropy, so I was excited to shift roles and help the Opus Prize pass their blessings to deserving causes.” 

Connor Bradford, SLU Opus Prize Ambassador

While in Puerto Rico, I was looking to immerse myself in the San Juan region and experience a day in the life of an average child growing up in the face of systemic poverty and oppression. While I believe I witnessed many of the issues that plague Puerto Rican life, I cannot imagine enduing the same conditions that citizens face daily while still maintaining the level or pride that Puerto Ricans project.

Experiencing Michael Fernandez-Frey’s humility was both and humbling and inspiring. Michael is a larger-than-life figure who approaches his work with unwavering resilience and fervor. Michael also spoke favorably of his fellow Puerto Rican and St. Louis Cardinal, Yadier Molina, which I appreciated. 

Participating in the Opus Prize’s due diligence visit to Caras con Causa meant the world to me. Representing Saint Louis University in this unique philanthropic partnership was a fulfilling experience and I am grateful for the personal and spiritual growth this opportunity afforded me.

Reflection by Connor Bradford, a development director in Saint Louis University’s College of Arts & Sciences and a 2017 SLU graduate. Bradford evaluated Cara con Causa, whose mission is to “promote community development to eradicate poverty through education, the environment and economic development together with the communities of Cataño and Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Since its inception, its work has been characterized by the integration of multiple development approaches to promote community self-management.”