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Ave Maria Residents Launch Foundation to Spur Cultural, Ethical Revival

Many who moved to Ave Maria say they were motivated, at least in part, by a view that it was a haven from what they believe is a coarsening of the culture at large.

Now, two town residents – former Ave Maria University economics professor Joe Burke and businessman Jim Soltis – have set sights beyond the town and are hoping, as Mr. Burke puts it, “to change culture in a positive way” through a new charitable organization they started, the Smooth Stone Foundation.


One of the instruments of that change, a renewed appreciation for the arts, is apparent in the foundation's early efforts to generate interest.

It has commissionMadonna-and-Child275ed both a choral work from former AMU music department chair Tim McDonnell, a Christmas Motet, that will be freely distributed and also an etching, Madonna and Child, (left) from local artist Cornelius Sullivan that will be given to the first 50 donors who give $500 or more.

The foundation has received a ringing endorsement from fellow Ave Maria resident Michael Novak, the noted author and theologian, who writes that the “vision is hopeful and inspiring and it comes at a time when the future seems otherwise bleak in many ways.”

“We're just getting started, but we're very enthusiastic,” Mr. Burke says.

For more on the Smooth Stone Foundation:

Click here for Ave Herald Editor Patricia Sette's Naples Daily News Collier Citizen column Smooth Stone Foundation Looks to the Big Picture

Click here for a video of Dr. McDonnell speaking about his choral work

Click here for the foundation's Facebook page, which does not require Facebook membership to view, with more information on the foundation's goals and how to donate.

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