In 1959 when John Moody enrolled in the 5th grade at St. John’s, he could not have foreseen the role the School and its community would play in his life for years to come. What began as a single thread would one day weave itself into a colorful tapestry rich with community, family, and a love of learning.
As a graduate of the Class of 1967, Moody fondly recalls the character and caliber of the faculty at St. John’s and the profound impact they had on him. Specifically, he credits the faculty for their care in developing a young man who learned the values of personal accountability, responsibility, and commitment. While his subsequent studies took Moody to Stanford and then the University of Texas School of Law, he never forgot his roots and continued to feel a strong connection to his alma mater. During the 70s and 80s, he had two children attend St. John’s. Moody later moved to New York for a period to pursue business opportunities.
When the time came to return to Houston, Moody once again found himself reconnecting to the St. John’s community – this time with wife Eileen as SJS grandparents. And then, in 2007, Moody received what he describes as a gift – an opportunity to reengage with the School in a completely different capacity – an invitation to join the SJS Board of Trustees. Once again, the Moodys were given had a chance to view the School through a new lens.
John’s service on the Board informed his understanding of the School’s budget and the various tools available to the School to aid in accessibility and to secure its long-term health – endowment being among the most critical of tools. A gift to the endowment is quite literally the gift that keeps on giving. The School invests the funds and only spends a small percentage each year as the funds accrue interest in perpetuity. At one of his first Board retreats in 2008, John recollects a bold call to double the School’s endowment from $50M at the time to $100M in 10 years. Twelve years later with a healthy $80M endowment, Moody recognizes both the challenges of securing endowment dollars and the profound opportunities they would create.
Now, after completing his third year serving as Board Chair, John and Eileen’s commitment to St. John’s and their love for the School have never been stronger. Understanding that the best way to secure the future of St. John’s and its families is to grow the endowment, John and Eileen have generously committed to joining the Chidsey Society with a $1,000,000 bequest to unrestricted endowment. While endowment gifts over $50,000 may be restricted to a particular purpose, leaving their gift as unrestricted was an important component of the gift for John. As he has seen through his years and varied roles at St. John’s, while the institution at its core remains the same, the priorities often shift. An unrestricted gift means the School can use it to meet its greatest needs.
Moody said, “The longer I serve on the Board and understand the school budget, the focus on endowment becomes more critical. This is the time to turn our attention and see if we can move the needle. As Board Chair, this is an institutional priority near and dear to my heart, and Eileen and I feel we can help lead by financially supporting a goal we have embraced.”
Nearly 60 years after his first day at St. John’s, John and Eileen are proud grandparents of Wyatt ’24, Kate ’25, and Charlotte ’32. With conviction in their investment in the future of the School, the Moodys know that their grandchildren and their grandchildren’s classmates will one day be prepared to lead for the next 60 years.