Jan. 8, 2016
The Catastrophic Relief Fund (CRF), a hallmark service initiative of the Monogram Club, has been renamed the Heaton Fund in honor of former Club president Mike Heaton (’68, ’71 football & golf).
Heaton is responsible for the formation and management of the CRF, which is a need-based fund solely funded by donations made by Monogram Club membership intended to assist Monogram winners faced with catastrophic problems of health and/or financial hardship.
“There is no one more deserving of this honor than Mike Heaton,” says Monogram Club President Kevin O’Connor (’89, lacrosse). “The Catastrophic Relief Fund, which has helped many of our members during difficult times, was his brainchild and I can think of no better way of acknowledging that, as well as his many years of service to the Club, than by naming this fund in his honor.”
The fund’s concept originated in the summer of 2005 and to date it has issued over $200,000 to Monogram Club members and their families in need.
“I was meeting with my former teammates Jim Seymour and Tom Reynolds and they brought up another former teammate who had ALS and was in dire financial straits,” says Heaton about the fund’s origin. “Jimmy (Seymour) said to me why can’t we do something similar to what the NFL does with a dire needs fund.
“I approached (then Notre Dame director of athletics) Kevin White and (then Monogram Club executive director) Jim Fraleigh and they thought it was a good idea. We then had to make sure we had some clearances with the NCAA.”
One of the fund’s recipients was the family of former Notre Dame football standout Dean Brown (‘89), who passed away unexpectedly in November of 2012.
“The girls and I were moved and encouraged by the support of the Notre Dame Monogram Club’s Catastrophic Relief Fund,” says Dean’s widow, Brenda Brown. “On top of monetary assistance, they provided their prayers and kind words. This gave us hope and comfort during our time of loss. The girls and I are eternally grateful. Thank you to everyone who supports this fund. It was a blessing to our entire family and a representation of the generosity and compassion of the Notre Dame Monogram Club members.”
The announcement of the fund’s name change occurred during the Monogram Club’s fall board of directors meeting.
“At the September board meeting I was caught totally off guard when Kevin O’Connor announced that the CRF would be named after me,” says Heaton. “I became incredibly emotional and couldn’t even speak. I am truly humbled and honored to have my name associated with such an important resource for our Monogram Club members and their families.
“Working on the Catastrophic Relief Fund for the past 10 years has been a labor of love. To be able to assist our fellow Monogram Club members and their families in a time of financial crisis is extremely rewarding for me. I think it’s what the Monogram Club is all about.”
Heaton began his service with the Monogram Club in 1990 as a board member (’90-’94) and then six years in the president rotation. He was Club president from 1999-2001 and later was the organization’s past president, legal counsel, and part of the past presidents’ council.
Heaton was a receiver and placekicker at Notre Dame, playing four seasons and earning a Monogram as a senior in the fall of 1967. He also went on to Monogram with the golf team in the spring of 1968.
A partner with Chicago-based law firm O’Keefe, Lyons & Hynes, LLC, since 1980, Heaton received his undergraduate (’68) and law school (’71) degrees from Notre Dame before serving as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy JAG Corps from 1971-75.
Heaton is a member of the board of advisors of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago. He is past president of the Notre Dame Club of Chicago, past president of the Notre Dame Club of Chicago Scholarship Foundation, a member of the board of directors of Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School and the Catholic Theological Union.
Heaton and his wife, Barbara née Sinon (Saint Mary’s ’68 and ND ’69) have four children: daughter Anne (ND ’94) and sons Joe, Conor and Kevin.
— Sean Carroll, Monogram Club Communications Associate