Faculty & Staff

Cathy Wloch

Director of Donor Engagement


Northern Illinois University, BA, Journalism


Cathy Wloch’s career in performing arts fundraising began upon her college graduation, when the late, great Ardis Krainik hired her to work in the PR department at Lyric Opera. Like many fundraising professionals, Cathy was drawn to the development department where she saw donors and potential donors passionately engaged with various programs they supported, or wished to support, at the opera. This set her on a career that has always centered on the rewards of linking donors with programs they believe in and love to support. While spending the majority of her career at Lyric Opera, she also spent a number of years at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and several more at Brookfield Zoo developing the Zoo’s first corporate fundraising program. Cathy is proud to serve on the Guild Board of Directors at Lyric Opera, is married to Brien, a commercial real estate finance entrepreneur, and they have three grown children who all love the arts and the joy of giving through philanthropy. Two of their children serve on the Associate Board at Merit, one of whom serves as chair. The third will serve when he’s old enough!


Chopin – I love his Nocturnes!

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“Music education opens doors of opportunity and self-discovery for young people. Music has the potential to bring limitless joy, and soothing comfort for the darkest times. It can conform and respond to any personality type, strength, or weakness and has potential for boundless creativity. Music can be for all, and it can be for one. I see it as a gift that we should never take for granted, but should do everything we possibly can to provide for young people.”