The Catholic Foundation aims to be a one-stop financial stop
The Catholic Foundation of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the archdiocesan Office of Stewardship and Development have merged into one entity – The Catholic Foundation – that will serve to financially sustain and enhance the charitable, educational and spiritual ministries of the archdiocese.
Charles W. Heim Jr. will serve as executive director of The Catholic Foundation, and Cory J. Howat, the former executive director of the Office of Stewardship and Development, will serve as assistant executive director of The Catholic Foundation.
Heim said the merger, which took effect July 1, makes strategic sense because it allows The Catholic Foundation to offer comprehensive services in helping parishes, schools, Catholic organizations and other ministries raise money, both short- and long-term, necessary for their future operations.
Josephine Everly also has been named director of gift planning and chief operating officer of The Catholic Foundation.
Partnerships are key
Heim, executive director of The Catholic Foundation since 2013, said the foundation has worked to “establish partnerships with Catholic agencies” such as Catholic Charities, Notre Dame Seminary, Notre Dame Hospice and high schools owned and operated by the archdiocese, offering consulting expertise to deal with legacy and planned giving.
“That’s what we’re here for,” Heim said.
Because the Office of Stewardship and Development had forged excellent relationships with pastors in creating stewardship programs and capital campaigns, Heim said it made sense to follow the lead of many dioceses across the country where “the Catholic Foundation and the Office of Stewardship were one and the same.”
“What this does is give The Catholic Foundation the ability to help with stewardship and development, capital campaigns, fund-raising, legacy or planned giving,” Heim said. “We will be a better service to every ministry within the archdiocese. A lot of Catholic entities don’t have a great appreciation for what the foundation can help them with.”
Howat said the merger will benefit “not only donors on The Catholic Foundation side” but also help parishes and pastors, who will be able to reach out in new ways to individuals for their philanthropic gifts.
“We have to look at it as how are we best serving our parishes,” Howat said. “When you are talking about people’s generosity, there really is no difference from an endowed gift down to someone’s weekly giving or capital campaign giving. The Foundation was birthed out of the Office of Stewardship and Development 40 years ago. This is kind of a journey back to our roots.”
The Catholic Foundation was established in 1976 by Archbishop Philip Hannan, who wanted a dedicated program for planned giving to the archdiocese in the areas of wills and bequests, insurance gifts and trusts. Local attorney Charles Gremillion served as the first president.
In June 2015, The Catholic Foundation had assets of $87.4 million, and during the 2014-15 fiscal year, it distributed $14.4 million to support parishes, school, organizations and ministries of the archdiocese. Heim said he hopes the foundation will increase the number of seminars it gives in parishes on the topic of estate planning.
Regina Templet, chief financial officer, said the foundation manages 365 funds for Catholic entities. “I’m most touched by how much money goes out to the community,” Templet said.
The foundation also is establishing a Legacy Society as a way of thanking individuals whose financial gifts have helped the work of the church over the years. This also will be the second year of IGiveCatholic, an online giving day on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 29, on which individuals can pledge money to help Catholic causes in the archdiocese.
The effort brought in $1.3 million last year and was so successful that the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux will participate with the Archdiocese of New Orleans this year. The Archdiocese of Cleveland will host its own online giving day on that day.
“We presented an opportunity that made it easy for people to participate and be generous,” Heim said. “In some cases, the $25 minimum gift was not that much money, but in some cases, it was a lot of money. People stepped up to the plate.”
The foundation also is helping parishes install ParishSOFT software which will help parishes build better relationships with parishioners, especially in terms of their ministry experiences.
“It allows you to say this parishioner was a eucharistic minister for three years, and they’ve been gone for two years but I noticed they’re still giving,” Howat said. “Have we invited them to be a part of any other ministry. They’ve shown a willingness to help, but maybe they’ve fallen off the radar.”
About 30 of the archdiocese’s 111 parishes have been trained in the software so far.