The Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana has been energetically serving the Catholic faithful of our diocese since 1999—yet some Catholics in our diocese still aren’t sure exactly what we do here. We hope the following basic Q & As will get you as excited as we are about creating a vibrant future for the Catholic Church!
1. What (and where) on earth is the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana?
We’re so glad you asked! The Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, distinct from the Diocese, that exists to serve the Catholic Church and its future.
We are located in Great Falls, near the Ursuline Center and our diocese’s pastoral office. We frequently travel throughout our diocese, meeting with Catholics who are interested in supporting the Church in this special, never-ending way.
2. What does the Foundation do?
In joyful relationship with Christ and our donors, the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana builds permanent, everlasting endowments to secure a vibrant future for Catholic parishes, schools, and ministries in our diocese.
That is our mission statement. We help Catholics ensure that the things they most love and value about the Church have the financial stability to stick around forever. It’s pretty beautiful, actually.
Our donors are people like you, who care about making a difference and making the Church strong—both now and in the future, both as a whole and in their local communities. They love the Catholic faith, the Sacraments, priests and seminarians, religious, Catholic education, families, teachers, serving the poor, evangelism, the pro-life movement, and much more. They are amazing!
Our priority is making sure that our donors’ vision of a thriving Church is accomplished, exactly as they wish.
3. Endowments? What’s an endowment?
When you give outright to a Catholic organization, whether through their appeals or in the offertory, every dollar you give is there to be spent. It helps meet the organization’s immediate needs.
An endowment is different. It is a permanent fund to benefit a particular parish, school, or ministry—a “forever fund” in which the funds in the endowment are invested, creating a stable and ever-increasing income stream for Catholic entities. With an endowment, benefits begin immediately.
Here’s an example: You give $100 to your parish’s “Greatest Needs” endowment. Those hundred dollars are not spent, but earmarked for that specific parish endowment, and invested with the Foundation’s entire endowment pool. Each year from the moment of your donation and beyond, your parish will receive a percentage of the total endowment balance as its “annual distribution.” As you increase that endowment balance, the annual distribution increases. Therefore, your donation begins helping immediately and will continue doing so forever.
We always note that gifts to endowments are not a replacement for the offertory. Our Catholic Church greatly needs outright support, but also the insurance of an endowment fund that will create income for them forever. Both are good and needed!
4. Why would I give to an endowment at the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana?
There are SO MANY reasons, including:
- Many people like knowing that their gift will help their parish, school, or other ministry not only today—but forever. Whether you want to give $10 or $10,000, each dollar will have an eternal impact on the Church in our diocese.
- What are your values? Supporting the poor? Encouraging pro-life efforts? Helping form more priests for our diocese? Providing for the needs of our faithful priests? You can do all these and more through our 135 endowments at the Catholic Foundation. Whatever you care about most regarding the Church, an endowment is a way to make sure that it can last—and thrive—until Christ returns!
- You can create your own legacy (named) endowment. This is a beautiful way to pay tribute to a deceased loved one or show future generations of your family what values you hold most dear.
- Your endowed gifts can qualify you for unique tax and lifetime income benefits (especially the hefty 40% Montana Endowment Tax Credit) through what we refer to as “planned gifts.”
- We ensure your donations are invested according to Catholic social and moral teaching, as directed by the USCCB.
- Most importantly, endowments create stability for the Church. A solid endowment (or several of them!) can get a small parish, school, or ministry through challenging times like the last few years. In good years, it can make that same organization less dependent on what shows up in offertory envelopes, allowing them to tackle special programs or projects that aren’t supported by their normal budget. It’s amazing what the Church can do when it isn’t worried about money!
5. Who manages the Foundation?
An excellent volunteer Board of Directors governs this organization, comprised of laypeople and clergy who live throughout our diocese, from Columbus to Miles City to Plentywood! Each board member brings unique skills and passion for the Catholic Church to our board, and they work closely with our staff and our professional investment advisors.
The Foundation is staffed by three dedicated people who are ready to help you at any time: Judy Held, our president; Anna Attaway, our communications and development specialist; and Whitney Sunwall, our part-time administrative assistant. We offer free and confidential charitable estate planning services.
What did we miss? Do you have any other questions for us? Is there anything else we can do for you? We’d love to make your dreams for the Church a reality. Please reach out and let us know at [email protected] or 406-315-1765.