Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana Awards $52,000

The Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana is delighted to announce it recently provided $52,000 in grants to 13 Catholic churches, 2 Catholic schools, and 2 Catholic organizations in our diocese. In just its second year, the Foundation’s new grant program saw a 16% increase in funds awarded!

The Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana’s all-volunteer Board of Directors thoroughly reviewed a wide array of applications from across our diocese. In reviewing the grant applications, it was apparent that there is great need, yet amazing work being accomplished by many  whose vision is focused on their ministry.

Perhaps the most gratifying part of serving on the Foundation Board is the opportunity to give back to parishes and causes all over eastern Montana. The new grant program allows Catholic communities of ALL sizes to benefit from the growth of the Foundation. As our Foundation continues to grow, so too will the grants. What a wonderful opportunity to advance our Faith and ensure its future. I urge all of you to explore how you, too, can contribute and benefit from YOUR Catholic Foundation. – John Patterson, Board Vice-Chair




Grants were awarded for many varied purposes, including replacement of old, inefficient equipment, building repairs, serving the needs of the poor and those struggling with addictions, handicapped accessibility, etc.

Following are those who received the $52,000 in grant funding from the Foundation:

Catholic Churches:
Holy Family, Winifred
Immaculate Conception, Fort Benton
Immaculate Conception, Wolf Point
Mary Queen of Peace, Billings
Our Lady of Lourdes, Poplar
Sacred Heart, Glendive
St. Bernard, Billings
St. Joseph, Hardin
St. Jude Thaddeus, Havre
St. Leo the Great, Lewistown
St. Mary, Columbus
St. Patrick Co-Cathedral, Billings
St. Pius X, Billings

Catholic organizations serving the community:
Heisey Community Center, Great Falls
St. Vincent de Paul, Billings

Catholic Schools:
Central Catholic High School, Great Falls
St. Jude Thaddeus School, Havre

These grants are possible due to the generosity of those who specify their donations to the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana for the Greatest Needs Endowment or the Parish Assistance Endowment. It is an honor to put the kindness of our donors to good work within our diocese!

We are hopeful that one day soon there will be enough grant funding available to fulfill every grant request. Your support will help achieve that goal!

Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana Announces
$45,000 Awarded with Help from Donors

Before 2020 dawned, 12 parishes, 2 Catholic schools, and 2 Catholic organizations in our diocese received a wonderful gift to start the new decade – a financial gift of needed money from the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana. Announced in mid-2019, the grant money was applied for by several Catholic organizations for special needs projects and funds that fell outside of their daily operating budgets. The total amount awarded to the sixteen entities was $45,000.

This new grant program at the Catholic Foundation is funded through the generosity of donors who give charitable contributions for permanent endowments. Specifically, the grant funds came from the following donor-supported sources:

  1. Annual distribution from the Greatest Needs Endowment
  2. Annual distribution from the Parish Assistance Endowment (see inset)
  3. Annual distribution from the Steffen Endowment (named after Mr. John Steffen, who made a generous gift upon his passing in 2010)
  4. Gifts not endowed, but given for the Greatest Needs

The Foundation Board took into great consideration all applications. Awards were made for many different purposes; technology to enhance youth ministry programs, building repairs for churches, liturgy needs, lighting and security improvements, sound systems, and kitchen needs for serving meals to the poor. The Foundation received several additional worthy requests that, sadly, had to be declined because of the limitation of available funds. As more Catholics give to support the endowments listed above, the grant amounts will continue to grow each year and more Catholic parishes, schools, and organizations will be able to receive grant assistance – a welcome gift to support any Catholic budget!

Following are those who were awarded the $45,000 in grant awards:

Catholic Churches:

  • Immaculate Conception, Fort Benton
  • Mary Queen of Peace, Billings
  • Our Lady of Lourdes, Poplar
  • St. Agnes, Red Lodge
  • St. Anthony, Laurel
  • St. Gabriel, Chinook
  • St. John the Evangelist, Baker
  • St. Leo the Great, Lewistown
  • St. Mark, Belt
  • St. Mary, Malta
  • St. Raphael, Glasgow
  • St. Thomas the Apostle, Billings

Catholic organizations serving the needy:

  • St. Ann’s Kitchen (St. Ann Cathedral), Great Falls
  • St. Vincent de Paul, Billings

Catholic Schools:

  • Sacred Heart School, Miles City
  • St. Jude Thaddeus School, Havre

About the Parish Assistance Endowment

Allie Russell of Holy Family Parish, Glentana, launched the Parish Assistance Endowment in 2015 with her first gift. In an article published in The Harvest in 2015, Allie said, “It is an honor to be able to help the churches. Some of them are really in need and I am glad to do what I can.” She said that coming from Glentana, which is a very small, rural parish, she understands how difficult it is for some small parishes to make ends meet. She thought it would be nice to begin an endowment where the distribution each year could help any parish in need. And she hopes others in our diocese, who may come from more financially secure parishes, would join her in giving to the Parish Assistance Endowment to help out other folks in our own diocese.

“As a long-time member of the Board of the Foundation, it is very exciting and rewarding to see how the Foundation is helping parishes, schools, and other Catholic organizations in our diocese through the new grant program. For many years, through generous gifts of many donors, the Foundation has steadily grown larger and is now able to give back to many of the same parishes, schools, and Catholic organizations which helped to grow the Foundation to where it is today.”
Gale Kreitzberg, Board Chair, St. Pius X Parish, Billings

“As a new member to the Board for the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana I’m really excited about the awards given to our Grant recipients. It’s easy to feel like a small fish in a big pond in much of Eastern Montana but the Foundation’s new grant program allows for great work to be completed throughout our diocese, no matter how big or small a Catholic organization may be. ”
~ Rachel Howard, Board Member, St. Joseph Parish, Plentywood


“This grant makes all the difference in the world to our very small parish in Red Lodge. Because of the grant, we are able to bring the amazing ministry of Casting Nets to our area. We all understand that our young people are leaving the church at an alarming rate. We are called to be disciples, and we have to act. This conference is geared toward our young people and parish mission. Without this financial assistance, we could never have accomplished this great work that God calls us to do.”
~ Kathy Serrat, Youth Minister, St. Agnes Parish, Red Lodge


“Mary Queen of Peace Parish is very grateful for the grant from the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana. It allowed our parish to purchase permanent liturgical books for our parishioners. In this Glory & Praise publication we recall Pope Francis’ desire for making the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time as ‘Word of God Sunday.’  These permanent liturgical books will bring into focus the Word of God and our parishioners will truly benefit!”
~ Fr. José Marquez, Pastor of Mary Queen of Peace Parish in Billings 

You Are Invited To Help Build This Important Grant Program

Your gift (of any amount) for either of the following permanent endowments at the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana will help greatly to ensure the continuance and growth of this new grant program to perpetually benefit the Catholic Church in our diocese:

  • Greatest Needs Endowment
  • Parish Assistance Endowment

Depending upon the amount of your gift, it may also qualify you to receive the 40% Montana Charitable Endowment Tax Credit in 2020. For more information about utilizing this substantial tax credit in your gift planning, please contact Judy Held, Foundation President, at (406) 315-1765 or [email protected].

To make an online gift, visit our DONATE page or mail to:

Catholic Foundation of Eastern Montana
PO Box 1345
Great Falls, MT 59403

Non-cash gifts are also always welcome (i.e. appreciated stock and mutual funds, land, real and personal property, etc.).