November 7, 2014

Foundation allows both Church and donors to benefit

During a meeting of the Catholic Community Foundation (CCF) on Oct. 29 at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis, Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin presents George Kempf with a gift of appreciation for his five years of service on the foundation’s board of trustees and as a volunteer advisor on the CCF professional advisory group. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

During a meeting of the Catholic Community Foundation (CCF) on Oct. 29 at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis, Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin presents George Kempf with a gift of appreciation for his five years of service on the foundation’s board of trustees and as a volunteer advisor on the CCF professional advisory group. (Photo by Natalie Hoefer)

By Natalie Hoefer

The Catholic Community Foundation of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis built on its strong double-digit returns from a year ago by posting a gain of 15.4 percent for fiscal year ending on June 30—a significant increase over the previous year’s 10.8 percent gain. The value of the foundation’s 435 funds stood at nearly $171 million as of June 30.

In a letter published in the CCF annual report, Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin noted that “for 27 years, the Catholic Community Foundation has been a trusted means for you to channel your generosity in support of many crucial parish and archdiocesan ministries. … The growth of these endowments will make it possible for the Church to continue her mission in the years to come.”

The Catholic Community Foundation makes it possible to carry on the memory of family members and loved ones as well.

“For many Catholic families, the foundation can serve as a vehicle for creating a remembrance for the life of a loved one, making permanent the priorities, values and ministries held close to their hearts during life,” said Steve Stapleton, president of the CCF board of trustees and a member of St. Matthew the Apostle Parish in Indianapolis. “In so doing, they also help to build sustainable financial support for the future of the Church.”

Stapleton made the comments on Oct. 29 in an address to those involved with or participating in the foundation during their annual meeting at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis.

One vehicle of planned giving that benefits the Church as well as the donor is a charitable gift annuity.

That’s what Paul and Clara Kachinski, members of St. Barnabas Parish in Indianapolis, decided to do.

A CCF brochure describes a charitable gift annuity as “a contribution to the Catholic Community Foundation in exchange for a fixed, lifetime payment to the donor and/or their loved. After death, the remaining funds are transferred to the designated ministry of the Catholic Community Foundation.”

“The brochures were really helpful,” said Clara. “And we liked the percentages they were offering for interest because the banks now on their certificates of deposit are not doing anything at all.

“As we look down the road, this will help us out financially. It’s something we can rely on. It’s like a life insurance policy. The payout will be there as long as we live.”

The couple feels their investment is in good hands.

“The people who are running [the foundation] know what they are doing,” said Paul. “They started out with something like $500,000, and just a couple of years later they had millions of dollars. I thought, ‘I wish they had taken my money and invested it for me!’ We know that we can get a really good return.”

And, he added, “The Church benefits, and we benefit, too.”

Whether donors give to the Catholic Community Foundation via a charitable gift annuity or in some other way, the funds and the interest they generate are vital to the foundation’s purpose of securing the financial well-being of schools, parishes and agencies in the archdiocese.

“The current economic volatility in the world will continue to increase the demand for charitable services and pressure people’s ability to make generous financial contributions,” Brian Burkert, chief financial officer and executive director of the archdiocesan Secretariat for Finance and Administrative Services, said during the annual meeting.

“It also makes it difficult for us to achieve strong investment returns on the assets we have invested. This means it’s even more critical that we stay focused on our mission and providing those ministries that are consistent with our mission.”

During the meeting, Stapleton described some changes in the structure of the CCF board of trustees.

“The foundation has long had an excellent investment committee that provides expert oversight and stewardship of the foundation’s investments,” he said. “Two new committees added this year were the endowment committee and the planned giving committee.”

According to Stapleton, the planned giving committee “will focus on educating Catholics about estate planning issues and ways we can utilize the foundation’s resources,” while the endowment committee will “focus on building the foundation through events and other outreach efforts to help spread the word about the wonderful resource we Catholics have in our Catholic Community Foundation.”

Endowment committee member and CCF trustee Christine Vujovich enjoys the time she dedicates to help guide the foundation in its goals. The retired vice president of marketing and environmental policy for Cummins, Inc., in Columbus, is a member of St. Bartholomew Parish in Columbus.

“I am really struck by how dedicated the members of the board are to what they’re doing,” she said. “All of them are professional in their own right, and are bringing their professional instincts and skills and capability to the board. As a whole, we make really good contributions to the direction of the foundation and meeting its mission.”

During the meeting, Archbishop Tobin announced the re-formation of an archdiocesan pastoral council.

“When I first learned about the Catholic Community Foundation, I suggested that we sharpen the focus of its board to principally the fiduciary responsibility for the generous gifts that we’ve received,” the archbishop said. “But that’s only half of the equation.

“The other part is to look at the signs of the times, and see where we should be as the Church in central and southern Indiana.”

To accomplish this, the archbishop explained, an archdiocesan pastoral council will be re-established. Such a council existed some time ago, but the group was disbanded and some of their advising role had been assumed by the CCF board.

A group of demographically diverse laity, religious, deacons and priests from throughout the archdiocese will comprise the new consultative body.

“I have great confidence that it will be a great help to me and to the other pastoral leaders in looking a little bit down the path and saying, ‘Where are we going as the Church, and where should we be,’ ” Archbishop Tobin said.

“I think that’s the critical question for which the generous resources we receive will be applied.”

Prior to the meeting, Archbishop Tobin and six other priests concelebrated Mass at SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral across the street from the Catholic Center.

During his homily, the archbishop encouraged the Catholic Community Foundation members to live lives of joy.

“That’s not just an exuberance of spirit,” he said. “It’s also a handy acronym: J—Jesus first, O—others second, Y—you third.”

When asked why she and her husband chose to give to engage in planned giving with the Church instead of some other organization, Clara Kachinski recalled the acronym.

“It’s just like Archbishop Tobin said,” she explained. “Jesus first, others second and yourself last. We made our decision knowing [what the Church teaches] about sharing our gifts.”

(For more information about the Catholic Community Foundation, to see the most recent annual report or to read about various forms of planned giving, log onto, or call Ellen Brunner at 800-382-9836, ext. 1427, or 317-236-1427, or e-mail

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