November 16, 2012

Quarter century of stewardship praised during Catholic Community Foundation annual meeting

David Milroy, executive director of the archdiocese’s Secretariat for Stewardship and Development and acting chief financial officer, speaks during the annual meeting of the Catholic Community Foundation on Nov. 7 in the renovated Assembly Hall at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

David Milroy, executive director of the archdiocese’s Secretariat for Stewardship and Development and acting chief financial officer, speaks during the annual meeting of the Catholic Community Foundation on Nov. 7 in the renovated Assembly Hall at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis. (Photo by Sean Gallagher)

By Sean Gallagher

The annual meeting of the Catholic Community Foundation’s board of trustees usually is a time to review the state of the endowments it manages and the overall financial health of the archdiocese over the previous fiscal year.

A broader view was emphasized in this year’s annual meeting on Nov. 7 at the Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara Catholic Center in Indianapolis.

That’s because the Catholic Community Foundation (CCF) is marking the 25th anniversary of its founding.
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“This celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Catholic Community Foundation is a testament to all that is good about the Archdiocese of Indianapolis,” said Bishop Christopher J. Coyne, apostolic administrator, during the meeting. “Vision and strong leadership, combined with the generosity of tens of thousands of Catholics over the past 25 years, have created a foundation that will continue supporting the work of passing on the faith long after all of us are gone.”

Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara established the CCF in 1987 to manage endowments that were intended to provide long-term support for ministries at parishes, schools and archdiocesan agencies in central and southern Indiana.

The foundation began with a handful of funds valued at less than $1 million.

Today, there are more than 400 endowments valued at nearly $140 million.

“There is no part of the archdiocese that hasn’t been lifted up by the Catholic Community Foundation in the past 25 years,” said outgoing CCF board president George Kempf, a member of St. Pius X Parish in Indianapolis. “During that time, we have distributed nearly $77 million to parishes, schools and archdiocesan ministries throughout central and southern Indiana, including nearly $7 million this past fiscal year.”

David Milroy, executive director of the archdiocese’s Secretariat for Stewardship and Development and acting chief financial officer, noted that, because of fluctuations in the stock markets, the CCF endowments lost about 1 percent in value during the last fiscal year.

Milroy also said that archdiocesan endowments, whose value was approximately $20 million, were removed from the CCF and reinvested in other ways. This happened because it was determined that these particular endowments were meeting short-term archdiocesan needs instead of helping it to achieve long-term goals, which is the purpose of CCF endowments.

Despite a small loss in value of CCF endowments, Milroy emphasized that they have nonetheless grown by an average of more than 7 percent annually in the past quarter century.

“When you think about the [overall poor] investment returns over the last 10 years, that’s a number that we can feel good about,” Milroy said.

In reviewing the financial health of the archdiocese, Milroy noted that it recently completed its eighth consecutive year with either a break even or small budget surplus.

Part of that good budget track record is due, Milroy said, to the archdiocese’s ability over the past five years to control the costs of its employees’ health insurance costs.

“Our claim activity in the lay benefit plan has trended much better than national levels,” Milroy said, “so much so that we’ve been able to make extra contributions to employees’ [health savings] accounts, and give agencies, schools and parishes premium holidays.”

At the same time, Milroy said that the archdiocese is facing financial challenges largely due to ongoing tough economic conditions.

“It puts pressure on our donations, which in turn leads many of our parishes and schools to struggle to balance their budgets,” he said. “And it likely means that we’ll continue to have lower returns on our investments. Until the economy takes off, the stock market probably isn’t going to do much.”

Despite these challenges, which in part have led to a $2 million reduction in the archdiocesan budget to $34 million, Milroy said that the overall good financial health of the Church in central and southern Indiana will help Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin when he begins his ministry in December.

“Every ministry needs more funds than it has,” Milroy said, “but I’m really comfortable that Archbishop Tobin is inheriting a very solid organization on which to build his vision with us.”
 

(For more information on the Catholic Community Foundation, log on to www.archindy.org/ccf.)

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