More U.S. dioceses are turning to foundations to help meet their financial and fundraising priorities. And foundation executives in the diocesan realm believe they’ve only begun to tap into the potential for these gifts.

Dan McKune, executive director of Catholic Community Foundation of Mid-Michigan, which covers the Diocese of Saginaw, said Catholic donors are used to giving to an annual diocesan appeal or a school fund. “But we still are not where we want to be,” he said. “Our donor base is about 1,000 people, and they’ve been very, very good givers.” However, he thinks the foundation could attract and retain 2,500 donors ­— and possibly twice that.

The way the Saginaw foundation is set up, it “deals more in perpetual-type funds,” McKune said. “Once the money goes [to the foundation], you don’t ask for it back.”

Anne Cullen Miller, executive director of the St. Paul-based Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota, said a Catholic community foundation provides a way to diversify fundraising strategies, moving beyond an annual appeal and weekly giving.

“CCF is integral to the fabric of our Catholic community,” Miller said. “We know the needs of this community, and we know its resources. The real magic — the impact — happens when we connect the two.”

The Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota is the nation’s largest Catholic community foundation, Miller said. Because of the generosity of its donors, CCF has grown to nearly $290 million in charitable assets, granting almost $10 million per year to Catholic and nonprofit causes.

“This grant-making activity perpetuates the faith, continually making Minnesota’s Catholic community stronger and more robust,” Miller said.

“With respect to our archdiocese, the Catholic Community Foundation of Minnesota, on behalf of our donors, made over 2,000 grants last year,” Miller continued. “These grants supported many different ministries in our community.”

Those included $4 million toward Catholic education; $2.3 million toward faith-based social service organizations such as Sharing and Caring Hands, Catholic Charities and Little Sisters of the Poor; and $3.7 million toward seminary support; and ministerial enrichment for parishes, religious orders and missions.


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