More than 100 years ago, the parish of Nativity of Our Lord sprouted in the farmland that is now the Macalester-Groveland neighborhood of St. Paul. The school came ﬁrst, with community gathering there for Mass. Within a few years, school enrollment neared 700. Sixteen years after the parish was established, the church building opened to more than 1,200 families.
Nativity’s partnership with CCF began in 1993 when the parish created a fund to support tuition assistance for the school. Then in 2020, Nativity entrusted CCF with the stewardship of its endowment fund.
In 2021, CCF’s Partner for the Future matching grant program enabled the parish to establish a second endowment fund.
“We are deeply blessed to have strong and growing endowments,” says Nativity of Our Lord pastor, Father Rolf Tollefson. “The endowments build the vitality of our church and school while creating stronger bonds with our surrounding community.”
Investing with a Catholic Heart
Planting seeds for the future of the church and school required the right partner. Scott Billeadeau, chair of the parish investment committee, explains that CCF’s commitment to the Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines set forth by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops made it a perfect ﬁt.
“CCF is really aligned with our mission and our commitment to invest with a Catholic heart,” Scott says.
Celebrating History and Preparing for the Future
Nativity of Our Lord Catholic Church and School recently celebrated its centennial year with a capital campaign. With the theme of “Built on Tradition, Hope for the Future,” it recognized the community’s past and its future. The campaign committee decided to include the endowment funds as initiatives that would beneﬁt from the campaign. This decision created awareness among community members of the perpetual funds —while giving donors an opportunity to become a part of the parish legacy.
“It gave our parishioners a sense of ownership in the future,” says Alison Knapp, a longtime Nativity parishioner and former chair of the pastoral council. “The endowments create possibilities, growth, and a vibrancy that we hope the church and school maintain well into the future.”
Flourishing as One Community
Kate Wollan has served as the principal of Nativity of Our Lord Catholic School for 31 years. She notes that Nativity’s mission of providing a Catholic education rooted in faith, academics, and character hasn’t changed over its 100-year history, nor has the relationship between the parish and the school. Kate has seen families enroll in the school ﬁrst and later become parishioners. And many years, she watches parents enter the Church through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults alongside their children receiving the sacraments.
“The school is a place of evangelization for the family,” Kate says. “That only makes our church and families stronger.”