Our Catholic Foundation of Michigan Story
by Pat Fehring
Like many of us who have chosen to become involved with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, my engagement is an outgrowth of my Catholic upbringing and education.
Growing up in Cincinnati I attended grade school learning from the Dominican Sisters, attended Moeller High School with the Marianist Brothers, and received health care from the Sisters of Mercy, all while experiencing parish life with family members. My life has been shaped and enriched from the 360–degree Catholic environment in which I lived.
Over the years I gained a greater appreciation of the fact that our Catholic Church operates the world’s greatest and largest educational systems, social service networks, and finest health care systems all within the context of our faith and values. With fewer clergy, the Catholic environment many of us have grown up in has changed and that’s where we have an opportunity to help shape the Catholic world of today.
Generous service and stewardship is a core tenet of our faith. Many years ago, while living in Columbus, Ohio, I was invited to join the Board of the Catholic Foundation serving the Diocese of Columbus. This opportunity gave me a chance to see firsthand the importance of philanthropy in support of our Catholic faith and institutions. I also came to value the importance of investing with the Church’s guidelines, in accordance with the Gospel.
During my term on the Board, my wife JoAnn and I established accounts at the Foundation and learned about ways that the Foundation could help us in support of our philanthropic interests including education and children’s service. My wife JoAnn was an active member of St. Stephen’s Community Center, a Catholic organization working with inner city infants and children. As a volunteer, she experienced the valuable work of an organization like St. Stephen’s in our community. As clients of the Catholic Foundation, we learned how services like Donor Advised Funds, Endowments, and Estate Planning could be created or facilitated through the Foundation, all while ensuring professional account management according to Catholic values.
Moving to Michigan years ago, we continued to maintain an active relationship with The Catholic Foundation of Ohio. As my wife and I became more involved in our local Catholic community, we realized there was not a similar foundation to support Catholic philanthropy locally. It was clear to us that there were generous hearts and incredible needs throughout the region, but no organization to connect the two. Think how Catholic parishes, schools, social service organizations and ministries would all benefit from a professionally managed lay-led Catholic foundation. Think of how great the need is for Catholic values and services in today’s world. I would argue the need is greater than ever before.
“There were generous hearts and incredible needs throughout the region, but no organization to connect the two.”
So, who are we? We are a lay led, 501(c)(3) Catholic foundation independent from the Archdiocese of Detroit, but endorsed by Archbishop Vigneron who ensures our Catholicity. We serve as the center for Catholic philanthropy providing service to both philanthropic-minded individuals and Catholic organizations with administrative and investment services. Through the work of the Foundation we connect donors to local needs and support Catholic organizations in their work so they can serve and evangelize others. Account holders at the Foundation are engaged in their faith and committed to help the Church serve and grow in today’s world. Catholic philanthropy will support our efforts to unleash the Gospel within our communities. It’s about creating a Catholic legacy. We hope you’ll join us.
Donors who create an account with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan before the end of the year will be recognized among the initial Catholic Foundation investors. Please contact President and CEO Angela Moloney (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you would like to open a fund or have questions. You also may sign up here to learn more.
Pat Fehring is Chair of the Board of Directors for the Catholic Foundation of Michigan.