For 12 years, Fr. John Riccardo served as the pastor of Our Lady of Good Counsel (OLGC) Catholic Parish in Plymouth, Mich. Known for his dynamism and innovative evangelization efforts, Fr. John made a profound impact on the parish and its school, which serves grades PK-8.

“Fr. John loves the school and was beloved by the students. He worked hard in the school with the staff to ensure they were offered an authentic Catholic education. He knows that the future growth of the parish will start with the school; as families come to the school they will also come to the parish,” shares Diana DiRita, Director of HR and Finance for OLGC.

Fr. John’s last school mass.

In July, Fr. John was released from his pastorate to create and lead a new nonprofit organization, Acts XXIX, a pastoral initiative aimed at supporting the movement to unleash the Gospel by working with pastors and parishes to create a culture of evangelization and discipleship, in the city of Detroit and beyond.

OLGC parish wanted to recognize Fr. John for his transformative leadership and his dedication to the parish and especially to the school, in a unique and long-lasting way. They decided to honor him by naming an endowment fund after him.

The gift that started the fund was a planned gift from a parishioner, who had identified OLGC parish school in his will. This individual had worked very hard and had been proud to send all of his children to OLGC school. When the donor’s son notified OLGC about the designated gift, the parish inquired if the family would be interested in creating an endowment for OLGC school through the Catholic Foundation of Michigan.

“The family was very supportive of using the gift to start an endowment; they knew it was exactly what their dad would have wanted. The opportunity to help this family create a long-lasting gift that would provide financial sustainability for the school was beautiful.”
—Diana DiRita, Director of HR and Finance for OLGC

“The family was very supportive of the idea of using the gift to start an endowment; they knew it was exactly what their dad would have wanted,” says Diana. “The opportunity to help this family create a long-lasting gift that would provide financial sustainability for the school was beautiful,” she reflects.

The parish team realized that naming the new school endowment after him would be a perpetual gift, outlasting any material gift they could have shared with him. So they chose to name the fund the Fr. John Riccardo OLGC Parish School Legacy Fund.

In responding to how it felt to have a fund named after him, Fr. John Riccardo replied, “I see the fund in honor of my mom and dad, and what it is that they taught not just me but all of my sisters and my brother about God, family, and how to live with character, in a way that leads to meaning and fulfillment. It is appropriate that they would be honored in this way because OLGC parish school is all about strengthening families and forming leaders so our world might be evermore recreated by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Diana found the process of setting up the endowment to be “collaborative and seamless.” She says, “It was not a one-time event, it’s been a partnership. The staff at the Foundation embraces us and supports our efforts in marketing. Having a fund with the Foundation increases our marketing ability and can broaden our donor base. They have also given us ideas of other ways to fundraise or other funds we could create.”

Since the creation of the endowment, parishioners have also donated to it, moved by their passion for the school and recognition that the fund can help provide long-term stability. The parish hopes that additional donations will allow the fund to grow and increase its impact.

“We at OLGC parish school are committed to the New Evangelization. We are called to foster holiness and we have a dynamic plan to serve as a center of evangelization and discipleship for students, families, and faculty. The faculty and staff recognize the unique gifts and talents of each individual and help strengthen those God-given abilities so that they can become a joyful missionary disciple and change the world,” shares school principal Melissa Hunt.

“Supporting the mission of OLGC Parish School is supporting leaders who are transforming the culture. God’s vision of providing a tuition-free school for all who desire a Catholic education will become a reality through your generosity,” Melissa encourages.


Consider honoring your pastor, family member, or other special person in your life with an endowment fund in their name.