In a time when “our world is crying,” the Catholic Foundation board, founders circle members, and friends found inspiration in the ACTS XXIX ministry lead by Fr. John Riccardo and his team.

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As the end of the year approaches, many people begin to think about charitable giving to our favorite nonprofit organizations. The Catholic Foundation is here to help make your giving wise, simple, and joy-filled. Many people think the end of the year is the best time to give to charity, but the truth may make you rethink year-end giving:

1. Nonprofits need your donations before year-end, but they don’t necessarily need them at the end of the year. A gift given today is just as effective, if not more, than one in late December. In fact, the possibility of year-end volatility and with all the busyness of processing last-minute donations, an early gift is the best gift!

2. You get the same tax benefits for the year whether you make a gift in November or December. Why not ease the burden on yourself and your financial advisors by giving before the rush?  You’ll be at peace while enjoying your Christmas dinner and New Year’s celebration with the family!

3. If you want to use your IRA required minimum distribution (RMD) for charitable giving, you should decide now, prior to taking your distribution. That way, you get the tax benefits of making a qualified charitable distribution. The best way to guarantee it gets done in the right tax year is to initiate the gift by November, before your IRA custodian gets overwhelmed with year-end requests.

4. There’s no time like the present. The market doesn’t perform according to calendar dates. The market is volatile, especially near the end of the year. If you have an appreciated stock or bond in your account, you cannot accurately predict what its value will be in one day, one week or one month; you only know its value today. While it’s possible the asset will appreciate more, there’s also a chance it will lose value. Speak with your financial advisor to determine the best strategy.

5. There’s no need to wait until you receive your year-end bonus or decide to sell appreciated stock to get the ball rolling on a donor advised fund. You can establish a fund now. Then, transfer your gift into the fund when you’re ready, and start recommending grants! Read up on “bunching” to learn all about the benefits.

Have questions? We can help. Call us at 248.204.0332.

Imagine, for a moment, the implications of being an adult but being unable to read beyond a first-grade level. Anxiety, helplessness, and limitations in many spheres would likely be part of your life.

In 2017, Elijah Craft, a high school senior in the Detroit Public School Community District (DPSCD), was in this situation. He had made it all the way through the school system with a first-grade reading level.

85% of students living in vulnerable cities like Detroit are in the “literacy gap”, which means they are more than a grade level behind in reading.

Beyond Basics, a literacy-focused nonprofit organization in Southeast Michigan believes that the literacy gap is the largest solvable disability in the U.S. Utilizing a proven method, Beyond Basics provides one-on-one reading tutoring and literacy enrichment programs for K-12 students that consistently achieve grade-level movement in six to twelve weeks. The impact of these drastic results opens participants up to a whole new future.

After Elijah began working with his Beyond Basics tutor, he graduated 25th in his class, went on to university, and his self-confidence improved dramatically. Dr. Nikolai Vitti, DPSCD Superintendent, would like to see Beyond Basics helping every high school student who needs it, and with the help of generous donors, it is possible.

In light of this goal, a donor who was impressed with the services Beyond Basics is offering at Holy Redeemer Catholic School recently opened a designated fund with the Catholic Foundation to support Beyond Basics. In a designated fund, beneficiary organizations can utilize financial support from the fund as it is needed.

“We are called by God to help the oppressed. If we let high school students graduate without the ability to read they are given a life sentence of poverty. It is the moral thing to do, to change the direction of a student’s life,” reflects Pamela Good, Co-Founder and CEO of Beyond Basics.

The Catholic Foundation is proud to partner with Beyond Basics to offer another way for generous donors to help children learn to read, change the course of their lives, and help transform communities burdened by poverty. An investment in literacy immediately delivers a cure to the students it funds, while also breaking a generational cycle of illiteracy.

In addition to tutoring, Beyond Basics also provides many extras for the students it serves, from coats to enrichment activities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Beyond Basics acted swiftly to implement a new virtual platform to continue providing one-on-one reading tutoring, and so far results have been on par with those seen with in-person tutoring.

Please join the Catholic Foundation in supporting this vital mission by giving to the designated fund. Through literacy education funded by your generous gift, you help change these children’s destinies.

Give today to the Beyond Basics: Literacy is for Everyone Designated Fund.

“We are in unprecedented times” is a phrase we have heard often in 2020. The definition of unprecedented is “never done or known before”. The word unprecedented implies that we do not know what we are doing, which is unsettling. 

And yet, I argue, that as people of faith, we do know because we enter uncharted waters all the time. Rather than giving in to the fear of “unprecedented”, our faith calls us to lean in and provide compassionate, inspired, clear and confident leadership.

Everyone has been affected by the pandemic in some way. We don’t know how long it will last, and there has been unclear communication about it at local, national and global levels. And yet, it does not mean we do not know where we are going. If we lean into our values, we will always know the way. 

 The Catholic Foundation’s values called us to be generously empathetic, confidently transparent, and faithfully inspired. Early in 2020 our team chose to rapidly respond to the pandemic with clarity, faith and hope. We sought to follow best practices that we know intrinsically. Leaning into our ability to be agile, we made several strategic moves that tested our services and embraced steep learning curves. We aimed to boldly respond to our community in crisis.

Generously Empathetic 

On Friday, March 13 all of us learned that the next season of our lives would not be “business as usual.” Our prayer was to be deliberately calm, consistently faithful, passionate, hopeful and of service to our community. 

“The first thing we did was to listen to our community. Our team immediately reached out to our partner parishes and nonprofit organizations to ask how they were fairing and assess what they needed.”

The first thing we did was to listen to our community. Our team immediately began reaching out to our partner parishes and nonprofit organizations to ask how they were fairing and assess what they needed. 

Working virtually, we quickly processed the information gathered, determined what mattered most, and committed to acting with conviction. Listening to the circumstances firsthand allowed us to lead with empathy and compassion, focusing less on what our organization needed and more on how we could provide assistance. 

It was clear that securing funding and providing critical programming was going to be a challenge for our partners. With the goal to be most helpful we: 

  • Communicated to all of our 2019 grant recipients that we would take critical steps to accommodate them. Our team articulated trust in their leadership and our partnership to provide them the leverage to use grant dollars in line with the original intent, as best as they could. We trusted the funds would be used as the need was greatest; all they needed to do was tell us how the funds were spent in their end-of-cycle grant reports. 
  • Used our resources to provide additional training to our nonprofit and parish partners to support them in seeking underutilized grant dollars in this time. We provided two virtual training sessions for over 80 participants. 

These two acts communicated to our partners, and their boards and supporters, that the Catholic Foundation has their best interests in mind and will be beside them all the way. 

Confidently Transparent

We also needed to be confidently transparent with our board, Founders’ Circle members, and fund holders. These groups, like many of us, were concerned with the market and the long-term plans for their charitable funds. We knew we needed to lean into our values of charity and transparency. 

Business guru Amy Edmondson recently wrote, “Transparency is ‘job one’ for leaders in a crisis. Be clear what you know, what you don’t know, and what you are doing to learn more.” 

We sought to communicate through thoughtful, frequent and personal communication to share that the Foundation was top of the situation, adjusting accordingly, and learning every day. 

“Transparency is ‘job one’ for leaders in a crisis. Be clear what you know, what you don’t know, and what you are doing to learn more.”

Together with our investment team at Merrill Lynch, the Catholic Foundation hosted a market update webinar on March 31. We invited our fund holders, donors, preferred advisors and potential partners. We discussed the state of the market, position of the Foundation’s portfolio during these uncertain times, and the important role of donor advised funds. We named what we did and did not know. We committed to open dialogue and to keeping them informed. 

Faithfully Inspired

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced our communication and outreach to adapt. We began to rethink the role of our strategic partnerships, build visibility, and ensure our messages are relevant, relatable and respectful. We began to lean into prayer, into our connections, and share our stories more vulnerably. 

In the early months of the pandemic, we heard from many supporters that they wanted to do more but felt struck and were not sure who to support. Rooted in our mission to serve both donors and local ministries, our team quickly shifted to provide a rapid response in our Catholic community and created the Catholic Faithful Response Fund (CFRF). The CFRF was created to make it easy for donors with a one stop giving location, lighten the burden for ministries by taking care of marketing and administrative tasks, and evangelize to Southeast Michigan about the collective response of Catholics.  

The CFRF had nearly 40 organizations represented in our granting catalog from amongst pre-vetted organizations with whom the Foundation had a prior relationship. The Foundation staff and grant committee was overjoyed to be able to serve donors who wanted to give, to learn more about community ministries doing great work, and to discern where to direct the undesignated dollars which came to the fund. The community was also invited to participate in a vote to designate some of those dollars.  

“Responding to where the need is the greatest and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us is definitely how I would describe this past year. None of what we did was really ‘planned’.”

“Responding to where the need is the greatest and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us is definitely how I would describe this past year. None of what we did was really ‘planned’,” reflects Project Director Christina Shabo. 

Another example of the Foundation’s faithfully inspired action was the creation of a fund to support the Felician Sisters of Livonia, as a personal response to the tragic losses in their community due to COVID. Local leaders got involved, and the story made national news in June. However, the national news stories were informing and inspiring readers, without inviting them to take action. 

Foundation President and CEO Angela Moloney asked the news media for an invitation to tell a more personal story of loss, hope, and an invitation to take action. That invitation resulted in roughly 800 gifts of support from over 35 states and 4 countries. 

Leading through Uncharted Waters

The Foundation’s experiences through the uncharted waters of these months of pandemic have brought many challenges, many opportunities to experiment with new ideas in the face of change, and the opportunity to practice letting hope permeate our work. 

As a Christ-filled people, we can be grounded in a hope for the future that draws us forward. We know generosity is happening. Our communities desire not false assurances but the opportunity to grasp on to specific examples of hope and a vision of a brighter world.

So let us enter these uncharted waters with our eyes on Christ, even in the winds and the waves. Let us not be afraid.

This reflection is drawn from a presentation that Catholic Foundation President and CEO Angela Moloney gave during the International Catholic Stewardship Conference on September 24, 2020.

Support the Catholic Foundation’s Mission

The Pandemic’s Impact on People Living in Extreme Poverty in Developing Nations

A JFAN Detroit Event featuring International Samaritan


The Catholic Foundation was honored to host an exclusive virtual event on November 12th on behalf of the Jesuit Friends and Alumni Network featuring speakers from our ministry partner, International Samaritan.

International Samaritan’s Mike Tenbusch and Selam Terefe led an engaging conversation about the challenges being faced by people living in some of the most impoverished communities in the world.  The conversation focused on the lives of people making a living in the informal economy surrounding some of the largest garbage dumps in the world. The speakers shared inspirational ways their teams are overcoming the virtual shut down of the jobs in these communities due to coronavirus related restrictions.

The Catholic Foundation is proud to collaborate and feature the good work of ministries, such as International Samaritan that have opened endowment funds at the Foundation. To learn more about the International Samiratan’s endowment fund at the Catholic Foundation, please click here.

Participants on this virtual workshop also had the opportunity to attend a smaller, break-out session during the second half to hear from and talk directly with the leaders of International Samaritan across the world. The nations that were featured included Ethiopia, Guatemala and Jamaica.

The recorded virtual session is available to view below.

Support the International Samaritan Fund

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The events of 2020 have brought enormous challenges for many Catholic ministries and families and have also inspired creative giving to meet the needs and challenges of this year.

For some families financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, one challenge has been the uncertainty of continuing their children’s education in a Catholic school. In response to this reality, the Archdiocese of Detroit and private donors approached the Catholic Foundation to open two new funds: the St. Anne Scholars and the St. Martin de Porres scholarship funds.

“We knew we needed to help and make it easy for students to get the support they needed. Our mission is to bring generous people together to make a positive impact in our community,” shared Angela Moloney, President and CEO of the Catholic Foundation.

Through these new funds, the Foundation awarded 63 scholarships in September, totaling $150,500 to benefit 23 Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Hundreds of lives have been touched through the generosity of our community. The impact of these scholarships forever impacts the students and their families, and the impact extends to the school communities, contributing donors, and the entire community in southeast Michigan.

“Your help gives working class families a real chance at ensuring our kid’s faith grows strong so that there will continue to be a strong community of believers to face the challenges of our times. I cannot thank you enough!” – Bob, parent.

“Your help gives working class families a real chance at ensuring our kid’s faith grows strong so that there will continue to be a strong community of believers present and active in the future to face the challenges of our times. For that I cannot thank you enough!” shares Bob, a parent of a scholarship recipient.

The students, too, offered resounding enthusiasm for growing in their faith and the opportunity to attend or continue attending a Catholic school.

“I would like to stay at my school is so I can continue to learn more about my faith. I like the freedom to talk about my religion and that my teachers are able to make connections between our religion, our classes, and how life is today. This is very important to me,  because I feel I may be called to the vocation of religious life.” Andrew, a 7th grader, shared in his application.

In creating such a unique scholarship fund, donors lives are also transformed. Both scholarships were the result of donor initiative and donors had the ability to shape the criteria for beneficiaries.

“Participating in the scholarship program for Catholic schools was one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. I was so moved by families who are committed to providing a Catholic education for their children.” shared Helen Vlasic, whose family contributed to the St. Martin de Porres Scholarship fund.

Supporting Catholic education has never been easier. Like Helen, supporters can create a scholarship fund that is both unique and personal, based on specific goals. Examples could be tuition assistance for students at a particular school, students interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) or even the arts. Scholarship funds can be opened with a gift of $25,000 or more.

“We had a family create something special with the St. Martin de Porres scholarship, which was unique to the family’s desires and intentions,” Moloney said. “That’s a unique gift that the Foundation offers to the community.” Learn more about how easy it is to create your unique scholarship fund.

The Catholic Foundation is proud to celebrate those who were impacted this year through this unique opportunity, both the students whose lives are transformed through access to Catholic education and the donors who were empowered to give generously to sustain Catholic Education in southeast Michigan. This year, we received over $400,000 in scholarship fund requests, well over twice the amount we were able to grant over the past year.

Now that these scholarship funds are created, individuals can make a gift in any amount and make a difference. You can give a gift online by clicking below or you can contact the Foundation staff at 248-548-3020. Next year, the Foundation hopes to open the scholarship programs to a wider pool of applicants with more time to apply. Your gift will help us grant more to students in the spring of 2021.

Give now to the St. Anne Scholars Scholarship Fund

Give Now to the St. Martin de Porres Scholarship Fund

Create your own unique scholarship endowment with the Catholic Foundation. 

Sharing the joy of generosity through impactful investment is at the heart of the Catholic Foundation, and that joy is clear in the five board members who joined the Foundation in 2020. Each new member brings a unique set of experiences and skills, and all bring their passion for living out their Catholic faith and building up the Church.


Beverly Beltramo, Director of Spiritual Care at Ascension, has rich history of serving Christ in those most in need. With years of experience as a chaplain, Beltramo oversees spiritual care for over 14 Catholic hospitals throughout Michigan. She was called to join the board because she believes in the beauty of a foundation that can work effectively with donors’ investments for the most impact. For her, the Foundation is an avenue through which to make the Gospel and Church teachings a living part of our communities. “The social teachings of the Church are a rich, deep, tradition that invite us to live out the Gospel. They can make us uncomfortable because they challenge us to go below the surface. The Catholic Foundation gives that faith tradition ‘feet’,” Beltramo reflects.


Rosanne (Bommarito) Brugnoni has led a career dedicated to leadership in health care. While she has lived out this role in many arenas (hospital, nursing home, academic, and insurance), her greatest passion is home health care. She began her service on the board early in 2020. She joined its Grants and Impact Committee just as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to develop. In a time of uncertainty and fear, she is proud of the ways the Foundation was able to relieve financial stress for those most impacted by the pandemic. Brugnoni speaks highly of the strong investment strategies employed by Foundation and of the assurance it provides to donors. “When giving through the Catholic Foundation, you are joining a community of Catholic philanthropists to impact lives within the community,” she emphasizes.


Michael Brillati is the CEO of Salus Group, an employee benefits and administration company he founded 16 years ago which now reaches across 17 states. In his personal experience, the Catholic Foundation is essential in providing the Catholic community with an avenue for supporting Catholic groups’ long-term futures, and he encourages others to take advantage of the Foundation to contributing to their charities of choice. One of Brillati’s personal passions is that quality Catholic education be made available for all who desire it, regardless of ability to afford it.


Doug Noble is a partner at Foster Financial, a commercial real estate company in Grosse Pointe. He looks forward to serving a foundation that is well-equipped to financially benefit the Catholic community. “The Foundation is a great vehicle to continue to empower Catholic groups to do what they do best—help the individuals in the community.” He takes pride in being one of the younger board members and feels a strong connection with a younger generation of Catholics. With that in mind, he is focused on how his actions will affect future generations. “To have some control as to where money is being spent and to leave behind a legacy is really important to me,Noble shares.


Frank Roney, now retired, was a senior executive for IBM Corporation for 20 years. Prior to his time at IBM, Roney was a partner with Price Waterhouse in Detroit for 16 years. Roney’s Catholic identity was formed at an early age. He was raised in a Catholic family of seven brothers and attended Catholic school through high school. Today, that formation has instilled a firm resolution to give back to the Catholic community. He states, “I believe that for whom much is given, much is expected.” For Roney, the Foundation provides the avenue needed to build up the Catholic faith and give back to Catholic causes.


“When giving through the CFM you are joining a community of Catholic philanthropists to impact the lives within the community.” – Rosanne (Bommarito) Brugnoni, Catholic Foundation of Michigan Board Member

The spirit of generosity that called these individuals to deeper service to their Catholic communities was also driven by confidence in the impact and fruitfulness of the Catholic Foundation of Michigan. President and CEO Angela Moloney is excited about the growth of the Foundation’s participation, asset size, and community awareness. “As the Catholic Foundation continues to grow, I am pleased to welcome the highly talented leadership of our new board members. I am grateful for the dynamic and unique perspectives that each of them will bring to our community,” she says.

You, too, can approach your own call to generosity with confidence when you create a fund for the charitable organization you long to support!

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“We try to be a blessing to every neighbor in need. There is transparency, heart, devotion, drive and passion in all of our staff and in all that we do, to do good for others,” shares Isabella Agby, Director of Marketing and Communications at Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan “This isn’t just a job, it’s a mission and a way of life for all of us here.”

“This isn’t just a job, it’s a mission and a way of life for all of us here.” –  Isabella Agby, Director of Marketing of CCSEM

Motivated by the corporal works of mercy, CCSEM serves around 20,000 people annually, providing food, healthcare, clothing, counseling and other services and resources. In 2018, CCSEM opened an endowment fund with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan.

Angela Moloney, president and CEO of the Catholic Foundation, is proud to partner with CCSEM. “As Catholics, it is our call to serve those in greatest need,” said Moloney. “It is a joy for the Foundation to serve Catholic Charities, now and forever.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, when much of the state was closing its doors, CCSEM knew that it was being called to live out the works of mercy even more urgently and earnestly. Answering this call, it added special programs to combat the challenges of the pandemic, including Adult Health Services, Behavioral Health, and Emergency Food Pantries. “We have always had senior outreach programs, but we needed to respond to the unique needs of seniors especially during this time,” shares Agby.

Volunteers help prepare food deliveries.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 2700 outreach calls and food deliveries have been made for seniors in the Adult Health Services program. At a time when behavioral health services have been more critical than ever, CCSEM has offered more than 5600 behavioral telehealth sessions for mental health and substance abuse treatment. The Emergency Food Pantries program has provided more than 100,000 pounds of food and supplies (7,000 bags) to those in need.

In addition to adapting their services, CCSEM also needed to adjust its fundraising events this year. CCSEM’s only annual fundraising event, went virtual, and focused on its Child Welfare Program.

Although the recent gala was a success, the needs remain great for vulnerable people in southeast Michigan. To ensure that CCSEM is able to provide vital services far into the future, we invite you to contribute to the Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan Endowment Fund.

“Contributing to the CCSEM endowment fund with Catholic Foundation of Michigan helps CCSEM build resources for the future, and also allows donors connected with the Foundation but who may not otherwise be familiar with Catholic Charities to consider supporting our mission,” said Patricia Brosnahan, Chief Development Officer at CCSEM.

Leaving a legacy gift for CCSEM Endowment Fund allows you to participate in Christ’s call to live out the corporal works of mercy. It will ensure that CCSEM is able to continue to place children into safe homes, serve meals to the hungry, reach out to isolated senior citizens, and inspire even more people to serve those in need.

Are you called to make a legacy gift to CCSEM? The Foundation is here to support you in creating a way forward.

Leave a Legacy for Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan

Support the food pantry of the St. Vincent De Paul Conference Food Pantry of Catholic Church of St. Moses the Black

Give to the Fund

To benefit education at Shrine of the Little Flower Schools

Give to the Fund