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Since Kristy and Anthony Schena’s children were young, they have been diligent in emphasizing the importance of sharing time and treasure as a family. They made a practice of giving weekly offerings as well as volunteering inside and outside of their parish, Our Lady Star of the Sea in Grosse Pointe Woods.

During Advent and Lent, the Schenas choose an activity where they volunteer together. This year, their 8th grade twins will be volunteering at their parish Lenten Fish Fry each Friday. “These activities always give them a sense of pride for being able to help others,” shares Anthony.

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Kristy also runs a charity for children with special needs in the summertime. The three Schena children volunteer with the summer program and it has contributed to their understanding of Jesus’ teaching to love one another and that each person is made in God’s image.

Given how important stewardship and almsgiving has been to their family, the Schenas had aspirations of creating a charitable giving plan. “Setting up a family fund or an endowment sounded intimidating and expensive. We didn’t think that was something that was possible at this stage of our life with three children in Catholic schools and college on the horizon in a few years,” reflects Anthony.

Becoming a member of the Catholic Foundation’s board and Founders’ Circle, though, opened Anthony’s eyes to the great variety charitable instruments that are available. They discovered that a donor advised fund (DAF) would be a great tool for them to properly budget their charitable giving.

“Setting up a family fund or an endowment sounded intimidating and expensive. We didn’t think that was something that was possible at this stage of our life.”

A DAF acts like a charitable savings account in which a donor contributes to the fund as frequently as they like and watches as their charitable investment grows tax-free. The donor receives immediate tax benefits and can give to their favorite charities whenever they are ready.

The process for setting up the DAF was much simpler than the Schenas expected. “There are charities we give to throughout the year, but we make many donations around Christmas time. It's helpful to be able to make monthly contributions to the DAF so at the end of the year when we write those donation checks we know how much there is to give. We also appreciate that once the money is deposited in the DAF it is considered a donation for tax purposes. We can let the DAF grow if we are saving for a larger donation to a charity,” Anthony shares.

The Schenas also appreciate that the Catholic Foundation responsibly invests money in Catholic-minded investments. They have found the Fund Holder website to be a convenient way to manage their fund, where they can see their balances, history and submit donation requests. “We also like the information the Foundation provides on other funds that are available to contribute to. If someone wants to set up an endowment fund for their school or parish it is very easy for other people to contribute to that fund,” encourages Anthony.

“The Catholic Foundation team has been instrumental in inspiring our charitable giving. They have provided us with the tools and information we needed to achieve our goals.”

“The Catholic Foundation team has been instrumental in inspiring our charitable giving. They have provided us with the tools and information we needed to achieve our goals. They have been wonderful to work with,” encourages Anthony. “I would encourage anyone who is looking for tools for charitable giving or considering a charitable legacy for their family to partner with the Catholic Foundation.”

Igniting Hearts.

Invest. Serve. Grow.

Catholic Foundation of Michigan

1145 W. Long Lake Road, Suite 201
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302

Phone: 248.204.0332

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