The power of education is undeniable. It has the ability to change lives, create opportunities, and to inspire individuals to be the best versions of themselves. For Karen and Bill Flynn, their Catholic education has been a driving force behind their success and their desire to give back.

Karen and Bill’s passion for Catholic education started early on. Each attended a Catholic elementary school, where they learned not only academic lessons but also important Catholic values and principles that have stayed with them throughout their lives. As Karen puts it, they were taught “the belief that you’re part of the community.” This sense of community and belonging was a crucial aspect of their education, one that helped shape their core values and provided a foundation for their future philanthropic giving. 

In collaboration with the Catholic Foundation, they discovered that a donor designated fund (DDF) was a perfect way to help them conveniently budget their charitable giving while creating a family legacy of faithful generosity directed specifically to support Catholic education through tuition assistance.

Catholic donor advised and donor designated funds are powerful tools for individuals, families or groups who want to give back to the community and make a difference. These charitable funds provide a flexible and convenient way to support the ministries and organizations that are important to them, while also providing a tax benefit.

“Through our donor designated fund at the Catholic Foundation, we have a chance to provide that same opportunity to others who may slip through some cracks. We believe that grants supporting Catholic education will help support students striving to better themselves and those in their families and the community, as well.”

A DAF and DDF 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 Flynn family is one of the 60+ families who established a Catholic charitable legacy for their family by partnering with the Catholic Foundation to create their Catholic donor advised or donor designated fund. The Flynns’ philanthropic generosity through their donor designated fund is an inspiration to us all.

Excerpts from this article and its accompanying photos were originally published by Dan Meloy for Detroit Catholic. Find more stories like this at