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‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’: 25 years of The Catholic Foundation

Donors to The Catholic Foundation of Northern Colorado say Jesus’ words are true

Freedom, joy and peace of mind to “paying it forward” are just some of the blessings donors say they received from giving through The Catholic Foundation, which is marking its 25th anniversary this year.

Since its inception, the foundation has distributed more than $210 million in grants to Catholic schools, parishes and ministries —$70 million has been granted in just the last five years and its legacy continues to grow.

The Catholic Foundation was established in 1998 by Archbishop Charles Chaput to professionally manage and safeguard donations of money, stocks and other property for the establishment of endowments, donor-advised and general funds to benefit Catholic organizations.

“We’re legally distinct from the Archdiocese of Denver but we’re of like mind and spirit to advance the mission of the Church,” said Deacon Steve Stemper, president and CEO of the foundation. “We provide primarily for the long-term financial support of ministries and parishes in the archdiocese.”

The Catholic Foundation is a tax-exempt non-profit entity governed by a board of trustees comprised of laity, but which also includes Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila and Vicar General Father Randy Dollins as ex-officio members.

Former board chair Norma Frank, founder and former CEO of Colorado Lighting Inc. and a parishioner of Assumption Parish in Welby, is a keen supporter of the foundation.

“Nothing is more freeing than living for others. You get a great feeling when you give back,” she said. “It’s been a way of life for generations of my family, who first put down roots in Welby more than 115 years ago.”

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Frank’s grandfather helped build Assumption and her family continues to be active parishioners.

“A strong faith gives me hope and gives me the strength that I’ve needed to succeed,” she said. “God has been very good to me. He’s given me the opportunity to focus on service to others. It’s provided so much joy in my life, and I’d like to share that.”

Frank sees The Catholic Foundation as sharing the Gospel by showing how giving is part of the Good News.

“It really is promoting that aspect of what you can provide for others and the joy that you will receive back from it,” she said.

Catholic Foundation donors Dr. Nate Scherer and his wife Kristin are the parents of four children and parishioners at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Littleton.

They borrowed their motto for giving — “Just do it!”— from Nike.

“We don’t leave this world with any of the financial gifts we have been given,” Kristin Scherer explained. “Therefore, it is our responsibility to make sure that they can continue to be helpful to others after we are gone.”

Giving through The Catholic Foundation gives the Scherer’s peace of mind.

“We think the biggest benefit of giving through the foundation is that we can be sure that our gifts will be used responsibly by the foundation and directed where we desire,” Kristin Scherer said. “It is our hope that these gifts will also inspire our own children to carry on this legacy as well.”

The Catholic Foundation is “one-stop shopping” for Catholic giving, Joshua Gideon, Senior Director of Gift Planning, said.

“We have over 300 Catholic funds in support of our archdiocese,” he said, noting that the archdiocesan seminaries, Catholic Charities, and the Fellowship of Catholic University Students are among the schools, parishes and ministries donors may choose to give to.

“We grow the dollars under the direction of our investment committee and investment company using a morally responsible investment policy in line with the teachings of the Church,” he said. “It’s an honor and a privilege to serve our fellow Catholics in stewarding the treasures of the Church to provide for the needs of our future generations.”

Planning is a gift we give to our family and our Church that reveals our heart one more time about what matters most to us, Deacon Steve said. The foundation provides a means to bless those who come after us.

“If we the faithful don’t leave a legacy gift for our parishes, schools and ministries, who will?” he added.

The Catholic Foundation is grateful for all the support it has been given these past 25 years as people have answered St. Paul’s call in Galatians 6:10 to “do good to all but especially to those who belong to the family of the faith.”

“We look forward to partnering with many more in the coming years in their giving for the kingdom of God, not only for the benefit to themselves and their future destiny since God is never outdone in generosity, but for all those we serve,” Deacon Steve said.


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