The legacy you leave: Planned giving made easy through the Catholic Foundation

At 92, widower and former teacher Norbert Brady relishes sharing time with his seven children and their families — which includes 20 grand- and great-grandchildren — golfing when the weather permits, reading, and worshiping at Holy Name Church in Denver. 

Filled with photos of loved ones and statues of saints, the home he and his late wife Agnes built in 1970 speaks of family and faith. 

Active with the vocations-fostering Serra Club, in August, via Zoom, his club featured Deacon Steve Stemper, president and CEO of The Catholic Foundation, who talked about planned-giving. The talk spurred Brady to include his parish and Catholic Charities in his will, in addition to his children.

“It made me realize I hadn’t made any provisions to leave anything for charity, or the Church, when I died,” Brady told the Denver Catholic. “I thought it was time I did that.”

Building treasure in heaven

What moved him was a parable-like story Deacon Stemper shared about an experience he had with his then 80-year-old father, who told him he was updating his will and was dividing his estate into four parts, leaving everything to his four sons.

Deacon Stemper proposed another plan.

“I invited Dad to pray with Mom and consider treating the Church as one of their children, splitting the estate five ways instead of four,” Deacon Stemper recalled. “I said, ‘Dad, Scripture gives us some great promises. In Luke 12:33 we hear: Give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven. Wouldn’t you like to build some treasure in heaven so to speak?’

“Dad comes back to me about a month later and said, ‘Steve, I’ve got some good news and bad news for you. The good news is, your mom and I did pray about that thing you suggested and we’re going to do that: we’re going to split our estate five ways and leave 20 percent to the Church. The bad news’ — he jokingly added —‘is it’s all coming out of your share!’ My Dad hadn’t thought about it until he was asked to pray about it.”

That resonated with Brady.

“That idea is what caught on with me,” Brady said. “That instead of having seven children, I’d have eight [parties the estate would go to]. The eighth portion will be split between Holy Name and Catholic Charities [through The Catholic Foundation].”

When Brady told his children about the change, which ultimately will make a nominal difference in what they will get, they didn’t object.

“They knew they were going to get part of ‘the great inheritance,’” Brady said with a laugh. “They said, ‘We knew you’d do what needs to be done.’”

The Catholic Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity, made the change easy for him and at no cost.

“Our mission is to inspire and facilitate charitable giving for the long-term benefit of the parishioner and the Church,” Deacon Stemper told the Denver Catholic. “Why we say for the long-term benefit of the parishioner is because we really believe in the Lord’s promises to never be outdone in generosity. When we help the parishioner to be generous, we are in effect, providing them a great gift. 

“But then also for the Church because the Church is the recipient of the parishioner’s generosity and the Church needs financial support. When we help match the parishioner’s generosity with the Church being the recipient, it helps the Church evangelize.”

Legacy giving made easy

In addition to assisting parishioners with giving, The Catholic Foundation also invests their funds following morally responsible investment standards. The foundation is its own entity, legally distinct from the Archdiocese of Denver. 

“That helps us steward and protect the gifts entrusted to us with the ultimate goal of building the kingdom of God,” Deacon Stemper said. “We gather, grow and give. We gather funds…long-term gifts for the benefit of the Church. We invest those — grow them — and then we give grants. Last year, we gave 753 grants totaling $11 million to over 200 different organizations — parishes, schools and other Catholic-related organizations, primarily local. The [two archdiocesan] seminaries were the biggest single recipient.”

 While a person can leave a gift directly to a parish or charity, channeling it through the foundation avails the donor of the foundation’s expertise for free. It can also save a step for the recipient, who oftentimes will turn to the foundation for help handling it.

“That is our expertise,” Deacon Stemper said. “We can handle these gifts on behalf of the parish or entity in a way that is efficient, effective and cost-saving. We don’t charge the parishes. It’s a no-brainer to use us since we’re going to help them with it anyway.”

There’s no amount too small, nor too large, to give, Deacon Stemper said.

“Jesus has some of his highest praise in the Gospels for the widow’s mite,” he noted. “Likewise, a gazillionaire also needs to be generous; the Lord’s entrusted you with much, so why would you not give ‘much’? The Church is arguably the most worthy recipient of our charity.”

Giving through the foundation from a planned gift, Deacon Stemper said, is the easiest gift a person will ever make.

“You literally leave it behind,” he said. “If you’re going to leave the Church say 20 percent (of your estate), regardless of how much you leave behind, it’s 20 percent.” 

A family of faith

The deacon encourages people to remember the Church in their will, citing St. Paul’s exhortation to, Do good to all, but especially to those who belong to the family of faith” (Gal 6:10). He notes that St. Paul adds, “It is not that I am eager for the gift, rather, I am eager for the profit that accrues to your account” (Phil 4:17).

That promise heartens the foundation in their work, Deacon Stemper said, and they express their gratitude to parishioners by enrolling them in the foundation’s Holy Family Legacy Society, which includes invitation to an annual thank you Mass with Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila and remembrance in the foundation’s Masses, now and always.

Every adult should have a will, the deacon said.

“And every adult should pray about if the Lord is calling them to leave something to the Church,” he said. “They should be discerning, ‘Should I not leave 10 percent to the Church, or treat the Church as a member of the family?’ 

“Jesus didn’t tell one parable about stewards and talents, he told many. We want everyone to think: What’s the Lord calling me to do?”

If a person desires to leave a gift to the Church, Deacon Stemper urges them to do so through The Catholic Foundation.

“We’re Catholics’ ideal legacy partner. We’re your free, no obligation, advocate and advisor. We’re here to help you,” he said. “Like Norbert, a person is never too old to make a change. And don’t feel you don’t have the capacity to leave the Church something. Know it’s going to happen with God’s blessing. Do you not have something for God?”

Brady had been feeling he needed to do more, that his legacy wasn’t complete, when he learned of The Catholic Foundation.

“Then it hit me, ‘That’s what I’m going to do!’” Brady said. “I’d been thinking for some time to leave something to the Church, or to charity. I guess I did both!” 

For more information, contact The Catholic Foundation at 303-468-9885 and visit TheCatholicFoundation.com.

COMING UP: Colorado Catholic Conference 2021 Legislative Recap

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On June 8, the First Regular Session of the 73rd General Assembly adjourned. Over 600 bills were introduced this session. Policy primarily focused on transportation, agriculture, healthcare, fiscal policy, and the state budget. However, the legislature also considered and passed many bills that could impact the Catholic Church in Colorado.  

Some bills that were passed will uphold Catholic social teaching and protect the poor and vulnerable of our society while others pose potentially harmful consequences to the Catholic Church, its affiliated organizations, and Colorado citizens who wish to practice their well-founded convictions. There were also many bills that were considered by the legislature that did not pass, including two bills that would have upheld the sanctity of life and two that would have expanded education opportunity for K-12 students.  

The Colorado Catholic Conference (CCC), as the united voice of the four Colorado bishops, advocated for Catholic values at the Capitol and ensured that the Church’s voice was heard in the shaping of policy.  

Below is a recap of the CCC’s 19 priority bills from the 2021 legislative session. For a full list of the legislation the Conference worked on, please visit: https://www.cocatholicconference.org/2021-legislative-bills-analysis/  

For regular updates and other information, please sign-up for the CCC legislative network here.  

Six bills the CCC supported that were either passed or enacted

Note: Passed means the bill was approved by both chambers of the legislature and is pending the governor’s signature as of June 9, 2021. Enacted means the bill was signed by the governor and became law.  

HB 21-1011 Multilingual Ballot Access for Voters – Passed  
If enacted, counties where either 2,000 adults or 2.5% of the adult population primarily speak a language other than English will be required to provide a ballot in that language. 

HB 21-1075 Replace The Term Illegal Alien – Enacted 
With the enactment of HB 1075, the term “illegal alien” was replaced with the term “worker without authorization” as it relates to public contracts for services.  

SB 21-027 Emergency Supplies for Colorado Babies and Families – Passed  
If enacted, the state government will allocate much-needed funding for nonprofit organizations to provide diapers and other childcare necessities to families in need, including Catholic Charities.  

SB 21-077 Remove Lawful Presence Verification Credentialing – Enacted    
With the enactment of SB 77, verification of lawful presence will no longer be required for any applicant for a license, certificate, or registration, particularly in the job fields of education and childcare.  

SB 21-146 Improve Prison Release Outcomes – Passed  
If enacted, SB 146 will establish practices that ease the transition back into society for formerly incarcerated persons.  

SB 21-158 Increase Medical Providers for Senior Citizens – Passed  
If enacted, SB 158 will allocate more funding for senior citizen care, which is currently understaffed and underfunded.  

Eight bills the CCC opposed that were passed 


HB 21-1072 Equal Access Services For Out-of-home Placements – Enacted 
With the enactment of HB 1072, Colorado law now prohibits organizations that receive state funding for placing children with adoptive or foster parents from discriminating on, among other things, the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or marital status. This new law will likely to be impacted by the imminent Fulton v. City of Philadelphia U.S. Supreme Court decision. 

HB 21-1108 Gender Identity Expression Anti-Discrimination – Enacted 
With the enactment of HB 1108, “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” and “gender expression” are now recognized as protected classes in Colorado nondiscrimination code. This may have serious religious liberty implications for individuals and organizations that wish to practice their well-founded convictions on marriage and human sexuality. 

SB21-006 Human Remains Natural Reduction Soil – Enacted 
With the enactment of SB 006, human remains can now be converted to soil using a container that accelerates the process of biological decomposition, also known as “natural reduction.” 

SB 21-009 Reproductive Health Care Program – Passed 
If enacted, SB 009 will create a taxpayer funded state program to increase access to contraceptives.  

SB 21-016 Protecting Preventive Health Care Coverage – Passed 
If enacted, the definition of “family planning services” and “family planning-related services” will not be clearly defined in law and could potentially include abortion. Furthermore, SB 16 removes the requirement that a provider obtain parental consent before providing family planning services to a minor.  

SB 21-025 Family Planning Services for Eligible Individuals– Passed 
If enacted, SB 025 low-income women to be given state-funded contraception, “preventing, delaying, or planning pregnancy” services, which includes cessation services and sterilization services.  

SB 21-142 Health Care Access in Cases of Rape or Incest– Enacted  
The enactment of SB 142 removes the requirement that, if public funds are being used, a physician must perform an abortion at a hospital, and instead allows for abortions to be performed by any “licensed provider.”   

SB21-193 Protection of Pregnant People in Perinatal Period– Passed 
If enacted, SB 193 will eliminate an important protection in Colorado law for a preborn and viable baby when a woman is on life support.  

Five bills the CCC supported that failed  

HB21-1017 Protect Human Life at Conception – Failed 
HB 1017 would have prohibited terminating the life of an unborn child and made it a violation a class 1 felony.  

HB 21-1080 Nonpublic Education and COVID-19 Relief Act – Failed 
HB 1080 would have established a private school and home-based education income tax credit for families who either enroll their child in private school or educate their child at home, thereby expanding education opportunities for families during and after the pandemic.  

HB 21-1183 Induced Termination of Pregnancy State Registrar – Failed 
HB 1183 would have required health-care providers that perform abortions to report specified information concerning the women who obtain the procedure to the state registrar of vital statistics, thereby increasing transparency in the abortion industry.   

HB 21-1191 Prohibit Discrimination COVID-19 Vaccine Status– Failed  
HB 1191 would have prevented individuals from being coerced to take the COVID-19 vaccine by either the state or by employers.  

HB 21-1210 Modifications to Qualified State Tuition Programs – Failed 
HB 1210 would have allowed families to use some of their private 529 savings account funds for private K-12 school tuition for their children, including at Catholic schools.   

One bill the CCC opposed that failed 

SB 21-031 Limits on Governmental Responses to Protests– Failed 
SB 031 would have made it more difficult for law enforcement to protect innocent lives when protests turn violent.  

Two bills the CCC was in an “Amend” position that passed  

SB 21-073 Civil Action Statute of Limitations Sexual Assault – Enacted  
With the enactment of SB 073, the statute of limitations on bringing a civil claim based on sexual misconduct will be removed as of January 1, 2022. Under this law, victims of sexual abuse can pursue a civil cause of action if the statute of limitations has not expired, the abuse happened in Colorado, and the abuse could be considered a felony or Class 1 misdemeanor if it was a criminal case. 

SB 21-088 Child Sexual Abuse Accountability Act– Passed  
If enacted, SB 88 will allow victims of childhood sexual abuse to sue public and private institutions for abuse that occurred between 1960-2022. Victims would have three years to bring a historical claim, starting from January 1, 2022. Claims brought during this window would be capped at $387,000 for public institutions and at $500,000 for private institutions, with the ability of a judge to double the damages depending on how the private institution handled the situation. Despite unanswered constitutional concerns regarding SB 88, the Colorado Catholic dioceses will also continue to offer opportunities for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to receive support in a non-litigious setting.   

While the legislature has adjourned the 2021 legislative session, there is still the possibility that they will reconvene later this year. To stay up-to-date on Colorado legislative issues and their impact on the Catholic Church in Colorado, be sure to sign up for the CCC legislative network HERE.