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Easter 2020
As we PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD, please know that you,
your families and your favorite Catholic organizations are in our
thoughts and prayers during this challenging health crisis.
STAY SAFE & WELL.
Have a Blessed Easter!
Endowments become fiscal vaccine in crisis preparedness
 
By Pete Waldron
 
Everyone recognizes the famous Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared.  Scouts believe that when a person is prepared, they are always in a state of readiness in mind and body to do their duty.
 
It has been said that “a Scout is never taken by surprise. [They] know exactly what to do when anything unexpected happens.”
 
During the past six weeks, the unexpected happened. No one imagined the paralyzing impact COVID-19 would place on everyday lives. No one imagined the number of deaths – especially in younger, non-vulnerable age groups – that would occur. No one imagined what our new normal would look like.
 
Social distancing, hand sanitizers, face masks, air hugs, on-line Masses and learning, as well as Zoom videos for business meetings, family gatherings and even happy hours are the new normal.  
 
Stay at home orders and self-isolation has given all of us ample time to think. Hopefully, parish, school and non-profit leaders have used this time to reflect on the future and direction of their organizations.  There is a new normal coming for non-profits – and our favorite Catholic causes, as well.
 
Sadly, when we emerge from isolation, some of our Catholic organizations – just like many small businesses and nonprofits – will either continue the drastic scale back of their operations or close their doors.
 
The coronavirus pandemic unfolded during the Lenten season when Christians around the world prepare their hearts for the resurrection of Christ.  The initial take-away that we all can learn from this may be summed up in the words of the Scout motto: Be Prepared.
 
The Catholic Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania is here to help Catholic parishes, schools and non-profits be prepared for the expected and the “unexpected.”  Our promise is simple: to ensure Catholic organizations have future income so they may fulfill their missions forever.
 
We believe Catholic organizations that have an endowment fund to back up its operations will survive and be able to fulfill its “duty” to its faithful. Those who don’t will continue to struggle or sadly, close.  Endowment funds are important because they:
 
  • Build a reserve for the purpose of creating a financial bedrock for a school, parish, or organization.
  • Provide a repository for future donations and donor involvement (i.e., planned giving for wills/bequests, insurance or investment beneficiaries, and IRA transfers.)
  • Create a symbol of trustworthiness and sustainability for the Catholic cause.
 
Catholic leaders and volunteers must stop back-burnering endowment fund discussions.  Organizations can grow a healthy endowment fund without hurting support for operations and special projects.  College and university development efforts substantiate this claim.  
 
It is important to underscore the need to build “true” endowment funds. “True” endowment funds are not long-term savings or investment accounts with no restrictions, easy access, and exposure to the general liabilities of an organization.  “True” endowment funds have written guidelines that protect the assets and the intent. They produce a reliable, long-term source of income. They also are managed by objective, independent advisers with written investment policies that take Catholic values into consideration.  Catholic donors appreciate these benefits – especially for planned gifts – because they are comforted knowing their gift will live forever and it won’t be frittered away.
 
As an independent 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the Catholic Foundation manages “true” endowment and donor designated funds to generate perpetual income and provide financial stability for Catholic parishes, educational institutions and non-profits.   We take advantage of market volatility and continually rebalance when contributions come in for new or existing endowment funds. And we work with our partners to guide them in promoting and growing their endowment funds.
 
Let’s hope a new normal for our favorite Catholic causes is building endowment funds. A strong endowment fund will ensure they are prepared for the expected and the “unexpected” that may come their way in the future.
 
Pete Waldron is President of the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania catholicfoundationep.org. Feel free to contact him to discuss the impact endowment funds can have on preparing your favorite Catholic organization for the future:  petewaldron@catholicfoundationep.org or 610-554-1941
 
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