Holy Family Parish supports an active community in Nazareth, one that requires more than faith and care to continue. It requires funding, and Holy Family has taken an aggressive approach toward providing it.

Like a basketball program pursuing the Final Four of March Madness, Holy Family wrote a new playbook last year, one meant to secure the financial future of its parish, school, and youth ministry program. Holy Family’s game plan centered on creating a series of endowment funds with the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania.

“As we started to look at it, we decided that God always was and always will be, and we need the church to do the same thing,” said Tom Ely, a permanent deacon at Holy Family who also serves as chair of the Parish Finance Committee. “We need our Catholic education to continue, and we need our parish to continue.”

Holy Family has five endowment funds with the Catholic Foundation, an independent 501c3 organization that supports the future of Catholic causes in the Lehigh Valley region. Parishes, schools, and non-profit organizations invest endowment funds with the Catholic Foundation to generate perpetual income and secure financial stability for the long run.

Holy Family has two education funds that provide necessary support for scholarships, academic programs, and maintenance at Holy Family Elementary School. A parish endowment supports parish operations and maintenance of the church. A cemetery fund was created to ensure the perpetual care of Holy Family’s parish cemetery. And lastly, an endowment was started by David Bosich, a parishioner, to support youth ministry activities in the parish.

The Catholic Foundation currently manages Holy Family’s five endowment funds, along with 77 other funds from 53 partners. It offers multiple levels of sound investment guidance and independent oversight – all with Catholic values in mind. The Catholic Foundation’s diverse portfolio posted strong returns for the second consecutive year: 19.3% in 2019 and 12.7% in 2020. The endowments not only grow but also offer annual income that supports important projects and overall operations unique to each endowment.

For Holy Family, the decision to partner with the Catholic Foundation was a winner.

“Endowment funds offer many benefits for Holy Family Parish and School,” said Trish Scherr, Holy Family’s business manager. “The income from the invested donations will provide perpetual financial stability. Donors are forever part of a lasting legacy at Holy Family, and their gift will benefit the parish year after year.”

The endowment funds supporting Holy Family Catholic School seek to secure the future of Catholic education in Nazareth. Meanwhile, the scholarship fund allows Holy Family to offer Catholic education to a broader group of students.

“With Catholic education increasing in cost, it’s important to help those families who cannot afford full tuition be able keep their children in our school,” Deacon Ely said. “As our endowment grows, we’ll be able to give more and more scholarship money to families in need.”

Holy Family’s youth ministry endowment will help keep kids active in the church. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has limited Holy Family’s youth offerings. When the group becomes more active again. Deacon Ely said that fund can contribute to retreats and events in which youth parishioners participate.

“It seemed like there was never enough money for the kids to do something or go somewhere without asking the parents for money,” Deacon Ely said. “Teenagers start to lose interest, so that money is important to send them on retreats and keep the faith in their lives.”

Deacon Ely said working with the Catholic Foundation has made more than an investment difference at Holy Family. With its support and outreach, the Catholic Foundation works to help parishioners understand how endowment funds benefit their parish. Further, Holy Family wants parishioners to know the difference they can make through a donation or planned gift.

At Holy Family, the game plan is working.

“We want to reach donors where faith and religious values play an important role in their investing decisions,” Scherr said. “The Catholic Foundation provides fundraising guidance and planned giving workshops to appeal to parishioners, school families and alumni to invest in the future of the parish and school.”

Published March 31, 2021