Dennis Sullivan has been a dedicated volunteer at Holy Family Parish in Nazareth for more than 20 years. He has served in a variety of leadership positions on various committees, including finance, capital campaign fundraising, and the Knights of Columbus. A former sales executive, Dennis’s outgoing demeanor and deep Involvement has brought him in contact with many parishioners. Some affectionately refer to him as “the mayor of Holy Family.”
“It’s a tight-knit community.” Sullivan said. “My wife Jayne and I have been blessed to be a part of it.”
Sadly six months ago, Dennis’s beloved wife of 18 years passed away after a brief but valiant battle with brain cancer. As he processed his grief and busied himself in his parish work, he could not help but notice a number of faithful, giving parishioners were now missing from the congregation.
“Sadly, donors are passing away, and no one is replacing them at the same donation levels,” Sullivan said.
So, when recommended by Father Jonas Tancanyu, pastor at Holy Family, to assist the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania in organizing a Holy Family Forever Committee, he heartily agreed. Joining Sullivan in the effort are: Cor & Lauri Catena, Terry Dunne, Len Fodera, and Nick Rizzotto.
“It’s never an easy job, asking people for support.” Sullivan said. “However, I wouldn’t have agreed to help if I didn’t think it was important.”
Forever Committee Focuses on Parish’s Future
With an aging Catholic population, there is little to no discussion about Forever Gifts (often referred as a planned gift). As part of its Partner Program effort, the Catholic Foundation works with its partners to adopt an active approach to planned giving with the formation of Forever Committees. Each Forever Committee consists of 3-5 members of influence within a parish who have demonstrated commitment to and involvement in Catholic causes and the Church’s mission.
The Forever Committee members serve as ambassadors and lead the conversation while educating people on how Forever Giving can build up a Catholic organization’s endowment funds to generate future income and provide financial stability forever.
“Our role is to help fellow parishioners focus on what the future is going to be at Holy Family and how they can have an impact on it,” Sullivan said.
What is Forever Giving?
Forever Giving is an intention by a donor to leave a gift from their accumulated lifetime assets to an endowment fund supporting their favorite Catholic organization or cause after their death. Since an endowment fund provides ongoing income to an organization, donors believe their final intention — their Forever Gift — allows them to continue supporting the Catholic causes that are important to them long after they are gone. Their gift lives forever.
The intention or planned gift may be included in a will and/or designated as a beneficiary on life insurance, IRA/401k accounts or other investment accounts. The amount of the Forever Gift depends on the donor’s other obligations. Memorial gifts in an obituary may be directed to the Catholic cause as well.
Why are Forever Giving and Forever Gifts Important?
In many ways, leaving a Forever Gift is the ultimate act of stewardship and faith. It is also a testament of the importance of that organization in the donor’s life. While the faithful support the annual operating needs of their favorite Catholic organizations, leaving a forever gift that ensures the organization, and its mission will be supported forever.
Forever Giving deserves a long-term stewardship commitment because often the benefit of a Forever Gift may not be realized for several years.
“This special planned gift deserves serious attention,” said Deb Kipp, Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving for the Catholic Foundation. “It is possibly the largest gift a donor will make in their lifetime to their favorite Catholic cause.”