Understanding the Catholic Foundation:      Your Essential Guide to Mission, Impact and Engagement

As stewards of faith-based philanthropy, the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania plays a pivotal role in supporting the mission and ministries of the Catholic Church. Although we have been around for 10 years and our awareness factor has increased, there are still people who are not familiar with our organization. We know it is a continual education process. 

We put together this list of FAQs to provide clarity about our mission and to offer guidance on how people may engage with us to help their favorite Catholic cause. 

What is the Catholic Foundation of Eastern PA? 

The Catholic Foundation of Eastern PA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation established in 2013 and independent of the Diocese of Allentown. We assist individuals and Catholic organizations in creating endowment funds to provide lasting financial support for parishes, schools, and other ministries.

Are the Catholic Foundation of Eastern PA assets separate from Diocesan funds? 

Yes.  The Catholic Foundation of Eastern PA is a separately incorporated 501(c)(3) organization independent of the Diocese. Funds can only be distributed to the beneficiaries named in each endowment or donor designated fund. 

What are the benefits of working with the Foundation? 

The Catholic Foundation provides a number of benefits to our institutional and individual donor partners: 

  • Catholic Values Investing
  • Independence and Protection of Intent
  • Planned Giving (gift in a will, IRA and insurance beneficiaries)
  • Tax benefits

For parishes, schools and ministries, we provide stewardship services to help you market and grow your fund to generate future income to fulfill your mission forever.

All funds Catholic Foundation of Eastern PA

Does the Foundation displace my lawyer and financial advisor? 

No. The Catholic Foundation of Eastern PA works in partnership with professional advisors such as accountants, estate planning attorneys, and financial planners to create a charitable giving component that works with your financial and estate planning.

Is the Catholic Foundation of Eastern PA for everyone? 

Yes. The Catholic Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania empowers all Catholics of our diocese to become philanthropists. Being a philanthropist doesn’t mean you have to give away millions. It simply means that your charitable giving is organized and thoughtful at a level that is meaningful to you to make an impact. Once a fund is set up, anyone may make a donation to it, at any level.

What if I have a family foundation already? 

Private foundations allow you to maintain long-term involvement with your charitable assets, but they are often time consuming and costly to maintain.  Additionally, you are required to distribute at least 5% of your net investment assets or be subject to IRS penalties, file 990s and maintain investment oversight.

Partners have transferred their private foundations into one of the fund options with the Catholic Foundation. Be it an endowment, donor designated, or donor advised fund (DAF) , partners can enjoy the same benefits of a private foundation, but without the expense incurred by operational and IRS reporting requirements. 

Does the Foundation charge a fee for its services? 

After a fund is established, partners are charged an administrative fee based on a sliding scale of no more than one percent of the total of all the funds in its portfolio. The admin fee goes back to serving our partners with financial reporting, investment, marketing, fundraising, and legal services. It covers our costs so we may serve our partners better.

Is it possible for donations to the Foundation to be made anonymously? 

Yes. Donors may request that their gift remain anonymous.

What will happen to the fund(s) after my lifetime? 

All funds are set up with spending guidelines that generate distributions in perpetuity to the beneficiaries of the fund. The distributions continue after a partner’s death. It’s like your weekly envelope to your parish or annual gift to your alma mater will continue after you are in heaven. 

What if I am seeking general philanthropic guidance? 

Whether you are just beginning to think about your charitable legacy or whether you are an experienced philanthropist seeking to learn about new ministries and nonprofit organizations to support, the Catholic Foundation staff is ready to guide you.  Together with your legal and financial advisors, we will work with you and your family to develop a successful and satisfying legacy plan that supports you, your family and your favorite Catholic causes.

Catholic Values Investing With the Catholic Foundation of Eastern PA: How to Learn More

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