Please browse our frequently asked questions below:
The Catholic Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania is an independent, charitable organization designed to manage assets, generate perpetual income, and
provide financial stability for Catholic parishes, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations in Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton, and Schuylkill Counties.
The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity and a separate legal entity from the Diocese of Allentown. The Foundation is not an office of the Diocese or under the jurisdiction or control of the Bishop of Allentown.
An endowment is a fund that is managed and invested to create a permanent self-sustaining source for an intended purpose. Each year, a portion of the value of the fund is distributed to support the endowment’s pre-defined purpose. Any earnings in excess of this distribution continue to build the fund’s market value.
A quasi endowment fund is an endowment from which the funds, both principal and interest, may be expended at the discretion of the governing board at multiple times during a calendar year, as long as it fits the terms of the agreement.
An endowment has these benefits:
- It builds a reserve for the purpose of creating financial bedrock for a school, parish, or organization.
- It allows the school and parish to continue their works of Catholic education and faith in perpetuity.
- It provides a receptacle for future donations and parishioner involvement.
- It creates a symbol of trustworthiness and sustainability of the charitable school or parish.
- It provides an opportunity for caring individuals to invest in the future of Catholic schools and parishes with minimal risks and maximum returns.
The Catholic Foundation works with The Concord Advisory Group Ltd. as its investment advisory service, a group with many years of experience working with religious non-profit organizations. The Catholic Foundation has established an investment policy to guide the investments of the Foundation's funds. The policy targets a long-term annual return of approximately 8%. All funds are invested in accordance with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ guidelines.
Management fees are reasonable and comparable or lower than similar types of community foundations.
Endowment funds can be created with cash gifts, stock, multi-year pledges, and planned gifts. Usually, an endowment fund can be started with an initial deposit of $50,000, or a plan to build to that amount.
Yes, it is easy to add to an existing endowment fund already established to support a school, parish or other organization. It can be done with cash gifts,
stock, multi-year pledges, or planned gifts. Gifts of any size to these Endowments may be made and no signed agreement is needed.
Distributions are based on a three-year average of the assets in each endowment fund. Endowment fund partners have the option of taking their entire 5% distribution, a lesser amount, or none at all and rolling it over. Distributions can be taken semi-annually or annually.
Providing support for parishes, educational institutions and human service ministries is an important calling for all Catholics. Weekly giving to parishes or
annual giving to nonprofit organizations is a common practice to support general operations. However, lasting legacy gifts are needed to ensure the Catholic causes may continue to fulfill their missions to the people they serve.
Funds created by the Catholic Foundation provide asset protection from the liabilities of the diocese, parish, schools and diocesan ministries. They also ensure the specified growth and lasting legacy in our Catholic communities.
What are the benefits to donors of putting their money into the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania?
Some of the benefits to donors are:
- Safeguards to ensure donor intent is fulfilled. Funds cannot be used for purposes outside the scope of the gift.
- Endowments are invested in a responsible way to ensure the growth, protection, and preservation of the funds into perpetuity.
- Morally responsible investment management aligned with the teachings of the Catholic Church. All funds are invested in accordance with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s guidelines for Socially Responsible Investments.
- Lower fees for institutional quality investment management.
While the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Pennsylvania was new to the Diocese of Allentown when it was formed in 2013, it is one of more than 180 such foundations in the United States. Some were started many years ago, and while there are commonalities among them, each operates individually and is tailored to meet the needs of the Catholic communities they serve.
Funds offered by the Catholic Foundation include: permanent endowment funds; quasi endowment funds; cemetery funds; and donor designated funds.