Share this story

 | Sister Mary Tracy, SNJM

Catholic Foundation advances mission of the Church

The Catholic Foundation Board and the Investment Committee invite all pastors, parish finance directors, endowment and custodial fund holders, prospective donors, and friends of the Catholic Foundation to


This event at IHRC is designed to show how our foundation investment advisers strive to strike a balance between preservation of principal and fund growth.

There is no charge for this event, though we invite you to make an optional contribution of any amount to an existing endowment. (Checks payable to Catholic Foundation.)

Below is a partial list of existing endowments. If you are an endowment (or custodial fund) holder, you are welcome to make a contribution to your own fund.

• Priests’ retirement
• Marian Fuchs Endowment—benefits St John Vianney faculty teaching materials
• Carol Speltz Endowment—benefits St. Mary’s School in the Valley tuition assistance
• Unrestricted endowment
• Education of seminarians
    John Conley Endowment
    La Shaw Endowment
    Father George Haspedis Endowment
    Marian Fuchs Endowment

We realize that people from areas outside of the Spokane proper will not be able to attend this weekday session. If you live in an outlying area and would like to host a similar session in your region, please contact Sister Mary Tracy, SNJM.

About 80 percent of dioceses in the United States have foundations. Roughly a third of these have opened since 2000. The earliest Catholic foundation was started in 1955 as a community foundation by a group of businesspeople in Dallas, Texas. After that, the majority of early Catholic foundations launched in the 1980s. The Catholic Foundation of Eastern Washington (CFEW), launched in 1981 with $5,000, was actually one of the earliest Catholic foundations created in the United States. Bishop William Skylstad and his advisers are to be commended for their prescience. That $5,000 has grown to a $32 million endowment, as of this writing. An additional $8 million in custodial funds brings the amount to $40 million in Catholic Foundation funds that we are investing.

The strongest Catholic foundations in the country are those that employ a Strategic Endowment Plan (SEP). This commonly used term refers to the two ways of growing the endowment: market growth and active fundraising. The combination of the two strategies is essential. The generation of new endowments and planned gifts, in combination with market growth, characterize the most successful Catholic foundations, including our Catholic Foundation of Eastern Washington.

Among the 181 Catholic foundations in the United States, a variety of cultural nuances reveal diversity and differences in goals. For example, some foundations were created for a single purpose, such as supporting Catholic schools. The New York Archdiocese has seven foundations, one of which  is directed exclusively to Catholic schools. The Fulcrum Foundation in the Seattle Archdiocese, founded roughly 20 years ago, exists explicitly to strengthen Catholic schools. Some foundations serve as comprehensive centers for all diocesan stewardship and development programs: Annual Catholic Appeal, major gifts, all bishops’ appeals, all events. The most common model is the one we have in Eastern Washington: donor-designated.

Some donors establish new endowments for any number of reasons: to memorialize a loved one, to fund a cause or to initiate a new program, etc. Some people have more than one endowment. Many donors contribute to existing endowments to strengthen ones they founded or to build on ones they believe in.

The evidence is in. The Catholic Foundation of Eastern Washington advances the mission of the Church in collaboration with hundreds of visionary donors; the CFEW reflects the strength and wonder of the national profile of Catholic foundations.