Witness to Hope Oversight Committee ensures accountability

The Witness to Hope Campaign Policies and Guidelines call for the establishment of an Accountability Oversight Committee (AOC) “to review the pledge receipts and their disbursements to the various case elements” in order to assure “the highest level of accountability to the clergy, lay leadership and parishioners of the Diocese of Lansing.” In addition, the AOC will provide advice and recommendations to our Catholic Foundation as to effective reporting concerning its administration and the ultimate use of the funds raised through Witness to Hope.

The initial members of the Accountability Oversight Committee were appointed by Bishop Boyea. They held their initial meeting in August and a second meeting in November, 2017. Each of the initial members of the AOC has professional experience in accounting, finance or law. They are:

1. Fr. James Conlon, Pastor, St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Ann Arbor

2. Richard Hendricks, parishioner, Christ the King Catholic Church, Ann Arbor

3. George Landolt, Diocesan CFO and parishioner, St. Mary Catholic Church, Williamston

4. William Pressprich, parishioner, Christ the King Catholic Church, Ann Arbor

5. Fr. Ryan Riley, Parochial Vicar, St. Thomas Parish, East Lansing

At their initial meetings, AOC members were presented with reports from the Diocese of Lansing’s Finance Department and the Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Lansing detailing campaign pledges made through Nov. 8, 2017, and cash received through Sept. 30, 2017. The committee members also reviewed the distributions approved by the Catholic Foundation’s board of directors for all funds received through June 30, 2017. These distributions included payments to each of the Pilot Wave and Wave I parishes, a payment to the diocese in lieu of the 2017 DSA, and initial payments for the benefit of the six endowments created through Witness to Hope, as well as the Priests’ Pension Fund and specific capital projects supported by the campaign at each of our five Catholic Charities agencies.

Witness to Hope’s active fundraising period was scheduled to end Dec. 31, 2017. In fact, several of our parishes are still engaged in active fundraising as of the mailing of this issue.

The Witness to Hope Accountability Oversight Committee will publish an annual report here in FAITH Magazine each year while pledges are being collected, beginning in fall 2018. In the meantime, FAITH will provide regular updates on Witness to Hope, our first diocese-wide capital campaign.