Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


Catholic Foundation endowments pass $20 million mark

by Robert P. Hailey, for the Inland Register

(From the June 21, 2012 edition of the Inland Register)

The year 2012 has seen a couple of important milestones for the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Washington.

In January, the value of endowments entrusted to the Foundation surpassed $20 million – that’s $3.6 million more than in the Summer of 2008, even after distributions of $1.7 million to the Foundation’s endowment beneficiaries. This record of sustained growth over the past four years is even more impressive because it has taken place despite one of the deepest and most prolonged recessions in this country’s history, which began in the fall of 2008, and has not yet run its course.

Secondly, the Catholic Foundation was chosen to administer and distribute grants from the annual income generated by the recently-established Irene Horrigan Trust for Catholic Schools. In May, utilizing the first installment of income from that Trust, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees awarded $88,000 in grants for tuition assistance to hard-pressed schools in our diocese.

While many of the Catholic Foundation’s permanent endowment accounts provide for automatic distributions of income to the endowment beneficiaries, others provide for distribution of income through discretionary grants. For example, the endowments established as a result of the Bishop’s Campaign for Catholic Education, the Marycliff endowment, the Catholic Community Outreach endowment, and several privately-established endowments have made possible discretionary grants to Catholic schools, parishes and charitable organizations – supporting a wide variety of ministries in all parts of our diocese – of more than $139,000 in 2012.

All of these events have a common theme. Increasingly, private individuals are recognizing that, by setting up or adding to an existing permanent endowment – either in the context of estate planning or as an element of charitable giving during their lifetimes – they are able to generate a predictable stream of income that will help to support ministries of their choice far into the future.

Permanent charitable endowments can be established in the Catholic Foundation with a contribution of as little as $1,000; and now, individual donors have the option of establishing a Personal Family Fund, which gives them (and even their children) the ability to be personally involved in the process after the establishment of the endowment, by recommending specific distributions of income during their lifetimes.

Of course, endowment accounts are not limited to those set up by individuals. Parishes and charitable organizations are also learning that perpetual endowment accounts in the Catholic Foundation create a reliable source of funding for ongoing and expanding operations, recognizing that tomorrow’s financial needs are likely to be far greater than those today. In addition, many of those same parishes and charitable organizations are realizing that long-term (but not permanent) endowment accounts in the Catholic Foundation are a great way for those institutions to set aside and grow funds for new construction, other specific projects, or even a “rainy day” reserve fund.

Today, the Catholic Foundation office ((509) 998-0654) has a wealth of information about the endowment options that are available, as well as the practical “nuts and bolts” of setting them up. The Catholic Foundation also offers to parishes and charitable organizations free seminars that educate laypersons and clergy alike as to the ways in which individuals can support programs or ministries of their choosing through a variety of estate-planning alternatives.

(Hailey is chairman of the Catholic Foundation of Eastern Washington.)


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