Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Catholic Foundation and why does it exist?
The Catholic Foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)3 organization, founded in 1997 by Bishop Robert J. Banks to encourage financial stewardship and generosity by providing an avenue for faith-based giving. The Foundation exists to assist individuals who wish to provide lasting financial support to religious, educational, and charitable organizations that serve the people of the Diocese of Green Bay and Catholic causes outside the diocese.

How does the Catholic Foundation serve the Diocese of Green Bay?
The Foundation makes distributions and grants from more than 150 restricted funds as designated by donors to benefit Catholic parishes, schools, and other Catholic organizations, primarily in Northeastern Wisconsin. The Catholic Foundation also: conducts the annual Bishop’s Appeal to benefit the ministries and services of the Diocese of Green Bay; and manages special collections for World Missions, seminarian education, and retired religious, Camp Tekakwitha, and the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help to name a few.

What are the benefits of working with the Catholic Foundation?
The Catholic Foundation offers many benefits for donors, including: the convenience of using a single source to give to numerous charities; expert assistance and advice tailored to your needs and interests; tax advantages; and possible wealth replacement to heirs for charitable gifts in trust. The Catholic Foundation is an ideal place to help donors earn more, and to provide more support for those in need than may be thought possible. With the Foundation, you know your gift will benefit many people in need, and you can trust those gifts will follow Catholic values throughout the life of the investment.

Who governs the Catholic Foundation?
The Board of Directors governs all operations and actions by the Catholic Foundation. The board meets five times per year. Its committees meet regularly to conduct Foundation business. Directors consist of Catholics from around our 16-county diocese, and reflect diverse work experience and backgrounds.

How do I make a gift to the Catholic Foundation?
Gifts may be made to the Foundation at any time. Many donors give cash and appreciated assets. Foundation staff is happy to help you design a gift that meets your personal needs and charitable goals. Make a gift today.

Why should I consider an endowment rather than an outright gift?
First, endowments are not just for very wealthy people or big institutions. Rather, an endowment is for anyone who wants to help their favorite charities forever. Using an endowment means permanently investing the gift and annually distributing 5% of its income to support the designated charities forever. You may be interested in this long-term impact, however, outright gifts are also great to support charitable interests.

Is there a minimum dollar amount I need to have to work with the Foundation?
No. Gifts of any size are accepted into any existing fund. The Catholic Foundation will assist anyone who wishes to fulfill their charitable intentions, regardless of the amount. However, endowments named for a parish, school, or organization require a $25,000 investment, and $50,000 for a named donor advised fund. (Initial investment may be given over a five-year period.)

Can I choose the beneficiary of my gift?
Absolutely. Funds are always distributed as specified by the donor. Some people choose not to make a designation. In those cases their gift goes to the Bishop’s Greatest Needs Fund, where the diocesan Bishop decides which needs will receive funding.

Can the Diocese ever claim funds from the endowment, in all or in part?
No. As a legally established investment contract, the endowment may never be used in any way other than what was specified in the legal fund agreement when the endowment was established. The funds are not diocesan funds and are not the property of the Diocese.

Do I have to be Catholic to have a relationship with the Catholic Foundation?
No. The Catholic Foundation welcomes participation from anyone interested in helping support the work of the Church, and guidance in fulfilling their charitable intentions.

Can I include other organizations besides the Catholic Foundation in my arrangements?
Yes. The Catholic Foundation can help you disperse your gift to multiple charitable organizations. Normally these funds would be made in your name, but they may also be made anonymously.

Do I need my own lawyer or financial professional?
Most benefactors receive peace of mind using their own lawyer, CPA, Certified Financial Planner or life insurance professional. When doing any estate planning or major giving it is important to consult your financial advisor to review arrangements or prepare appropriate documentation. The Catholic Foundation welcomes the opportunity to work with you and your advisor(s) any time during the process.

Can I use a Donor Advised Fund to benefit non-Catholic organizations or entities outside the Diocese of Green Bay?
Generally, gifts to the Catholic Foundation benefit Catholic organizations and ministries. On occasion a portion of a gift may be allocated to a non-Catholic entity; however, that organization must be in keeping with the tenets and teachings of the Catholic Church. Please contact us with specific questions about the feasibility of a proposed gift.

Can the recipient ever close the endowment and use the entire funds for current need?
An endowment is a legally established investment contract; generally it may never be closed or used in a way not defined in the contract. However, there are certain funds, such as pass-through funds, where the entire amount may be expended for future projects. Each case depends on the fund agreement and how it is initially established.

I see other parishes receive distributions. Why has my parish not received a distribution?
For the most part, parishes that receive a distribution from the Foundation have an endowment established to benefit them. These endowments are designed specifically to help that parish each year. If your parish does not have an endowment they typically will not receive distributions. If you are interested in establishing an endowment to help your parish, please contact Cindi Brawner at 920-272-8173 or at the Catholic Foundation.

Who keeps track of the investments and donations?
The Catholic Foundation staff receives and acknowledges all gifts and distributes those gifts according to donor intent. There is an Investment Committee made up of local professionals who monitor all investments for the Board of Directors. The Foundation, with all of its funds, is audited by an independent accounting firm each year. The audits are published on our website.

Are funds invested in a way that agrees with the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church?
The Catholic Foundation adheres to the policies set forth by the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops. We are the vehicle through which donors may share gifts and know their intentions will be carefully followed. A capable group of Catholics who follow the tenets of our faith and serve as the Board of Directors ensures the funds will always be governed with strong Catholic values. Many of our donors tell us this is important, and a deciding factor as they make their plans.