By Michael Morse, Executive Director, Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida (Florida Catholic)
The Catholic Community Foundation (CCF) supports the mission of Christ and His Church by stewarding long term financial resources, serving donors, and securing gifts for the parishes, schools, seminarians, and outreach programs within the Diocese of Venice. Last year, through the generosity of Catholic Legacy donors, the CCF distributed more than $1.2 Million to support scholarships for needy families, Seminarian education, and parish/school capital improvements throughout the Diocese of Venice in Florida. At its core, the CCF exists to ensure that the good work of the Catholic Church in Southwest Florida continues to have an impact well beyond our lifetimes.
Over the years, a number of questions have come to people’s minds when they first hear about the Catholic Community Foundation. In an effort to help individuals and families better understand the Foundation, we have put together a list of frequently asked questions along with the related answer(s).
Who or what is the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida?
The CCF is a charitable foundation established in 2001 to serve the Catholic community in Southwest Florida by promoting Christian philanthropy and offering donors the opportunity to create meaningful and lasting legacies. In addition, the Foundation offers donors highly effective investment vehicles for their chartable resources, the finest professional stewardship of those funds and optimal tax benefits.
What is the Foundation’s role within the Diocese?
The CCF is a separate not-for-profit entity with its own professional staff and independent Board of Directors comprised of Catholic laypeople from throughout the Diocese with expertise in business and finance, diocesan administrators and the Bishop. It functions, however, as a key partner with all of the entities within the Diocese of Venice by helping donors create their own Catholic legacies, which enables them to support their parish, Catholic schools, seminarians, the programs of Catholic Charities, and much more for generations to come.
Who can benefit within the Diocese of Venice from gifts to the Foundation?
Catholic parishes and missions, Catholic schools and students, seminarians, Catholic Charities and the Diocese of Venice outreach programs can all benefit directly from gifts to the Foundation. However, the benefits extend well beyond these entities to the communities of Southwest Florida. The critical programs and services provided by these Catholic entities will have a lasting impact on the individuals and families living throughout the Diocese.
Does the Foundation displace a lawyer and financial advisor?
Not at all. The CCF works closely with all professional advisors to create only the charitable giving component of a donor’s financial and estate plan. With the knowledge and insight of the donor’s personal advisors, the Foundation can help develop a plan that is consistent with the donor’s overall personal, financial and spiritual goals, both currently and well into the future.
What kind of donor “plans” are available?
As a full-service philanthropic foundation, the CCF offers an extensive range of options, each dependent upon the personal resources and unique charitable objectives of the donor. Examples of types of gifts include: outright gifts of cash or securities, charitable bequests, charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, and Donor Advised Funds. These, in turn, can be managed in a number of ways to optimize income and/or estate tax savings, to provide secure income to the donor, to advance particular charitable interests, and/or to build endowments and create an enduring legacy.
Is the Catholic Community Foundation mostly for wealthy donors?
No. It is hoped that everyone in the Catholic community will participate in the spirit of charitable giving and realize the effectiveness and efficiencies of this trusted community foundation. Gifts of any size are welcome, and indeed, essential to the Foundation’s mission.
How much does this cost?
Donors are not charged a fee for establishing a fund at the Catholic Community Foundation of SW Florida. Funds are charged a very small percentage, currently 1.5%, for management and administration, which is comparable to, and slightly lower than most other charitable giving investment programs.
How can I learn more about working with the Catholic Community Foundation of SW Florida?
Prospective donors are encouraged to set an appointment to discuss their particular charitable intentions with a member of the professional staff of the Foundation. Together with the donor’s legal and financial advisors, the Foundation will work with the donor and their family to develop a successful and satisfying program for faithful philanthropy. Contact the Foundation at 941-441-1124 or CCF@dioceseofvenice.org.
Primarily, the Catholic Community Foundation of SW Florida is defined by the gifts of their donors. But while they are, in fact, no greater than any one person who seeks to share their blessings, in the aggregate, they can, as a community foundation, become more. By donors joining together with the CCF, they combine their blessings and resources, which increases their capacity to grow and to impact the community. In addition, as funds accrue to the endowment, the Foundation enhances its ability to realize the promise of its Vision: to be a sustaining resource for meeting the needs of their Catholic community for all time.
To be a part of The Catholic Community Foundation of SW Florida is to join in this generous, creative, difference-making force.
Michael Morse is the Executive Director of the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida and can be reached at 941-441-1124 or CCF@dioceseofvenice.org.