Questions About the Catholic Foundation of Northwest Pennsylvania

A community foundation is a tax-exempt, publicly supported philanthropic organization with a long-term goal of building endowments in a geographic area. The Catholic Foundation, like other community foundations, is a grant-making charity that brings together the financial resources of individuals, families and businesses to support nonprofit organizations in their communities.

The foundation’s purpose is to provide a permanent and secure funding stream to strengthen and grow the Church's mission and ministries in northwest Pennsylvania.

We accomplish this through two main roles:

  • Helping donors establish permanent charitable funds to create long-lasting support for the causes they care about
  • Offering parishes, schools and other Catholic organizations cost-effective, socially responsible investment management to keep endowment assets growing

Originally founded through generous donations to the 2001-2003 diocesan capital campaign, the foundation is a 501(c)(3) corporation led by a lay-person governing board of directors from throughout northwestern Pennsylvania. We work to promote socially responsible investing and to connect generous donors with faithful organizations important to them. We understand the value of stewardship and the unique desire of Catholics to provide a legacy of faith for future generations.

The Foundation helps donors create meaningful impact through planned giving and charitable fund management. We also work closely with parishes, schools and organizations to build a vibrant philanthropic plan to support their ministry as a source of abundant blessing.

No. We are an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in service to the Catholic community of northwest Pennsylvania, governed by a dedicated board of directors comprised of lay Catholics from throughout the diocese.

Endowment funds held by the Foundation are restricted for the intended purpose stated in a legal agreement by the individual or organization initiating the endowment. The Foundation’s volunteer lay board of directors oversees the governance and proper use of distributions from Foundation endowments.

Canon and civil law require that all funds placed in the Foundation are to be distributed according to the purpose named in the endowment agreement. The Diocese of Erie cannot direct how the funds in the Foundation endowments are used. Funds cannot be used to pay for legal fees or settlements related to the sexual abuse crisis.

Questions about Endowments of the Catholic Foundation of Northwest Pennsylvania

Anyone can create an endowment for a minimum of $10,000.

The Foundation's fee for management and administration of the endowments is slightly less than 1%.

The annual distribution is determined by the foundation board of directors and is calculated using the average value of the endowment over the three most recent years. While by policy it can range from 2-7%, distribution has typically been 4-5%.

The Catholic Foundation’s endowments are managed by PNC and Northwest with oversight by an ad hoc committee of the Catholic Foundation board of directors. This investments committee is comprised of highly qualified lay persons with related professional experience. The funds entrusted to the Catholic Foundation are invested consistent with the Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines outlined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

A complete list of Foundation endowments can be found here.

Questions about giving to the Catholic Foundation of Northwest Pennsylvania

An endowment fund is a permanent legacy of faith. It is the best way for an individual donor to provide a perpetual source of revenue for the parish, school, ministry, or organization they value. The Catholic Foundation offers:

  • Socially responsible and market-competitive investment management.
  • Funds will be used exactly as intended, according to the signed agreement.
  • Fund evaluation by consultants who measure and evaluate performance to appraise fund managers, rethink investment policies and plan portfolio strategies.
  • Oversight with care by a board of directors comprised of dedicated, Catholic men and women from throughout northwestern Pennsylvania.

The foundation also works with parishes, schools and non-profits to create endowment funds. We partner with you to promote and grow the funds.

Good stewardship asks us to reflect on the gifts we have received and to use them for good in the future. The faithful steward acknowledges that their personal life, as well as all of creation, is a gift from a loving and gracious God. Loyal parishioners support the Catholic Foundation when they wish for their gift to have a longer-lasting impact. Parishioners typically donate disposable income through the weekly offertory and asset income and planned gifts to establish or add to a permanent endowment.

Catholic Foundation staff are available to help you make a gift that matches your interests and financial circumstances. For more information about giving options, call Lisa Louis, Executive Director of the Catholic Foundation, at 814-824-1237. Gifts to support an endowment can be made to the organization (church, school or agency) or sent directly to the Catholic Foundation.