It can be hard to describe fully in words the positive impact a vibrant faith community has on its members over the years. Family prayer and long-term friendships. A source of consolation during difficult times. Celebrations of baptisms, confirmations, and weddings. The joy of the Christmas and Easter seasons.

When Bill Steger realized he will mark his 50th year as a parishioner of Saint George Parish in Erie in the same year the parish celebrates its 100th anniversary he wondered – how can I give back to this community in a special way?

Bill found his answer through the Catholic Foundation by establishing the Saint George Parish Second Century Endowment to financially support the mission of the parish “for the next 100 years.” Bill says, “Saint George Parish has meant so much to me, I wanted to give back in a meaningful way.”

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Lisa Louis, Executive Director, and Bill Steger

In celebration of the parish centennial, Bill not only established the Second Century fund, but he also chose to increase its impact with a matching gift opportunity. He is committed to matching gifts from others with a goal of endowing the parish with $100,000.

“Bill personifies the mission of the Catholic Foundation,” says Lisa Louis, Executive Director of the Catholic Foundation. “He embraces his faith with contagious energy that lifts everyone around him.”

Bill is well-known to the Saint George Parish community, a regular at 7:30 Mass. He has participated as a lector at Saint George since the 1980’s. Now retired from a fulfilling career as a CPA, Bill serves actively on the parish finance council as he has done for over 35 years. In eighth grade he was in the first class of the new school at Our Lady of Peace and graduated at the top of that class. Bill attended Cathedral Prep and Gannon University. He’s proud to have “counted the money” for every one of his Prep class reunions since the first.

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His Catholic faith was part of Bill’s professional life too. He had many Catholic organizations as clients. In particular he has fond memories of working with many of the ministries of the Sisters of Mercy.

When Bill became aware of the Catholic Foundation, he embraced its mission whole-heartedly. In 2020 he established the Bill and Joy Steger Family Endowment which provides unrestricted support to the Foundation. In 2021 Bill joined the Foundation’s board of directors, quickly stepping into the role of treasurer. Widowed after 54 years in 2020, Bill’s new association with the Catholic Foundation board was a welcome distraction. It also led him to meet Ruthanne Beighley, the chair of the board of the Foundation at the time, who was also recently widowed. The two were married in 2022. You can read more about their story here.

The Catholic Foundation “feels like home” to Bill. “My faith is part of my life, my identity. It is the fabric of my life,” he says. Bill is now paying that forward with the Saint George Parish Second Century Endowment to continue giving to his beloved parish community beyond his lifetime.

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“Saint George Parish has meant so much to me, I wanted to give back in a meaningful way.”
— Bill Steger, Donor
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