Catholic Foundation meeting focuses on growth

JACKSON – On Tuesday, November 6, The Catholic Foundation of the Catholic Diocese of Jackson held its annual membership meeting along with the Board of Directors meeting at the Country Club of Jackson.
“I often get asked what is the mission of The Catholic Foundation? Quite simply The Foundation helps parishioners with planned giving opportunities that include starting a trust, charitable gift annuities, donor advised funds, or help with estate planning. We help parishioners leave a legacy to their parish, school, seminarian education or other ministry that is important to them,” said Rebecca Harris, Executive Director.

Members join the board of directors, priests and anyone interested in learning more about The Foundation at the annual dinner. Since the Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 separate from the diocese the bylaws require the director to present an annual audit. During the board of directors meeting Lefoldt & Co, presented this year’s audit. “We are excited to let everyone know that our investments grew as well as our annual contributions. For a detailed audit report please go to the diocesan website click on giving and click on learn more under the Foundation. There under resources we have a copy of our fiscal year 2018 audit,” explained Harris.

Following the board meeting the annual membership dinner took place at which Foundation leaders present the Good Samaritan Award. The Good Samaritan Award – established in 2002 and named after Bishop William Houck in honor of his giving spirit – is given to a donor who gives their time, talent and treasure. This year the award went to Jim and Christine Hackl.

According to Joe Rice Jr., Catholic Foundation board of directors president, “The Hackls were chosen because of their recent gift to The Foundation. The Albert James and Christine Magruder Hackl Family Trust was established to assist the poor and marginalized in our diocese.” Rebecca Harris told the story of receiving a phone call last Thanksgiving from the Hackls. They wanted to start a trust with The Catholic Foundation. “When I returned the phone call, I had no idea what kind of donation this would be; in the course of our conversation the Hackls stated that they wanted to start a trust for the poor of our diocese and they would be sending $1 million. I was blown away when I heard their story,” said Harris at the meeting. “I was surprised to hear that the Hackls are not part of our diocese and have not lived here for over sixty-five years,” she continued. Harris asked why the Jackson diocese, Christine Hackle replied, “We want to make a gift where our lives together started. We were married in 1950 at the Cathedral of St. Peter. I was a Magruder and my family came to Jackson from Ireland. We were one of the first five Catholic families in the Jackson area. So, Jackson has always been very important in my life.”

Unfortunately, Jim Hackl passed away on May 12, 2018. “Before Jim passed away, I went to visit the Hackls. They were such a welcoming couple, I immediately felt like I was part of their family,” said Harris. When Harris notified Christine Hackl that she would be receiving the award she was so honored. Christine Hackl immediately responded, “The church has done more for me than I have done for the church.”

Following the award presentation, Harris gave the membership a presentation on the good works of The Foundation, which hit many milestones this year. The Foundation currently manages assets in excess of $30 million and in the fiscal year 2018 saw a $4.7 million growth that can be contributed equally between contributions and investment growth. For the first time since 1973, the Catholic Foundation will distribute to the beneficiaries of the 372 managed trusts more than $1 million. “This is a great milestone for our Foundation that has been years in the making and a tremendous reflection on our supporters and benefactors,” said Joe Rice Jr.

The Foundation manages 37 of the 372 trusts specifically for charitable purposes. Parishes, schools, Catholic Charities and other organizations under the auspices of the diocese can submit a grant proposal. This year 24 grants were awarded that totaled more than $72,000. Harris said, “It is our hope that these 37 trusts will continue to grow. There are so many great projects presented through the grant process each year, my hope is that we can grow these trusts so that we can distribute $100,000.”

Harris also reported on the annual Bishop’s Cup golf tournament. This was the 36th annual golf tournament and the Bishop’s cup raised more than $35,000. Each year the Bishop’s Cup committee establishes a new charitable works grant and this year they established the Rev. Patrick Noonan Memorial Trust. Father Noonan was both a big supporter of the Foundation and he played in the annual in the Bishop’s Cup. This trust raised $6,700 that will now support grant projects around the diocese.

“The board of directors would like to thank our supporters and benefactors who have helped further our mission. We are committed to preserving and growing the assets entrusted to the Foundation. Our goal is to remain focused on the growth of the trust funds, to the individuals who started these funds, as well as to our beneficiaries who rely on the distributions each year. Our staff is always here to answer your questions on planned giving,” concluded Harris.