Would you like to be directly engaged in the process of deciding what causes and which organizations will receive your support? Donor Advised Funds operate much like private foundations, but without the administrative burdens or paperwork.
Here are some of the advantages of a Donor Advised Fund with the Catholic Community Foundation:
• Contribute when needed, and receive an immediate income tax deduction;
• Enjoy a quick and easy set-up with a $5,000 minimum initial gift;
• Make unlimited grants at your convenience to any qualified charity in the United States or abroad;
• Take advantage of online fund account access and grant distribution through our secure system;
• Select anonymity on a grant-by-grant basis, or for all of your activities;
• Benefit from professional investment management; and
• Involve your children and other relatives through multi-generational capabilities that make Donor Advised Funds an efficient and meaningful vehicle for your family’s philanthropy.
Meet a Donor Advised Fund Holder
Meet the Mulherns
Bob and Tina Mulhern have always given generously of their time and resources to the Catholic community. They express their dedication to philanthropy through a variety of organizations and the entire family volunteers at the St. Vincent DePaul Society’s Family Dining Hall at least once a quarter. Bob is a partner at Reliance Companies, a commercial real estate firm he started five years ago, and Tina is a full-time mom. Bob is also one of the founders of Veritas Preparatory Academy in Phoenix, a charter school that offers a rigorous curriculum based on Catholic-school traditions.
The Mulherns traveled to Rome at the end of 2006 to have five of their eight children confirmed. While they attended Mass on New Year’s Day 2007, their youngest child, Christina, kept crying and fussing. “She stopped crying as soon as she saw Pope Benedict XVI,” Tina remembers, “He came up and kissed her and she received the kiss so beautifully.”
Upon the family’s return from Rome, an MRI, which was initially scheduled for before their trip but had to be canceled, revealed that young Christina had a rare cancer called neuroblastoma. When Bob and Tina were contemplating where to have Christina’s operation, they came across a picture of her with Pope Benedict (see the cover of this report). “When we saw that the pontiff’s hand was on the exact spot the cancer was growing, we took it as a special sign and we knew that Christina was in God’s hands,” Bob says. “So we stayed with the surgical team at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, and everything went great.” “It was a miracle that we found the cancer before it spread,” Tina adds. “Our Faith was tested, strengthened, and deepened by this experience, and it has made us realize—even more—how important it is to have a generous spirit.”
New to the Foundation
The Mulherns turned to the Catholic Community Foundation early in 2008 to be consistent in their charitable giving. “We had a family fund at another foundation, and when a friend told us about the Catholic Community Foundation we thought it would be a better fit for us,” Bob says. “We want to pass down three things to our children—Faith, family values, and good education. The Catholic Community Foundation reinforces all these things.” Currently, the Mulherns direct their giving to support the growing needs of such organizations as First Way, the Bioethics Defense Fund, Virtue Media, and the Phoenix Institute. They intend to expand and diversify their giving, and involve their children in future philanthropic decisions. “Having everything in one place makes it easy to manage,” Bob states. “Most organizations depend on monthly giving, and the Foundation makes sure it all gets taken care of.”
Donor Profile: Nancy and Mike Meyer
Practically Arizona natives, Nancy and Mike Meyer have lived in the Valley for the last 40 years. Originally from the Midwest, they have made Mesa their hometown and All Saints’ Catholic Church their parish. Mike and Nancy have raised three children and are the proud grandparents of seven grandchildren.
Dedicated parishioners, they are Eucharistic Ministers, lectors and instructors in Diocesan marriage preparation courses. They are just as dedicated in their tithing, for as Mike says, “Some years ago, I read the passage in the Book of Malachi where God tells the people to bring the entire tithe into His storehouse, that there may be food in His house.” At that point, the Meyers contacted the Catholic Community Foundation to create their own Donor Advised Fund and committed to tithe 10 percent of their income every year. Mike likes having control over their giving and a simplified tax return. An added bonus for him is to tell solicitors, “My Foundation takes care of our charitable giving!”
More seriously, the fund reflects the Meyer’s deep commitment to family; named for their three children, it exists both to make charitable contributions and model the importance of philanthropy. In fact, their children are named as future fund trustees. Today, Mike and Nancy are actively involved in distributing funds where they can do the most good. Causes related to children are closest to their hearts, in raising three adopted children they deeply appreciate the precious gift of family. “It’s incredible how much good even a little can do… especially for needy children in poor countries,” says Mike.
Through their Donor Advised Fund at the Catholic Community Foundation Mike and Nancy support their parish and give regularly to Catholic Relief Services and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Over the years they have supported cancer research, halfway houses, and even baseball teams. As Nancy says, “As long as the organization does not contradict Church teaching, we have the flexibility to give and are comfortable knowing that the Church’s influence makes Foundation gifts appropriate. ”
The ease and lower overhead of giving via the Foundation matters too. Mike comments, “We just send an email to the Foundation; there’s no check writing, mailing, etc. Even more importantly, administration costs are much lower. When you are solicited by a charity, a sizable percentage goes to the solicitor. Not so with the Foundation.”
For the Meyers, having a Donor Advised Fund at the Foundation focuses their tithing and giving in a uniquely Catholic context that exemplifies the living spirit of the Faith.
Donor Profile: Meet the Abele Family
For Marj and Peter Abele, Catholic stewardship is a sacred, central obligation. Their faith commitment is the cornerstone of family life, infusing all aspects with a heartfelt desire to appreciate God’s gifts by sharing their own.
As parents, they have demonstrated this by ensuring their five children all receive a solid Catholic education—Bailey, the oldest, recently graduated from Seton Catholic Preparatory High School, where her siblings, Corinne and Keegan attend, while younger sisters Madison and Camille attend Christ the King Catholic School. Bailey, now in college at the University of Dubuque, exemplifies the true Catholic faith her parents have instilled. Marj recounts, “It is such a joy to see the fruits of faithfulness in her… she has a passion for the Faith and fully understands her responsibility.”
This passion has been modeled by Peter and Marj not only in family terms, but also in their sacrificial stewardship. A financial services professional, Peter says, “We heard, understood and responded to the call to tithe. And we discerned that the Catholic Community Foundation was the best way to do so.” They began the Abele Family Fund at the Foundation five years ago and appreciate the ease with which they can make regular gifts to the ministries they value.
These include their parish of Christ the King in Mesa, City of the Lord Catholic Charismatic Covenant Community in Tempe, and Living Water Retreat Center in the Verde Valley. Peter comments, “The fund makes our tithing so simple—we make an automatic monthly contribution and the Foundation does the rest.”
Meanwhile, the impact of their giving extends to a new generation as their children witness faith in action. “ It is a great way to teach them how to use gifts wisely and embrace spiritual freedom,” comments Marj, “by demonstrating our responsibility to evangelize, we show them the power of sacrificial giving and the freedom that comes with it—for when you are in right order with God, you are truly free.”