Davenport Diocese sets up charitable foundation

By Barb Arland-Fye

Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Davenport has been established to focus on the diocese’s long-term financial wellbeing.

The foundation is a first for the diocese, but a vital funding vehicle among universities and other entities, including some other dioceses.

Sister Laura Goedken, OP, the diocese’s development director, said the state approved the foundation’s incorporation last week.

The impetus for establishing a foundation was a $22 million capital campaign the diocese plans to launch in January 2010.

People interviewed during the feasibility study for the capital campaign wanted to know how the assets would be protected, Sr. Goedken said.

She researched other dioceses to learn about the best vehicle for securing funds raised in various ways, whether through a campaign such as the diocese will undertake or whether through the receipt of other financial gifts.

“Most dioceses have a foundation,” said Msgr. John Hyland, the diocese’s vicar general and registered agent for Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Davenport. The new foundation “has been formed to promote and strengthen the growth of our diocese as we move forward with our capital campaign. It allows those who contribute to the campaign to know their contributions will safely go towards the various needs of the diocese that have been spelled out in the case outline of the campaign and that the foundation will be managed by a board of directors well versed in financial matters.”

The capital campaign will fund four essential areas: strengthening the church of the Diocese of Davenport, supporting clergy and seminarians, reaching out to the people of the diocese and assisting diocesan parishes.

As funding becomes available, the foundation is equipped to help achieve those goals. But as a non-profit corporation, it could not carry out propaganda or otherwise attempt to influence legislation or participate or intervene in political campaigns on behalf of candidates for public office.

Mike Bauer, a member of the Diocesan Finance Council, said the foundation is a formal approach to providing long-term financial stability for the diocese.

“As we’re successful in building the funds within the foundation, it allows the diocese to do new initiatives — and to not have everything we do as a diocese come out of the Annual Diocesan Appeal (which funds the diocese’s day-to-day operations).

“Once in a while there are things we need to do as a diocese that aren’t in the budget.

There are so many things we need to be doing and ought to be doing, in terms of social justice, and natural disasters, for example,” Bauer said.

The foundation also is a vehicle that creates an opportunity for people to say, “This is where I want my money to go,” explained Bauer, vice chairman of QCR Holdings Inc. For those contributors looking at estate planning, the foundation is a way to make a statement as well as a commitment: “I identify with the mission of the Catholic Church and I want a portion of my estate to go to the foundation to make sure we’re able to continue to meet the mission of the Diocese of Davenport.”

Catholic Foundation seeks board members

Diocesan officials are seeking parishioners to serve on the board of the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Davenport. Expertise is needed in the fields of investments, finance and/or legal matters.

The bishop and the vicar general of the diocese will serve as voting ex officio directors in addition to no less than eight and no more than 11 directors who will be primarily lay parishioners representing  each deanery in the diocese.

The board will meet for the first time this spring to approve the bylaws of the corporation, create the mission statement for the foundation and establish operational policies, such as gift acceptance, investment and distribution policies. The foundation will be audited annually and will honor donor restricted gifts.

The foundation will operate exclusively for religious, charitable and educational purposes to promote the strength and growth of the Diocese of Davenport and its entities. All gifts to the diocesan capital campaign will be put in the foundation.

Anyone interested in being considered for board membership, please contact Sister Laura Goedken, OP, at (563) 324-1911 or Goedken@davenportdiocese.org.

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