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On A Firm Foundation: A Match Made in Heaven – $2M for Parish Endowments


Mary Quilici Aumack
Executive Director
Catholic Community Foundation of Santa Clara County

We’ve all heard the term “a match made in heaven.” Perhaps it referred to a couple at a joyful wedding. Or maybe the reference was to an effective business partnership. At our house, it might be the match of beautifully sharp cheddar cheese with a glass of Doug’s Baccarossa wine.

What makes a good match? Shared interest, shared values, shared vision.

One year ago we announced a $1Million match to provide incentive for the development of Parish Endowments. At that time, we held 11 endowments for parishes.

Endowments are a central part of the work of the Foundation. These are true permanent funds, from which we only distribute a portion every year (3-5%). The goal is to build each fund to a level that provides material financial support to the parish. A gift to an endowment provides FOREVER VALUE for the parish. Each gift is a piece of the legacy of the donor.

Through the generosity of one anonymous donor, the match offered $20,000 to every parish that raised that same amount in new donations to the endowment. When we started the match, we managed

  • 11 parish endowments. It has been a year of inspiration. Here are some facts and stories:
    We held 42 separate gatherings at parishes and homes
  • More than once I heard a parishioner say, “This is the answer to my prayers.”
    Pastors provided inspiration, embracing this opportunity
  • Many donors made gifts and also added the endowment to their estate plans for a legacy gift, allowing them to remain a part of the parish forever
  • Several additional matches have been offered for parishes
  • We now have endowment match opportunities for three schools, including one for $250,000
  • Several parishes are exploring plans to build the endowment to $1M or more

We recognized that the ability to raise $20,000 varies greatly among parishes. Therefore, another anonymous donor provided four separate $10,000 matches, so that certain parishes could raise $10,000 and still get to the $20,000 match. This donor met with each of the four pastors, and every meeting was an inspiration to me. These men are creating an environment of success in parishes that have struggled financially. Together with this donor, I was filled with joy as we witnessed all four make the match.

The match ended September 30. See the back page of this issue of The Valley Catholic for a beautiful overview. As a result, 36 parishes made the match, and we raised $2Million overall, including $1.3Million in new donations – just an outstanding response to this generous match. Our little team at the Foundation rejoiced with every new donation and many accompanying stories.

The match is just the beginning of a process of developing the endowments through current gifts and planned bequests. At one parish reception, the pastor said, “We have roughly 2,000 families that give to the parish throughout the year. If each of those families remembered us in death with just $5,000, that would be a $10Million Endowment!” The foundation will work with all parishes on a comprehensive legacy planning program, allowing parishioners to add FOREVER VALUE through a planned bequest.

We are deeply grateful to our anonymous donor. Because of this generosity we have opened up a new chapter in parish stewardship, and we look forward to more great stories and successes.

This is how I often characterize the work of the foundation: “We act as a partner, MATCHING generous donors with effective Catholic ministry.” We look forward with gratitude to continuing our mission.

For more information, call (408) 995-5219 or visit cfoscc.org.