The Orange Catholic Foundation continues to help support the Diocese, now and into the future

By Larry Urish     9/12/2019

Now that Christ Cathedral has been officially dedicated, some think our work is done. In reality the hard work carries on. The For Christ Forever campaign – administered by the Orange Catholic Foundation, the fundraising arm of the Diocese – raised more than $127 million to renovate the cathedral, and the organization continues to support the Diocese in countless other ways.  

Although the campaign has ended, we must remember that it takes millions of dollars to maintain and grow our thriving Diocese. However, the afterglow following the cathedral’s dedication may blind us to the fact that these expenses aren’t going away. Knowing this, the Orange Catholic Foundation continues to work with generous parishioners and organizations to raise, administer and grow funds that support every aspect of our Catholic community.  

“We’ve been doing a lot of things that people aren’t aware of, because of the focus that the two major campaigns have been getting,” says Sue Nunn, the Orange Catholic Foundation’s executive director.  

The Foundation administered only two funds when it was created in 2000. “It was established by Bishop [Tod] Brown,” Nunn says. “Each school had its own endowment fund held at the Diocese and Bishop Brown wanted to preserve these funds with a focus on long-term growth.” 

Nunn adds that Bishop Brown envisioned the new Foundation providing support for all bequests and charitable trusts, and the administration of the yearly Pastoral Services Appeal (the second major campaign) was transferred to the Foundation.  

By this time, the Foundation had grown to administer 40 funds, and as of August there are now 114 funds. They include more than 43 school and parish endowment funds; a variety of scholarship funds, both endowed and non-endowed; non-endowed special interest funds; endowments named after individual donors and organizations; and many more. 

And the Foundation is now promoting a number of its programs that will provide financial support to the Diocese and our Catholic community, now and long into the future, by building engagement.  

For example, “The Foundation’s Stewardship Initiative has promoted Christian Stewardship in all parishes for over 10 years and helps parish leadership develop a year-long plan that engages parishioners more fully into the life of the parish. The results are greater hospitality, increased ministry participation with an outcome of enhanced generosity out of a spirit of gratitude.”  Nunn says. “We provide a process that helps each parishioner become more aware of their own giftedness, which translates to increased engagement and support and a more vibrant parish life overall.”   

The Foundation has held Wills and Trust Sessions since 2011. “Some families want their legacy to point to their parish life,” Nunn says. “We help them figure that out. Thus far, more than 150 sessions have attracted some 6,500 attendees.” They’re offered, in both English and Spanish, on the third week of May and October at parishes throughout the Diocese. 

“With our Creative Giving Sessions, we visit parishes and talk about the various assets that parishioners may have,” Nunn says. She notes that there are ways to give that may never have occurred to parishioners. “These sessions focus on ways to give that benefit both the church and themselves.” 

A new program, Catholic Women in Philanthropy and Leadership, will focus on Catholic women’s needs and issues. Members will work together to help Catholic charitable groups in need of additional funding. It will be open to all women throughout the county’s Catholic community. 

Nunn notes another key function carried out by the Orange Catholic Foundation: “We administer estates and trusts throughout the Diocese.” That way, she says, parishes can focus on what they do best and leave the financial and legal details to the Foundation.  

“We’re here to help individuals and families connect with the ways of giving that make sense to them, to respond to God’s love and involvement in our lives.