By Jenelyn Russo     3/17/2017


John McKinney hails from a grain and food crops farm in Parsons, Kansas, in the southeast part of the state. After spending his younger years growing up among oats, wheat and cattle, McKinney traded the farming life for a career in electronics, and eventually, the aerospace industry.

After earning his masters degree from Kansas State University, he and his bride, Brenda, headed west to Orange County, where the couple settled in Anaheim. There, McKinney began a long working relationship with North American Aviation, which, after several mergers and acquisitions, eventually became Boeing North American.

Working in aerospace in Southern California brought McKinney opportunities to be a part of several high-profile projects, such as the GPS on the space shuttle guidance system. He retired from the industry in 1996.

Born into the Catholic Church, McKinney was largely influenced in his faith by his mother, Gertrude, who passed away in January 2017 shortly after her 100th birthday. Grateful for her commitment to raising him and his seven siblings in the Catholic faith, McKinney developed his own life-long commitment to Catholicism.

“She joined the Catholic Church when I was about four or five years old, and she immersed herself in the church,” says McKinney of his mother. “She always had us study our catechism, and was the one who taught us the prayers. I feel fortunate to have been born in the Catholic faith.”

Shortly after moving to Orange County, McKinney and his wife began attending St. Anthony Claret Catholic Church in Anaheim, where the couple’s three children also attended school.

After Brenda passed away in 2011 from a form of leukemia, McKinney met his current wife, Lyn, while on a trip to Israel. Bishop Vann married the couple in 2015 at Holy Family Cathedral in Orange. They enjoy square dancing several times a week at local clubs.

When the Diocese of Orange was in the process of acquiring the former Crystal Cathedral, it was a move that McKinney supported.

“It was on my mind long before they got it,” says McKinney of the property. “I just knew it would be a real blessing.”

McKinney has translated his support of the Christ Cathedral campus into annual donations to the capital campaign to renovate the widely recognizable building into a Catholic worship space. He makes these donations to the Orange Catholic Foundation through a giving option called Charitable IRA Rollover.

“There are many other options available to support the diocese beyond just cash or check,” says Cynthia Bobruk, executive director and president of the Orange Catholic Foundation. “Utilizing an IRA-rollover vehicle can provide several tax-planning benefits.”

For parishioners who have IRAs and are over age 70½, taking a minimum distribution each year is required, and for some, taking those distributions may trigger a taxable event. For a number of years, legislation authorizing this form of charitable giving was temporary and in limbo. But the legislation is now permanent, allowing individuals who desire to use an IRA-rollover to give up to $100,000 per year ($200,000 per couple) to the Orange Catholic Foundation.

Giving to the Orange Catholic Foundation through this option can be done either through a one-time donation annually or through several donations made over the calendar year. Funds can be directed to an endowment, capital project, campaign, parish or school of the donor’s choice.

In addition to supporting the capital campaign for the renovation of Christ Cathedral, McKinney directs his funds through the Charitable IRA Rollover option to St. Anthony Claret Catholic Church as well as the Pastoral Services Appeal (PSA) in support of the ministries of the Diocese of Orange.

“I feel the Christ Cathedral building is a unique and timeless structure,” says McKinney, “and I want to see the Catholic Church there be a resounding success.”


For more information on charitable IRA rollover giving, visit orangecatholicfoundation.org/how-to-give, or contact the Orange Catholic Foundation at (714) 282-3021 or at [email protected].

Always consult your own tax or financial advisors.

Neither the author nor this organization is engaged in rendering legal or tax advice. Rather, this publication is intended to provide only information of a general character. For advice in specific cases, the services of an attorney or other professional advisor should be obtained.