The Catholic faith is embedded into the city of Santa Ana, and John Heffernan’s family played an instrumental role in the expansion and growth of multiple Catholic parishes, schools and ministries.
The generosity The Orange Catholic Foundation’s board member witnessed growing up shaped the way he lives his life today.
As a young boy, Heffernan attended St. Anne Catholic School in Santa Ana. Now, he is giving back to the same place where his Catholic education started.
“This school is a real beacon for the community,” he said. “They needed help, I could provide a little bit of help and I was enriched.”
Heffernan explained how he visits the school and reads to its third-grade students.
“Something as a lawyer, I don’t do,” he added.
“It’s a very personal involvement with those students, on that campus, on those streets that I grew up with. It’s a reach to the past, a reach to the present, which was very important to me. It’s what my parents and grandparents did a long time ago, and it seems like I should fulfill that.”
The spirit of giving all started with Heffernan’s grandparents, Antone and Anna Borchard, who had their family home and farming property donated to the Church after their passing. The land is now the retreat center for the Sisters of The Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The generosity continued on with his parents, Bernice (Borchard) and Thomas Heffernan. They were large benefactors and leaders at St. Anne Catholic Church and School, Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish and School, and Mater Dei High School. Years later, Borchard family funds supported the construction of the Library and Science Education buildings at Santa Margarita High School.
While preserving his family legacy, Heffernan is also helping some newer traditions take root in Orange County. He volunteers his time and drives clothes, shoes, blankets and cleaning supplies to the asylum seekers in Mexicali, which is supported by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Los Angeles. Heffernan calls this a compliment to St. Anne Church and School because “it is a poor parish collecting for asylum folks who have nothing.”
The donation efforts are spreading across Orange County. Parishioners at Our Lady Queen of Angels in Newport Beach hosted a jacket drive, and Catholic Charities of Orange County donated a load of clothes.
Heffernan emphasized, “The more involved you are, the more you consider that there is a lot of poor people, who are very nearby, and who you can help in very primary ways.”
One of the many ways you can help is by stewarding your God-given blessings. Much like the Borchards, offering gifts of land, appreciated stocks or securities, or an IRA charitable rollover, help avoid capital gains taxes while leaving a profound legacy. The Orange Catholic Foundation would like to help you have a greater impact on the Catholic causes you care most about by providing expert philanthropic advice. For more information, please call (714) 282-3021 or email [email protected].