By Bob Reddy (Florida Catholic)
At its core, the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida Inc. exists to ensure that the good work of the Catholic Church in Southwest Florida continues to have an impact beyond tomorrow, next year and even the next decade.
Developing relationships to have a lasting legacy, the Foundation works closely with donors who have a passion for their Faith and want that passion to last long into the future.
To help increase the visibility of the Foundation a new executive director was recently brought on board. Barbara Caldwell joins the Foundation after holding a variety of Executive Director positions for non-profit organizations. She brings more than 25 years of experience in management, finance, development and marketing. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, she has settled in Sarasota recently moving from DeForest, Wisc., with her husband, Jack.
â€śThe goal of the Foundation is to create a permanent Catholic legacy for the Diocesan community by continuing the great work of people who had the vision to establish the Foundation and invest in its good work,â€ť Caldwell said.
The Foundation serves as a resource for donors to assist in reaching their charitable goals, Caldwell added. This is done by working to properly manage these assets by upholding Catholic values and applying business practices which ensure a stellar performance, compared to other financial indexes, while still having socially responsible investments.
Set up in 2002 for people who were interested and dedicated to the future of the Diocese of Venice, the Foundation works differently than parish collections or the annual Catholic Faith Appeal. Gifts to the Foundation do not pay this yearâ€™s bills; rather they ensure that the parish, school or program will continue to serve Godâ€™s people in 10, 25, 50, 100 or more years into the future.
The Foundation works closely with schools and parishes to help educate people on the long-term benefits of significant gifts that address future needs while not competing for the same dollars. This is done to support of existing development offices and efforts at all levels.
â€śWe are not in competition,â€ť Caldwell explained. â€śIn fact, we offer direct support to parishes and schools, with the goal of creating the greatest benefit from each gift.â€ť
Caldwellâ€™s early focus will be reminding the faithful about the good work of the Foundation and in letting those same people know about the different opportunities for investing in the future of the Diocese.
â€śMany people donâ€™t know about the Foundation or its goals,â€ť she explained. â€śMy job is to promote the Foundation and encourage people to make a long-term investment in their Catholic Faith.â€ť
Examples of Foundation investments include the Coseglia Scholarship. It established as part of the dream of Frank and Florence Coseglia who wanted their financial support for deserving Catholic High School graduates pursuing college degrees to continue for centuries to come. They sought the help of the Catholic Community Foundation to establish an endowment to make that dream a reality. â€śThat is just one of many examples of a lasting gift that will make a difference well into the future,â€ť Caldwell said.
The mission of the Foundation is to secure, administer and invest gifts – especially endowed gifts – for any and all of the individual parishes, and the religious, charitable and educational institutions of the Church in Southwest Florida.
The Foundation has a Board of Directors, comprised of professionals in finance and business, who monitor the investment of gifts. This management is designed to increase the return on those investments, allowing the donorsâ€™ gift to go further.
Gifts the faithful can make with the Foundation include investment securities, life insurance, royalties, bequests from wills, and other investments.
Caldwell explained that while there are a number of ways people provide gifts to the Foundation, a growing trend is to make donations during the donorâ€™s lifetime. The gift then has an immediate impact, and the donor has the joy of seeing the fruits of their generosity.
Donors may make a targeted or restricted gift â€“ which is a clear investment based on donor intent. The impact of such a gift is primarily based on the size of the gift. If the gift is large enough, the impact of that gift be felt immediately, Caldwell explained.
For those who are not clear where they want their gift to be invested, Caldwell said she will work closely with donors to help them place their money into endowments that meet their personal preference, either through the establishment of a new fund or supporting an existing fund.
Building upon a strong base, Caldwell said the future is bright for the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida.
For more information about the Catholic Community Foundation of Southwest Florida please visit www.dioceseofvenice.org and click on Organizations, or contact Executive Director Barbara Caldwell at 941-441-1124 or Caldwell@dioceseofvenice.org.