CHARLOTTE — The Diocese of Charlotte Foundation recently reached the milestone of $40 million in assets.
The foundation, established in 1994, provides a means for people and organizations to provide long-term financial stability for the diocese and its more than 181 churches, schools, agencies and organizations.
Over the past 24 years, the foundation has grown to encompass 246 endowments that total $40,773,550 in assets as of Dec. 31, 2016.
An endowment is a permanent fund, the principal of which is never touched, but the income from which can be used in accordance with the wishes of the donor organization or individual. Endowments provide a way to generate income and help sustain the long-term strength and viability of the diocese and its parishes, schools, agencies and ministries.
“Surpassing $40 million in assets means the diocese and its many parishes, schools and ministries will receive more income that will be used to change lives and ultimately bring people closer to Jesus,” said Jim Kelley, diocesan director of development.
Those who make a planned gift to the diocese or any of its parishes, schools, ministries or agencies become members of the Catholic Heritage Society. The society is the diocese’s way of honoring the Christian generosity of Catholic friends who are providing for the future of the Church in western North Carolina.
The Catholic Heritage Society is comprised of more than 900 people in the diocese, many of whom are leaving gifts to the foundation in their wills.
The foundation sends reports out to all these endowment holders every quarter stating where their endowment stands and how much is available to distribute. As a rule, the foundation makes available 5 percent of a rolling three-year average value of its total assets. Since 1994, the foundation has distributed more than $7 million to the diocese and its parishes, schools and ministries.
One recent endowment bequeathed to St. Barnabas Church was received through the generosity of Dennis and Mary Kushler, who quietly left the parish a $3.6 million endowment after their deaths. It is the single largest estate gift in the history of the Catholic Church in North Carolina.
The Kushlers’ endowment will provide the parish with an estimated $175,000 annual income initially, and it will grow over time. It is a general purpose endowment, so the money can be used to help in whatever way the parish decides.
“We are finding more and more people in the diocese are remembering the Church in their estates. Many of them are establishing endowments in the foundation, where their gifts can have a lasting impact. Gifts made once in an endowment continue to give forever.”
— SueAnn Howell, Senior reporter