In the midst of the second wave of COVID-19 infections, the Priority Grants program from the Catholic United Financial Foundation is providing help to over 10,000 Catholic students.
This year especially, the need for technology assistance has been higher than ever. According to Foundation Executive Director Bob Heuermann, the pandemic has increased demand for basic technology needs. “Every school has needed more Wi-Fi routers, more tablets to send home. They’ve needed just basic things they never thought they’d need before. With the hybrid learning and the distance learning, technology is playing a huge part right now,” Heuermann said.
Since the beginning of November, the Foundation has awarded $53,643 to 102 schools and parishes for technology assistance or chastity and abstinence education.
“Most of the schools we work with often are small rural schools,” Heuermann says. “They’re the schools that are struggling to grow the number of students and because of that, they have to put a lot of their resources into the most basic needs. So even a small grant from us can make a huge difference.”
Organizations can apply for a Priority Grant at any time during the year. Applications are reviewed by the Foundation board and grants are distributed twice a year, in the fall and early spring.
These grants are funded by donors who contribute to the Foundation’s Priority Fund, which receives direct donations from individuals, as well as from the Foundation’s annual golf tournament. One of the biggest benefits by far for donors is the enormous percentage of their gift that actually goes toward the desired outcome. Over 99 percent of donated funds go to the intended recipient. The Foundation is able to do this because of its unique relationship with Catholic United Financial, which absorbs many of the Foundation’s administrative costs.
“Catholic education has been the bedrock of our Catholic faith for many generations!” Catholic United Financial President Mike Ahles said. “But Catholic schools sometimes have a tough time making ends meet, especially when it comes to investment in technology. That’s where our Foundation can really help them.”
As chair of the Foundation board and president of the Association, Ahles said he spends a lot of time with teachers and principals who have benefitted from the Foundation’s support.
“They just love us,” Ahles said. “They know that we’re very, very passionate about our faith; they know we’re passionate about what a Catholic school means to our faith. We know at Catholic United that by investing in Catholic education we’re investing not only in the future of our organization, but also in the future of our faith.”
Members and individuals who support these funds and the Foundation should be singularly proud of the enormous contribution they’ve made to the Roman Catholic faith. Almost all of our support comes from small donors and careful planning. Many normal families have discovered that even with $10 or $20 a month, they can structure charitable gifts through the Foundation to leverage even modest contributions into hundreds of thousands of dollars. For people who care deeply about their faith and the institutions that raise the next generation of Catholics, there may be no better way to give.
Applications for the next round of Foundation grants are being accepted now. If you want to be a part of this cycle of generosity, contact the Foundation about making a donation this Christmas, or about taking a big-picture look at how you can make a huge impact with whatever you can spare.
Heuermann says every bit helps, because regardless of the vehicle – whether it’s grants to seminarians, funding for the disaster response team or these critical gifts to outpost Catholic schools throughout the region – costs are only going up, and people’s resources aren’t necessarily keeping pace. It’s one of the Foundation’s goals to increase the size of the gifts they are able to dole out, because the need is always growing, Heuermann says.
“There’s never a year when these schools need less than they needed the year before.”
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Neither Catholic United Financial nor the Catholic United Financial Foundation is permitted to provide tax or legal advice. The information provided here is based on our understanding of the laws and regulations currently in effect. You should consult your tax preparer or tax attorney to see if you qualify for these programs and if they are appropriate for your specific tax situation.