Frequently Asked Questions
What is The Foundation for the Diocese of Helena, Inc.?
The Foundation for the Diocese of Helena, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in 1978. The Foundation exists:
– To promote, expand and strengthen the Roman Catholic Church in the Diocese of Helena.
– To support and assist, financially or in any other manner, the religious, education, charitable and medical institutions or programs operated by or under the auspices of the Catholic Diocese of Helena.
– To promote Roman Catholic doctrines, evangelism, Christian education and missionary work within the Diocese of Helena, and help support that work undertaken by the Diocese elsewhere in this nation and world.
– To assist worthy men and women in pursuit of studies and vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Who governs the Foundation?
A Board of Trustees governs all operations of the Foundation. The Board is made up of lay and religious leaders who have demonstrated their concern and caring for the church, who are widely respected and geographically representative of our diocese, and who are known to have the skills necessary to oversee an organization that receives, invests and distributes funds on behalf of the programs and services of the Diocese of Helena.
Who handles the Foundation’s investments?
The Board engages professional money managers with proven track records of successful investing to help manage the endowed funds of the Foundation. Currently, the Foundation works with Wells Fargo Wealth Management and The Investment Group, both in Helena. The Finance Committee closely monitors investment activity to insure the best possible service and results that benefit our Diocese.
Does the Foundation have investment policies?
Yes. The Board has adopted comprehensive and theologically sensitive policies and guidelines to regulate its investments. Summaries of these policies are made available upon request.
Why should I consider an endowment over an outright gift?
Many people believe that endowments are only for very wealthy people and big institutions like universities. In fact, an endowment is for anyone who wishes their favorite charities to benefit forever. With an endowment, the gift stays permanently invested, while an annual distribution or grant from its earnings is made to support the charities designated forever.
Can I pick who I want to benefit from my gift?
Yes. The distributions of funds are always exclusively and only as directed by the donors, as long as falls within the mission of the Foundation.
How are endowments established within the Foundation?
Donors are encouraged to add to the one of the primary endowment funds of the Foundation. However, a donor, parish, school or other diocesan organization that is considering the creation of an endowment other than those listed should:
– Clearly establish and state the purpose which the endowment will serve.
– Declare who will be the recipient(s) of income from the endowment.
– Decide what initial resources will be contributed to establish the endowment.
– Declare a contingency or alternate beneficiary should the original purpose for which the endowment was established cease to exist.
– Declare any restrictions to be placed on utilization of income gained from investments of the endowment.
What is the minimum initial contribution for an endowment?
There is no minimum contribution required to establish an endowment. However, there will be no distribution of earnings gained by a particular endowment fund until the basis of that fund exceeds $5,000. Until the fund reaches $5,000, all earnings are invested into the principal of the fund. The Board reserves the right to set a higher minimum basis for distribution as is beneficial to the operations of the Foundation.
What if the entity or purpose for which an endowment was established ceases to exist?
If a contingency or alternative purpose is declared by the donor at time of funding the endowment, the future distributions from the endowment will be made in keeping with that purpose. If no alternate purpose is declared, the fund will be distributed to a successor decided by the Board of Trustees on the basis of use that most closely follows the donor’s original intent.
How permanent is an endowment?
All resources placed into an endowment are, in effect, no longer available for use by the establishing donor, parish or organization. Only the earnings from these resources will be distributed in keeping with the declared purpose. When a particular fund is set up or contributed to, the establishing donor, parish or organization and all of its constituents must fully understand and appreciate the benefits of this feature of Endowment.