The Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced yesterday that it has transferred its charitable activities to a private foundation called the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia.
The new foundation will operate independently of the Archdiocese but will serve as its main charitable arm. It will solicit donors and provide funding for established archdiocesan organizations and programming, as well as new projects.
The foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)3 with board members from multiple sectors, including regional businesses, universities and cultural institutions. The Archdiocese will provide no funding to the foundation.
This break with the old charitable model follows a similar move made last year when the Archdiocese formed the Faith in the Future Foundation, which now manages 17 archdiocesan high schools and four schools of special education.
The Archdiocese is also in the midst of working towards financial sustainability, a process that has led to the closure of multiple churches and church facilities. But delegating services to third parties is not only a way for the Archdiocese to scale down.
It is also being touted as a way to modernize and improve the Archdiocese’s charitable activities.
Bob Evans, founder and president of EHL Consulting, a consultancy firm for charities and nonprofits, told Generocity that he applauds the decision. “The Archdiocese is really attempting to contemporize its fundraising efforts,” he said.
Specifically, Evans commends the Catholic Foundation’s use of donor advised funds, which are charitable funds that allow donors to have some say over where they would like their funds to go. “They are going to donors and saying ‘what do you want to fund?’ instead of coming to donors and saying we need you to fund projects A, B, C or D.”
With religious giving declining, according to the Giving USA 2013 report, charities are using donor advised funds to appeal to donors.
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“The adjustments that are taking place at the Archdiocese are a reflection of donors speaking out in a positive way,” Evans said.-30-
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