In February 1989 Archbishop Ignatius Strecker announced the establishment of the Archdiocesan Foundation. The Archdiocesan Foundation was managed by a board of directors consisting of six laymen, Msgr. William T. Curtin and Archbishop Strecker.

The establishment of the Archdiocesan Foundation provided for a new giving opportunity for the people of the Archdiocese. Much like their ancestors who gave to build our parishes and institutions, the people desired a way to give something permanent to their church. A gift to an endowment fund of the Archdiocesan Foundation enabled them to give a permanent gift that would provide income to their parish or the institution of their choice in perpetuity.

The Archdiocesan Foundation grew steadily in its first ten years. In 1989 the Foundation consisted of one parish fund, one high school, a fund for Catholic Charities and one for the St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center. By the end of its fifth year, 18 parishes had established endowment funds, as had two more high schools and three other archdiocesan institutions.

In 1998 the name of the Foundation was changed to “The Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas,” and the funds under management again began to pick up momentum. At this time there were assets on deposit in the amount of just over $3.4 million and there were 24 total endowment funds. It was also at this time that additional investment options were offered to the endowment fund holders. The Board elected to use Christian Brothers Investment Services to manage equity investments for the Foundation. By June 1999 the Foundation had grown to just shy of $8.2 million with the addition of five more funds and successful investment performance.

In November 2000 the Foundation Board began discussions regarding an archdiocesan-wide capital campaign. This campaign would come to be known as A Future Full of Hope. This campaign was a function of the foundation with an eye on securing the financial future of the Church in Northeast Kansas.

A Future Full of Hope kicked off in 2002 and went on to raise close to $50 million dollars for the Archdiocese and its ministries. Four endowments held in the Foundation were created as a result of the campaign. Those four funds were the Catholic Education Foundation Endowment, Lay Ministry Endowment, Catholic Charities Endowment and the Education of Priests & Seminarians Endowment. In addition to these endowments, parishes and other organizations received funding for capital projects.

Building the Kingdom

In 2009 the Catholic Foundation launched the Planned Giving Initiative (PGI) under the direction of Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann to help parishes, schools and Catholic organizations build planned giving into their culture.  This effort has been embraced by several parishes and schools, and more adopt its guidelines every year. In 2009 there were just over 100 people who qualified as Catholic Legacy Society members by notifying the church that they were leaving a gift upon their death. This year that number has grown to more than 600! The ultimate goal of the PGI is to foster a culture of planned giving across the Archdiocese where all practicing Catholics have updated wills that include charitable gifts.

At the close of the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, the Foundation managed more than $86 million in 191 funds (2016-2017 annual report). Strong deposits and significant asset growth, despite difficult market conditions over the past few years, has seen assets more than double since 2010. The real story has been the distributions from these funds. Even with the economic downturn the assets managed by CFNEK and the distributions from them continue to grow. In just the past three years more than $20 million has been distributed from funds managed by CFNEK. This stable and growing income is being endowed from one generation of faith to the next to continue to share the Catholic faith in our communities. You can join this effort by making a gift to an existing fund at CFNEK, starting your own named memorial or scholarship fund, opening a Donor Advised Fund or simply notifying the church today of your legacy gift. Thank you for your support and faith. Pray that all come to know the joy of sharing the gifts entrusted to us by the same Jesus Christ who shares his very essence in the Eucharist through the Church. Help others to know this gift by your gifts that strengthen the parishes, schools, ministries and institutions who carry out the mission of “Complete Joy: Growing as Disciples for Jesus, Making Disciples for Jesus”.