The Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia (CFGP) is officially eight years old! Since 2013, we’ve been working to grow philanthropy according to the teachings of Jesus Christ for all ministries of the Church in Philadelphia.
In celebration of our birthday, I’d like to share some of my fondest memories and proudest moments since the foundation first opened its doors. It’s been an incredible experience watching this brand-new nonprofit take shape, and I feel very fortunate to have been a part of it.
Several of my favorite moments at CFGP have been when all of our staff has volunteered or fundraised as a group. We started doing this in 2018, and since then have either volunteered in person or hosted fundraisers for food, Christmas presents and essential items that we then donated to local Catholic organizations and ministries. These community projects allow us to have a deeper connection with our brothers and sisters in need and truly live out our mission.
We’ve volunteered with St. John’s Hospice serving food and distributing toiletries to men in need, purchased, wrapped and distributed gifts to the children supported through the Archbishop’s Benefit for Children, and more. Although COVID prevented us from any in-person volunteering last year, we’re looking forward to getting back out there as a team soon.
CFGP has also led many projects, events and community initiatives over the last eight years that have truly made a difference. One particularly special event that first took shape in 2016 is our annual Women in Philanthropy Forum. This event brings together women from all across the nonprofit sector – donors and development professionals. It provides an opportunity for them not only to network but discuss important topics and current events that impact all of us, allowing them to find and work toward a common philanthropic goal.
Last year, with the support of Archbishop Pérez, we were blessed to be given the opportunity to participate in the nationwide #iGiveCatholic initiative for the first time. We had 101 organizations from across the Archdiocese of Philadelphia participate, and a total of $1.1 million was raised. We’re looking forward to the continued success of #iGiveCatholic in 2021!
As a community foundation, granting is also a large part of what we do. And each time we award these grants, we’re humbled and reminded of just how much CFGP is fulfilling its mission. Some of these grants have included support for the Fellowship for Catholic University Students (FOCUS), Providence Center, Mother of Mercy House, the Culture Project and most recently, the Young Catholic Professionals – Philadelphia chapter.
However, these are just a few of the many parishes, schools and nonprofit organizations we’ve been able to help thanks to consistent, generous support from our donors. We are incredibly grateful and couldn’t do any of this without them.
Perhaps most importantly, our team developed three crucial initiatives that addressed community needs after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, all of which are still at work today. First, we established the Emergency Relief Fund (ERF), which addresses emergency needs within our community. However, this fund’s primary focus over the last year has been raising funds to distribute food and essential needs items to the Family Service Centers of Catholic Social Services of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. To date, the ERF has raised nearly $300,000.
Our second initiative was the establishment of the Parish Support Initiative, which stepped in as an additional stream of income for parishes across the archdiocese during the temporary suspension of public Mass. Today, this initiative provides an avenue of online giving that many parishes did not previously have, helping them grow and sustain their income. To date, the Parish Support Initiative has raised nearly $335,000 for the 134 participating parishes.
Lastly, we launched the Moving Forward: Parish Stewardship Renewal in partnership with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. This opportunity allowed parishes to participate in a customized and individualized offertory restoration and enhancement project to address both the short and long-term effects of COVID-19 on parish offertories.
In the fall of 2020, we launched the first phase of the opportunity that provided restoration of offertories. Twenty-five parishes participated in this first phase and a total of $1.6 million was raised. We are currently in our spring phase of this opportunity which is focused on enhancement of offertories. We are confident this second phase will be fruitful for all participating parishes.
Finally, at the core of our mission, we work to grow philanthropy through charitable fund management and nonprofit consulting. In our eight years of operation, we’ve established 114 charitable funds that support specific organizations and causes, and have helped nearly 100 Catholic ministries fundraise for their mission through our development consulting services – totaling over $115 million.
I am so proud of the work that CFGP has been able to accomplish over the last eight years, and most grateful to all who made it possible, such as our founding board members, many of whom still serve today. Their support and dedication to our mission is unparalleled.
We also couldn’t do any of this without our talented and dedicated team members, who also make working at CFGP such a pleasure. And of course, the faithful of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who believe so strongly in our mission. Without their support, none of these projects, initiatives and grants would ever touch the lives of the people who need them most. We are incredibly grateful to each of them.
We are so blessed to have the opportunity to carry out the mission of CFGP. We’re looking forward to our continued growth and many impactful years ahead!
Sarah Hanley is the president and CEO of the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia. To learn more, visit TheCFGP.org or call 215-587-5650.
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