Frequently Asked Questions
 
What is a diocesan foundation?
 
A diocesan foundation is a charitable, non-profit corporation that solicits, receives, invests and distributes financial resources to support the general religious, educational and charitable purposes of the Church.   Because it is an endowment fund, it maintains and invests the fund principal and distributes only the interest earned among member funds each year.
 
How is The Catholic Foundation of West Michigan (CFWM) managed?
 
CFWM is governed by a board of trustees that includes the bishop, the vicar general and the chancellor of the diocese. In addition, the trustees have established an advisory board comprised of lay and religious leaders appointed by the bishop. Advisory board members are respected members of the Catholic community who have the skills necessary to oversee an organization that is a major source of revenue for diocesan and parish programs and services.
 
Who manages CFWM’s investments?
 
The Investment Committee, a standing committee comprised of board members with relevant background, experience and interests, oversees CFWM investments and closely monitors investment activity to assure the best possible results and service.
 
What are CFWM’s investment policies?
 
All assets of CFWM are placed into an endowment fund, held in trust by CFWM, and are no longer available for use by the donor or organization. These assets are pooled with other diocesan funds and managed by strict guidelines within the Michigan Catholic Conference and governed by their Socially Responsible Investment Pool Guidelines.
 
 
What types of gifts will CFWM accept?
 
CFWM will consider any gift that is not in conflict with CFWM policies, guidelines and bylaws. This includes traditional gifts such as cash, stocks and bonds, or non-traditional gifts such as real estate, objects d’art, and collectibles. Certain unusual gift offers may require review by the CFWM board before being accepted.
In addition to outright gifts, donors are encouraged to designate planned and deferred gifts to CFWM through the following methods:
◾Bequest
◾Life insurance policy
◾Charitable Gift Annuity
◾Retirement plan
◾Life income agreement
 
How is CFWM promoted?
 
Information about CFWM is disseminated through specialized programs designed to attract gifts to CFWM. For example, the parish wills awareness and estate planning seminars include a segment devoted to The Catholic Foundation of West Michigan (CFWM) as a worthy beneficiary of lifetime gifts, charitable bequests and other planned and deferred gifts.
 
In addition, CFWM distributes professionally designed materials throughout the diocese and uses all appropriate advertising media. Diocesan organizations and institutions are urged to spread the word about the importance and merits of CFWM among their constituents.
Upon request, CFWM will assist in the preparation of sample printed materials for local organizations and institutions to use in promoting their own endowment funds within CFWM.
 
How does The Catholic Foundation of West Michigan (CFWM) complement other foundations already established within the diocese?
 
The Catholic organizations within the diocese, including established foundations, are invited to participate in CFWM, under the policies noted above. It is CFWM’s goal to provide significant advantages for investing, promoting, managing and attracting funds in order to build CFWM as a dynamic, effective means of securing the financial future of the diocese and all of its programs.
 
How is CFWM different from the Diocesan Deposit and Loan Program?
 
The Diocesan Deposit and Loan Program acts as a bank for parishes.  It holds primarily short-term funds (parish reserves and savings) and lends funds to parishes to finance parish capital needs (building, renovation and major capital expenditures) at generally lower than market rates. 
 
The Catholic Foundation of West Michigan is a separate and distinct entity that holds funds to support both current and long-term needs of parishes, schools and diocesan ministries, on a permanent basis.  The principal or corpus of these funds is retained by CFWM in perpetuity.  Only investment income is distributed to the participating parish, school or ministry.