by Mary Ellen Mahoney
Many parents throughout our Diocese thank God every day for the wonderful education their children receive at our Catholic elementary schools. The exceptional teaching, moral development and passion for community service are hallmarks of our Diocesan schools and appreciated by many. This gratitude is shared by Loretta and Colin Rice, parishioners of St. Joseph Church, Willimantic who sent their 3 boys and 1 daughter to St. Mary – St. Joseph School in Willimantic. Married for 47 years this coming August and residents of Lebanon, the Rices have always placed their faith and children’s education at the center of their family. Colin and Loretta commented, “ We appreciated our Catholic education, reinforcing the values we learned at home. We wanted that same support for our 4 children when we raised them. Fortunately, St. Mary - St. Joseph School was there to fulfill our wish.”
This Spring, Colin and Loretta decided to make a permanent commitment to St. Mary – St. Joseph School by establishing an endowment within the Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Norwich, Inc. for the benefit of the school. The Colin and Loretta Rice Endowment Fund is the Rices’ way of helping to ensure that St. Mary- St. Joseph School will continue to be able to provide area children with the fine Catholic education that their four children, Keith, Nancy, Christopher and Colin Reggie received. Establishing an endowment was not easy but well worth it for Colin and Loretta, “It took many years to build an endowment. But we persisted and now we can be sure our support for SMSJ will continue into the future...” As an endowment, the fund will live on in perpetuity, with its earnings being distributed to St. Mary- St. Joseph School on an annual basis.
Speaking on behalf of Bishop Michael R. Cote and the Board of Directors of the Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Norwich, Angela Arnold, Executive Director of The Catholic Foundation, happily confirmed that on March 17, 2017, the Catholic Foundation entered into an agreement with Colin and Loretta Rice establishing the Colin and Loretta Rice Endowment Fund for the benefit of St. Mary – St. Joseph Church. Angela Arnold shared her own personal insight when she commented, “ I am so thrilled that the Rices have chosen to support St. Mary- St. Joseph School through an endowment with the Catholic Foundation. Personally, I received a Catholic education and was able to give my daughter the same wonderful experience. The Rices’ commitment will help more children to receive a Catholic education as well.”
Abby Demars, Principal of St. Mary- St. Joseph School is extremely thankful that the Rices chose to support St. Mary- St. Joseph School in such a generous and permanent way, “The timing of this gift could not be any better as it provides us a cornerstone for our development work. In January, our new School Board began development work in earnest as part of the 3-year Strategic Plan we are putting together with the assistance of Catholic School Management. It is thanks to people like Colin and Loretta that we are able to put our plan into action where we serve a multicultural community providing students with a Christcentered education in the tradition of the Roman Catholic Church.”
The Colin and Loretta Rice Endowment is the Catholic Foundation’s 23rd endowment. Since its inception in 1998, the Catholic Foundation has provided a place where both individuals and parishes may invest their money in the form of an endowment and thereby provide ongoing support for organizations and people within our Diocese. First envisioned by Bishop Daniel Hart, the Catholic Foundation‘s mission is to provide a mechanism for the establishment of endowments to benefit the Diocese of Norwich and its parishes, schools, agencies and organizations. The Foundation, through its Board of Directors, invests the assets and distributes earnings according to the wishes of the donors, in accordance with its Spending Policy. The establishment of endowments provides greater financial stability and growth for our Diocese and its organizations.
Many private individuals have established endowments within the Catholic Foundation to support their special interests. Most recently, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Lynch established the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Endowment. Just prior to that, Jacqueline Keller, former Diocesan Director of Communications established the Margaret L. Keller Catholic Charities Heritage Endowment, in honor of her mother, to support Catholic Charities. Each year, the earnings of this endowment will be used to assist single mothers break the cycle of dependence by continuing their education. Others have established endowments to help their favorite Catholic school in the form of tuition scholarships. For example, the William F. Jr. and Flora L. O’Neil Scholarship Fund disburses tuition assistance to two St. Bernard School students each year. There are a number of ways people may structure their endowments. An endowment may be set up to support more than one organization. For instance, The Eugene and Anne O’Neill Endowment Fund divides its earnings each year to provide funds to both St. James Church, Danielson and Mercy High School.
The Catholic Foundation’s first endowment was the Bishop Daniel A. Hart Fund for the Homeless. This endowment provides support to a variety of organizations in the Diocese that assist people in need by providing food, emergency needs, and other social, educational, and spiritual assistance. In June 2016, the Bishop Daniel A. Hart Fund for the Homeless made monetary grants totaling $8,945.00 to St. Vincent de Paul Place, Norwich; Catholic Charities, Middletown, New London, Willimantic and Norwich and St. Vincent de Paul, Norwich.
Each year the Catholic Foundation hosts an Awards Dinner to which it invites all the recipients of its yearly grants as well as the donors who have established endowments within the Foundation.
This year’s dinner is expected to bring together close to 300 people with many children and families who receive tuition assistance from the Foundation attending. Over the past 16 years, the Foundation has disbursed over 3.4 million dollars of assistance.
In order to continue its mission, the Foundation continues to work with people and organizations within the Diocese to establish more endowments. If interested in doing so, please contact Mary Ellen Mahoney, Development Manager at (860) 886-1928 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the alternative, if one would like to support the Foundation but not establish an endowment, individual donations are also accepted by the Foundation for any of its endowments.