Story originally written for the 2020 Catholic Foundation Annual Report
Father Nathan Hall is the pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Roseland, NE, as well as a teacher at St. Cecilia High School in Hastings, NE. In addition to physics, he teaches morality at St. Cecilia and describes it as a subject very close to his heart. Father Hall strives to emphasize the importance of learning the teachings of the Church and keeping them close to one’s heart.
Father Hall opted to work with The Catholic Foundation of Southern Nebraska to set up an endowment for his parish after one of his parishioners approached him with an offer to buy a small piece of land owned by the parish. Father Hall realized this money could generate income and wanted to do something more than have it sit in savings. Knowing The Catholic Foundation could offer assistance, he contacted the Foundation to see what they would suggest doing with the newfound funds.
The parish already had enough in savings to cover daily operations. This financial stability influenced the decision for the land sale proceeds to be invested for the parish’s future. Unlike some other small towns, Roseland is growing, and Father Hall wanted to make sure the parish could handle future growth. He believed an endowment was the answer to make sure the parish was set up for the future. “Stability is the best investment,” he said.
“The mentality to give may need to be retaught,” Father said, “This is something we are beginning to see in many churches, so this endowment benefits our parish by giving us the stability to reteach this mentality to parishioners.” Father also says it is essential to teach upcoming generations about the importance of tithing as part of their Catholic faith, and that having funds put away gives his parish time to teach about tithing and building foundations.
Thus, the purpose of the endowment is to allow for future stability. According to Father Hall, “We are in a stable time, so I wanted to make sure pastors, parishioners, and parish councils in the future have this resource they can draw from.”
Fortunately, The Catholic Foundation of Southern Nebraska was able to help Father Hall through the entirety of the process. “I didn’t know how to sell the property or what route to take,” he said, “The Catholic Foundation helped by giving suggestions and putting me in contact with a realtor and a lawyer to help me get the property appraised and sold. They really held us by the hand and put us in contact with the right people to help.”
What is the process you went through to set up this endowment with The Catholic Foundation?
“The process was easy. I reached out to The Catholic Foundation, and they used knowledge and professionalism to walk me through the process. The Foundation helped me form a solid plan on what to do with this extra income even though I had little knowledge or experience in the subject. It was quick, simple, and painless.”
What are the benefits of working with The Catholic Foundation?
“Where to begin? The Catholic Foundation has all the contacts we needed to go through the process of selling this piece of property and were able to walk us through the entire process smoothly. The Foundation helps you with what you know you need help with, as well as aspects you didn’t know you needed help with. The Foundation enables you to understand exactly what you want and need and helps you word your questions better than you can. They help make you aware of different aspects you may not be aware of already and correct those blind spots. The Foundation has the presentation ability – they will help you figure out exactly what your parish or family needs.”
Why set up this endowment rather than putting the money in a savings account?
“A savings account is much more accessible at a lower return. Our parish didn’t need immediate accessibility of funds. Having the money in an endowment means it isn’t as accessible, allowing for a higher return rate.”
What advice would you give to someone who is considering working with the Foundation?
“The Catholic Foundation knows what they are doing. I believe every pastor should consider working with them to start an endowment for their parish. They understand that priests are often super busy, but they are still good at communicating on all fronts and understanding when they need to put more effort into getting information.
The Catholic Foundation is flexible and works hard to make sure they work around your schedule. They can take the answers you have for these questions and turn it into a lot of progress when it comes to your endowment. I am always impressed by how small answers have a big outcome with the work the Foundation does. Working with The Catholic Foundation is completely worth it and easy!”