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The Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie established The Catholic Foundation in 2007 through the vision of Bishop Emeritus Donald W. Trautman. Today, the ­tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization continues its mission through the support of the current bishop of the diocese, The Most ­Reverend Lawrence T. Persico.

The diocese supports 90 ministries—everything from counseling to food pantries—throughout the 13 counties of northwest Pennsylvania. The goal of The Catholic Foundation is to bring people of vision together with those ministries. Donors support vital needs through endowments that have been established to support Catholic Charities, clergy health and welfare (specifically for ­retirement years), evangelization, and Catholic education. The foundation also addresses the needs of parishes, schools, and Catholic organizations.

“We connect generous donors with the most basic needs of our communities and our people,” says Dr. Emma Lee McCloskey, president of The Catholic Foundation.

Partnering with The Catholic Foundation also means investing in socially ­responsible funds.

“We get a great return on the investments and that helps us accomplish long-term growth for making a difference in people’s lives,” McCloskey says.

Many generous donors have left ­lasting legacies through their gifts. Dr. Barbara Behan, a retired faculty member and administrator at Mercyhurst University, established the ­Immaculate Heart of Mary Education Endowment Fund before her passing to help children and families benefit from Catholic education. The John and ­Barbara Jacquel Endowment Fund for Our Lady of Mercy Church strengthens small Christian communities, religious ­education, and other parish ministries. “Their gifting is a personal and powerful expression of faith, hope, and love,” McCloskey says.

The Catholic Foundation welcomes people of all faiths interested in contributing to a growing endowment.

“We work one-on-one with people to help their dreams come true,” says McCloskey. “We are Spirit-led, faith-empowered people looking to build upon our passions and provide opportunities now and into the future.”

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