Frequently Asked Questions

+ What is the relationship between The Catholic Foundation of North Georgia
and the Archdiocese of Atlanta?

The Catholic Foundation of North Georgia is a separately incorporated public charity established to serve the Catholic community in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

+ How is the Catholic Foundation governed?

The Catholic Foundation of North Georgia is governed by the Board of Directors. The Archbishop and the Vicar General are members of the Board. Other members include business leaders and pastors.

+ What geographical area is served by the Catholic Foundation?

The Catholic Foundation serves the geographic area defined by the Archdiocese of Atlanta. However, we will work with individuals from outside the area who wish to support an entity in the Archdiocese. Also, grants from donor-advised funds may go to entities beyond the boundaries of the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

+ Can the Archdiocese ever access funds from our endowment?

The Archdiocese is unable to access the funds from endowments established at the Catholic Foundation. The Catholic Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors and is separately incorporated. All endowment funds are established with endowment agreements developed by legal counsel to ensure the funds' protection and status as endowments. The Catholic Foundation retains all donor records to support the endowment agreements and to document the intent of the donors to the funds.

+ How are the Catholic Foundation's operations costs paid?

Like all nonprofits, the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia must determine how to support its annual operating costs. However, unlike most other nonprofits, the Catholic Foundation spends much of its fundraising time helping parishes, schools, Catholic charities, and other nonprofits raise funds for endowments, particularly through planned giving.

The Catholic Foundation charges administrative fees against each fund, from which the investment consultant's fees are also paid. The Foundation receives a small subsidy from the Archdiocese of Atlanta for providing the planned giving services and conducts a small annual fund campaign with board members, volunteers and others. We also provide support for the Catholic Foundation's operations each year from our unrestricted funds. The Catholic Foundation is working to build its own operating endowment to support operations.

+ Does the Catholic Foundation charge a fee for its services?

The Catholic Foundation does not charge a fee for any of the services in working with parishioners, parishes, schools, or nonprofits. All planned giving services are provided for free.

Administrative fees are charged against each endowment and donor advised fund in accordance with the fee schedule.

+ Where is the Catholic Foundation's office?

The Catholic Foundation of North Georgia is located in the corporate offices of the Havertys Corporation, which donates the space to The Catholic Foundation. We are located at 780 Johnson Ferry Road, in the eight-story glass building at the corner of Glenridge and Johnson Ferry. All visitors to the Catholic Foundation must first check in to the Havertys reception desk on the 8th floor. Staff members are happy to visit interested persons throughout the Archdiocese.

+ Why should I work with The Catholic Foundation?

The Catholic Foundation is here to serve the parishes, schools, nonprofits, and most importantly, the parishioners in North Georgia. We work with Catholics of all income levels to help them fulfill their personal wishes for leaving a legacy. The staff members of the Catholic Foundation approach their work with understanding and a sense of ministry. We want to help you make your charitable intentions known and fulfilled.

+ Will someone from the Catholic Foundation speak at my church group?

The Catholic Foundation is pleased to provide speakers for parishes, schools, and nonprofits. We speak to groups of all sizes, and also are happy to develop seminars on various topics for the targeted groups.

Questions About Endowments

+ What is an endowment?

An endowment is a fund that is generally intended to exist in perpetuity, and therefore it is to be managed with the objective of providing a permanent source of income or gains to support its designated purpose. Gifts to endowment funds are not spent, but are protected forever as the "principal" or "corpus" of the fund. The Board of Directors is responsible for establishing investment policies and spending policies which protect the endowments so that earnings from the funds will support the donors' intentions forever. In establishing such policies, the Board is guided by the standards set forth in the Georgia Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act, also known as UPMIFA.

+ What is the difference between an endowment and an operating reserve or maintenance reserve
or savings account?

Operating reserves, maintenance reserves, and savings accounts all function in similar fashion. When needed, any or all of those reserves or savings can be used for the purpose intended. Endowment funds are intended to last into perpetuity. Therefore, the fund is "not wholly expendable by the institution on a current basis." UPMIFA governs how the endowments can be spent, primarily through the creation of spending policies by a board of directors which provide for only a portion of the income or growth to be spent.

+ Why should I consider an endowment rather than an outright gift?

Outright gifts and endowment gifts are both important and valuable donations to parishes, schools, Catholic Charities, archdiocesan ministries, and other nonprofit organizations. Outright gifts will help meet the current needs of the organization at the time of the gift. Endowment gifts are intended to meet the future needs of the organization, providing recurring support into perpetuity. Your intention as a donor is the primary reason to choose one over the other.

+ How much do I need to establish an endowment? How much do I need to give to a fund
that was already established?

The minimum requirement to establish an endowment fund is $5,000. There is no minimum amount required for making a gift to an already established endowment fund. We welcome gifts of any size.

+ Who gives to endowment funds?

Individuals who are closely involved with a parish or school or nonprofit will give to their endowment funds. Prime candidates for gifts to endowments are long-time pastors and staff, members of boards, parish councils, and finance councils. Those who have a deep connection to a school or parish either by volunteering or raising a family there often give legacy gifts. Church members or volunteers with no children also give to endowments. It can be difficult to predict who will find the endowment option attractive. Many are often surprised when they learn who has made a significant gift to an endowment fund.

+ Can I give anonymously?

Yes! Please be sure to discuss your desire for anonymity with the Foundation staff.

Questions About Giving to the Catholic Foundation

+ Do I need to be wealthy to work with the Catholic Foundation? Is there a minimum
dollar amount I need to have to work with the Catholic Foundation?

No, you do not need to be wealthy to work with the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia. The Catholic Foundation will work with anyone who wants to support the community, regardless of personal wealth. There is no minimum dollar amount. Most people have assets they can leave to the church at death, regardless of the wealth they have had during their lifetime. People of wealth will also find that the Catholic Foundation is here to serve their charitable intentions.

+ Can I honor my family name or the name of a priest, deacon, nun or brother with a fund or a gift?

The Catholic Foundation is the perfect place to honor someone special with a gift now and in perpetuity by establishing a named fund. It only takes $5,000 to begin a named fund. When it reaches $25,000, it will generate distributions for the intended beneficiary.

+ When I make a gift to the Catholic Foundation, can I choose whom it will help?

Yes, donors designate which funds receive their gifts and which organizations are the beneficiaries of funds, provided the organizations are eligible according to the policies of the Catholic Foundation.

+ Do I have to be Catholic to have a relationship with the Catholic Foundation?

No, you do not have to be Catholic to have a relationship with the Catholic Foundation. We welcome your interest. It is important to be aware, however, that gifts and grants must be in accordance with our policies that conform to Catholic teachings.

+ Can I include other organizations besides the Catholic Foundation in my arrangements?

Yes, you can help other organizations in addition to the Catholic Foundation in your estate plans.

+ Do I need a lawyer or financial planner if I work with you?

Please contact us even if you do not have a lawyer or financial planner. We can help you determine if you need a professional advisor, and possibly help you find one. The Catholic Foundation does not provide legal, tax, or financial planning advice. We assist you with your plans to leave a legacy and will work with your professional advisors to provide the best overall service for you.

+ Will the Catholic Foundation be the executor of my estate?

In order to prevent conflicts of interest, neither the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia, nor its staff or board members are permitted to serve as an executor of your estate. We will, however, help you determine who can serve as the executor.

+ What does planned giving or gift planning mean?

Planned giving generally involves making a plan to leave assets to a nonprofit organization in your estate. It has evolved to also include making plans for giving certain kinds of assets during your lifetime. Planned giving professionals help donors determine how and when to make a gift of assets that supports their charitable intentions while ensuring that the families" needs are being met.

+ Can I make a gift now, or do I need to leave one at my death?

We welcome gifts now, and we welcome gifts from your estate. You can do one or the other or both.

+ If I establish a donor-advised fund or an endowment, can I recommend gifts to organizations
that are not Catholic or not in the geographical area of the Archdiocese?

Gifts can be recommended from donor-advised funds to organizations that are not Catholic or not in the geographical area of the Archdiocese as long as they are in accord with Catholic teaching and eligible according to the law. Endowments may also be established to benefit charitable organizations that are not Catholic or not located in the Archdiocese. All donors are encouraged, however, to provide the majority of their giving to Catholic entities in the Archdiocese.

+ Can I donate personal property like my car, my home, my farm, a diamond ring?

The Catholic Foundation does accept some types of real and personal property, particularly real estate. We do not accept cars, time shares, or cemetery plots. Please contact The Catholic Foundation to determine what is eligible for donation. All gifts of personal property require a due diligence process before we can agree to accept the gift.

+ Do I get a tax deduction by making an endowed gift?

Gifts to the Catholic Foundation are tax-deductible under Section 170(c) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, in accordance with IRS regulations. The Catholic Foundation provides written acknowledgment of all charitable donations.

Questions About the Spending Policy for Endowment Distributions

+ What is the spending policy of the Catholic Foundation?

The spending policy, established by the Board of Directors, encourages the growth of new endowment funds, protects them as a permanent source of income or gains, and ensures distributions from endowment funds in changing economic cycles. The current spending policy is 4% of a rolling twenty-quarter average of the market value of the fund. Funds established by individuals are eligible for distributions when the funds reach $25,000 in market value; funds established by organizations must reach $50,000.

+ Who determines how much money the endowment beneficiaries receive each year?
When is the money available to the beneficiaries?

Distribution eligibility is determined once per year, based on the December 31th market values of the endowment funds. The Catholic Foundation staff will determine eligibility amounts and notify the beneficiary organizations.

+ Is the fund required to give a distribution each year? Does the beneficiary have to
receive a disbursement each year?

Not all funds are eligible to receive distributions each year. If a fund is not eligible to make a distribution according to the spending policy, a distribution will not be made. For those which are eligible, the beneficiaries are not required to receive a distribution. They may waive the distribution to further grow the fund.

Questions About the Investments

+ Are funds invested in a manner in keeping with the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church?

The Catholic Foundation of North Georgia is pleased that it has grown to a size sufficient to follow "The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Socially Responsible Investment Guidelines" for the majority of the investments. The Catholic Foundation has invested in accordance with the guidelines to the fullest extent possible within the investment strategies.

+ Who manages the investments of the Catholic Foundation funds?

The Board of Directors of the Catholic Foundation, in particular its Finance and Investment Committee, is responsible for overseeing the investment management of the endowment funds. The Catholic Foundation hires the investment consultant who helps the Finance and Investment Committee determine the investment policy, asset allocation strategies, and appropriate investment fund managers. SunTrust Bank serves as the Custodian for the Catholic Foundation's assets.

+ When I make a gift to the Catholic Foundation, can I tell you how I want it to be invested?

Currently, the Catholic Foundation provides those who establish funds two asset allocation strategies: our long-term strategy and our conservative strategy. You have the option of recommending a move between strategies, for which a fee is charged, but all funds at the Foundation are invested in one of those two strategies.

Questions About Organization Endowment Funds

+ Can nonprofits, parishes, or schools establish a fund relationship with the Catholic Foundation?

The Catholic Foundation seeks to help nonprofits, parishes, and schools establish endowment funds at the Catholic Foundation. We will work with you to promote and grow the fund by facilitating planned gifts.

+ When an organization establishes an endowment with the Catholic Foundation who owns it?

The majority of the funds established at the Catholic Foundation are owned by the Catholic Foundation and the beneficiary receives the distributions. There is an option for archdiocesan entities to set up a custodial account with the Catholic Foundation for up to five years and still maintain ownership during that time.

+ Should all organizations have an endowment?

Organizations that are new and do not have a developed donor base may not be ready for an endowment. Organizations that are in a financial crisis need to focus their fundraising efforts on achieving financial stability for their operational costs. Organizations which have a long history of good services and community support will benefit from providing an endowment option for their donors.

+ What happens if the organization has an emergency and needs the money in an endowment?

Endowment funds should not be considered available for emergency needs unless the amounts needed are within the Foundation's endowment spending policy's approved annual spending limit. All organizations should have separate reserve funds to provide for such emergencies. UPMIFA allows for distributions from an endowment if the Foundation determines it to be prudent, and provides for guidelines as to what prudent means. If an organization with an endowment fund at The Catholic Foundation is in an emergency situation, the leaders will need to contact The Catholic Foundation to begin the process to determine if a distribution would be considered prudent at this time. The final decision regarding any distribution which is outside the Foundation's spending policy will be made by the Foundation's Board.