Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

On behalf of the board and staff of The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, Happy New Year! The beginning of a new year brings the time-honored tradition of making resolutions – intentions to do or not do something.  These resolutions focus on where we are presently and ways we believe we can improve our future selves or our lives. Research shows more than 60% of us make resolutions and sadly only about 8% are successful.

As Catholics, we celebrate the Solemnity of the Baptism of Our Lord early in the new year. This is a beautiful feast for us to start the new year. Baptism is a sign of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit. Perhaps, rather than focusing on our present and something we want in the future, we can improve results of a better self and life by being retrospective and focusing on where we came from and whose we are?

Our own baptism includes incidents of Christ’s baptism. At our Lord’s baptism, the heavens opened up, the Holy Spirit descended upon our Lord and the Father proclaimed Him to be His ‘Beloved Son’. In our baptism, heaven is opened up to us, we are born of water and the Holy Spirit and we become the adopted sons and daughters of God.

At our baptism we become a member of Christ who is Priest, Prophet and King. As members we are called to participate in the priestly, prophetic and kingly mission of Christ. Our priestly role can be carried out in our service to others, to the Church and in our work. Our prophetic role is carried out in our conversations and our lives as we share the Good News of Christ our Savior. Our kingly role is carried out in our families and communities where we fight opposition to God and rule according to God’s will.

At The Catholic Foundation, our goals for the new year are initiatives in our strategic plan. Our plan evolved from a renewal process which took us back to the synod which created our organization, reviewed timeless principles we started with, gathered stakeholder feedback and was defined through collaborative efforts with our board, staff and chancery partners.

We start this new year, several months into an annual initiative walking with 11 parishes focusing on deepening faith through stewardship.  We are grateful for our donors through our pastors’ efforts for reaching the 2019 Our Catholic Appeal goal supporting every parish, school and ministry in our diocesan community and our team is preparing for the launch of the 2020 appeal.  Our new Donor Advised Funds have inspired giving and we are able to serve others with a growing list of diocesan and national entities and non-profits which are compliant with our Catholic social teaching. Our campaign directors are helping several parishes achieve their campaign goals and preparing for ones to start later in the year. Our investment team is engaging with parish finance councils to answer questions about reserve and endowment funds and supporting those with growing existing funds. Our donor services team is helping donors reach their philanthropic goals through charitable tools and new initiatives such as Picture Your Legacy and Reflections of Faith Dinners. We are also supporting our Catholic schools with an educational series on advancement. Our Board of Directors installed a new Chairman, Tom Chandler, and we welcome a new board member, Dave Dennis.

Our board and our team, in partnership with our chancery partners, are responding to the call of being  witnesses for charity. Similar to philanthropy which is the love of humankind, charity is the love of others for the love of God. St. Augustine advises us that charity is the primary theological virtue and St. Paul reminds us of this too in his letter to the Corinthians. In our Eucharistic Prayer, our priests call upon the Lord to bring our Church to the fullness of charity. The Lord uses us, with our God-given talents and blessings, to accomplish this.

For 2020, we wish for you a renewal and we invite you to join with us in serving our Lord as witnesses of charity.

Your servant in Christ,

Kimberlee Riley
President & CEO

After Jesus was baptized, he came up from the water and behold, the heavens were opened for him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
-Mathew 3:16-17

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