Nicholas Degel

Born and raised in a small Montana town as the second oldest in a family of 15, Nicholas Degel’s Catholic faith had always been an essential part of his life. He credited this to his parents who sacrificed in order to send their children to Catholic schools. He was an altar boy for many years and attended a Benedictine Monastery Boarding School. “These experiences strengthened my faith, and I am blessed and thankful for that,” he shared. 

A dedicated volunteer who served as a board member and treasurer of several nonprofits, Nick lived the virtue of charity and had a deep desire to leave a legacy which would allow the ministries in his heart to continue their good work. “It is comforting to know that when I am no longer here, I will have left an inheritance that will continue to benefit a ministry that is close to my heart,” he highlighted. “I would encourage everyone to consider a planned gift that will continue beyond themselves to bear witness to a generous purpose that is dear to them.” 

Nick, a long-time parishioner of St. James, knew that establishing an endowment for the Catholic church in Central Florida was something he wanted to do. However, he had not decided on a designated purpose until The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida invited him to visit the St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary with Bishop Noonan and a group of fellow Corpus Christi Society members. The seminarians joined them for Mass, lunch, afternoon prayers and a tour of the seminary with small groups guided by the seminarians. 

“During the visit with the seminarians, I was touched by their dedication to Christ and His church, their sincere friendliness, and generosity with their visitors,” he recalled. “These seminarians and new priests are vital to Christ’s Church on earth and, as Catholics, we are blessed with their commitment to His priesthood.” Shortly after his visit, Nick decided to dedicate his endowment to providing support for the Diocese of Orlando seminarians. 

Nick’s original plan was to fund his endowment through his estate plan. However, he realized that there were some tax advantages to pre-funding the endowment, and he decided to establish the Degel Family Fund for Seminarians in 2019 through annual qualified charitable distributions from an IRA. 

“I encourage others to consider this pre-funding strategy after consulting with The Foundation and tax advisor. I can attest to the joy of seeing donations fulfill their intended purpose during one’s lifetime.” 

Nick was able to see the fruits of his generosity for several years before his passing on May 6, 2023. His full vision for the Degel Family Endowment Fund for Seminaries has now been realized as his fund was the beneficiary of the IRA and will provide impactful annual distributions for the formation of seminarians in our diocese in perpetuity.    

If you are interested in learning more about how you can make a lasting impact on your favorite ministry through an Endowment Fund, please contact Madelyn Weed, CFRE, CAP at or (407) 246-7188

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