February 2, 2023 “Don’t wait for opportunity, create it.” – George Bernard Shaw St. Matthew in Bellevue is growing. The parish has 800 registered families, up 200 in the last two years. Leadership launched a $1.4 million capital campaign to build a new sanctuary and ended up raising $2.4 million. With the new church completed in 2020, it was time to address the needs of the grade school. St. Matthew inherited the former Cardinal Spellman school when the military turned the care of its elementary school over to the Bellevue parish in the mid-90s. The building dates to the 1960s. Not only does St. Matthew elementary need necessary updates, but it also needs more space. Two classrooms per grade, STEM labs, an art room and cafeteria refurbishing are among the priorities. Enter Catholic Futures Foundation (CFF). Rick Holdcroft, long time parishioner at St. Matthew and past parish council president, says they opted for an endowment over a second capital campaign for a few reasons. First, back-to-back capital campaigns stress parishioners’ resources, not to mention their patience. Second, “endowment funds are important because they build on themselves,” says Rick. Therefore, an endowment was established to provide perpetual support for the school. The fund is managed by CFF. Now nearly two years old, the endowed fund is fed by individual donations and monies raised at the annual Mardi Gras fundraiser. It is promoted to the entire parish through bulletin notices and special giving envelopes at the church entrance, as well as to school families. Rick says establishing the endowment fund was simple and has been very “comfortable with the handling of the money” by professional financial advisors. Further, transparency is clear; monthly reports provided by CFF keep St. Matthew’s financial committee current on how the fund is performing (which is, thankfully, well). Considering establishing a fund through CFF? Rick has this advice: decide upfront about how you’ll use the endowment, whether it is for short-term, immediate project needs; long-term holding for fund growth; or both. No matter what you decide, CFF makes fund creation “no hassle,” he says. For more information about CFF, contact Bonnie Nebuda in the Stewardship and Development Office.