Rev. Mark Beran

St. Augustine Invests in the Next Generation

By Catholic Futures Foundation Office
May 27, 2022

Is your school or parish thinking about establishing an endowment fund? The Catholic Futures Foundation can offer your investment a safe and secure home managed by a team that is dedicated to service, transparency and growth for the future. 

 Thanks to an educational endowment managed by the Catholic Futures Foundation, St. Augustine Indian Mission continues its century long mission of educating Native American students in rural Nebraska. The foresight of school leaders in 1993 has provided  the Mission with a steady and reliable income. And knowing that its investment is well managed by the Catholic Futures Foundation’s team of investors gives its leader, Fr. Mark Beran, a sense of security. 

Tucked into the hills of the northeast corner of Nebraska, the St. Augustine Indian Mission in Winnebago, Neb., has a history dating back to the early 1900s. Its longevity is a testament to those dedicated to educating generations of students in this rural community while carefully managing resources and preparing for the future.

Founded in 1909 by St. Katharine Drexel, the Mission serves approximately 120 kindergarten through eighth-grade students from the Omaha and Winnebago tribes. Ninety-five percent of its students are Native American. The students learn both Winnebago and Omaha languages and about their cultural heritage.  

St. Augustine has had an educational endowment in the Catholic Futures Foundation since 1993 and its director, Rev. Mark Beran, said the school relies on that investment’s soundness to continue to operate. “The income we get from our investment is a safety net for us,” he said. In addition to leading St. Augustine, Fr. Mark serves as pastor at St. Augustine Parish as well as three additional parishes in the area: Our Lady of Fatima in Macy, St. Joseph in Walthill (both on the Omaha reservation) and St. Cornelius in Homer. 

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To have stable financial investments for the future has been an essential strategy for St. Augustine. “We serve the poorest rural communities in the state of Nebraska,” Fr. Mark said. Only about 1 percent of operations are covered by tuition since the school serves so many low-income families. “Our school and our parishes are all about building faith but also breaking the cycle of poverty and having our kids in our school know that they have a future, that there’s hope for them, that they have God-given gifts and talents,” said Fr. Mark. “Being strong financially helps us provide the teachers with the resources they need from technology to books to everything a kid needs to build that brighter future and break that cycle of poverty.”

Fr. Mark said he trusts the Catholic Futures Foundation’s management and appreciates getting regular reports that are clear and concise. “The Foundation is very transparent,” he said. In addition to clear reporting, Fr. Mark believes that the Catholic Futures Foundation manages its investments responsibly with Catholic values at the forefront. “We want a good return and the Catholic Futures Foundation does that for us. We want to make sure the gifts that people give to us are used in good ways and reflect the values that we all uphold. It has been financially smart for us, but it also supports our values. “ 

The school recently completed a capital campaign and has broken ground for a new school. St. Augustine’s student body includes fifth-generation children who will now carry on the tradition of their ancestors in a new facility. “Their grandparents and their great-grandparents were there when St. Katharine Drexel founded the school in 1909 and we want five, and more generations after this to take advantage of the school,” said Fr. Mark. “The investments give us the foundation where we know we can provide quality education for them and build on that in the future.”

“Being strong financially helps us provide the teachers with the resources they need from technology to books to everything a kid needs to build that brighter future and break that cycle of poverty.”

    – Fr. Mark Beran