Stewards for Tomorrow / Archdiocese of Detroit Endowment Foundation

In the early 1990s, parishioners throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit responded to a call to create an income-producing, perpetual endowment for the Archdiocese. Launched in 1993, the Stewards for Tomorrow fundraising campaign established the Archdiocese of Detroit Endowment Foundation, in 1994. The campaign concluded in 1995 as a great success, with parishioners generously contributing more than $84.4 million.

Through the campaign formula, parishes retained $19.3 million of that total and the Archdiocese of Detroit Endowment Foundation was created with $65.2 million in campaign gifts. Investment income from this Endowment continues to provide important annual financial support for Catholic school students, seminarians, students preparing for lay ministry, youth and family ministry education, and others.

As of June 30, 2019, the Endowment distributed more than $78 million for a variety of purposes, including: thousands of tuition assistance grants to Catholic K-12 school students; support to Sacred Heart Major Seminary; financial aid for the education of catechetical instructors; youth and family ministry; and support for seminarians and other Catholic organizations. As of June 2019, the Endowment had a total asset value of $153.2 million, of which $68.7 million is in parish and school endowment accounts.

Thanks to God’s abundant goodness and the vision of many, the Archdiocese of Detroit Endowment Foundation achieved a milestone in October 2019, reaching 25 years. Stewards for Tomorrow and the resulting Endowment are among the brightest chapters in our 300-year archdiocesan history, serving as examples of sound planning and good stewardship. Catholics throughout southeast Michigan continue to benefit from the foresight, generosity and professional management that made possible this uplifting legacy of giving. The Detroit Catholic chronicles this milestone here.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Archdiocese of Detroit Endowment Foundation work?

Principal from the Endowment is invested in a diverse portfolio of assets; these investments then produce an annual return. Through a formula specified during the Stewards for Tomorrow campaign, specific programs and services receive an annual distribution from these investment returns.

The Endowment’s policy is to annually distribute 4 percent of the fund’s three-year average principal balance. In other words, the Endowment averages the principal balance for the three preceding fiscal years and distributes 4 percent of that average amount to specified programs and services. In extraordinary circumstances, an additional distribution may be made.

In most years, a portion of the annual investment returns has been reinvested in the principal, to ensure that the Endowment continues to grow. In the 2018-2019 fiscal year, Endowment investments earned a 9.01 percent return.

What programs and services receive Endowment funding?

As specified in the Stewards for Tomorrow campaign, the annual distribution of funds from the Endowment is allocated as follows:

  • Most of the annual distribution, 62.5 percent, provides tuition assistance grants for Catholic students at Catholic K-12 schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit.
  • Sacred Heart Major Seminary receives 6.25 percent of the annual distribution.
  • Another 6.25 percent of distributions provides educational opportunities for those engaged in youth and family ministry, as well as directors of religious education.
  • The final 25 percent of distributions are directed to the Archbishop's Stewardship Fund, a discretionary benevolent fund that enables the Detroit Archdiocese to support individuals and organizations that the Archbishop deems appropriate. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, Archbishop Vigneron made a total of $839,741 in distributions to help support 18 different Catholic organizations, including St. Aloysius Church, Loyola High School, Senior Clergy Village, Guest House, PIME Missionaries and the Catholic Youth Organization.

What has been allocated to the above four areas since the Endowment was established?

Since its inception, and through the 2018-2019 fiscal year, the Endowment has distributed the following:

Catholic School Tuition Assistance


Sacred Heart Major Seminary


Youth and Family Ministry Education


Archbishop's Stewardship Fund




Who received the tuition assistance?

Nearly 75,000 Catholic primary and secondary school students in southeast Michigan have received tuition assistance grants since 1995.

How much is currently in the Endowment?

According to the June 30, 2019 audited financial report for the Archdiocese, the Endowment's total asset value is $153.2 million.

Has the Archdiocese ever tapped the endowment to support the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., the former St. John's Seminary, to pay for lawsuits, or for any purposes other than those for which those funds were established?

No. Archdiocesan Endowment funds have been used exclusively for the purposes set forth in the Endowment’s bylaws, specifically to provide tuition support in Catholic schools in southeast Michigan, to support Sacred Heart Major Seminary, to assist those engaged in youth and family ministry training, and to support the Archbishop's Stewardship Fund.

Archbishop Vigneron, as well as the priests and lay leaders involved in the stewardship of archdiocesan financial resources, are firmly committed to ensuring the Endowment remains segregated from other accounts in the archdiocese.

Do any parishes or schools invest their funds in the archdiocesan Endowment?

Many parishes, schools and other Catholic organizations have established their own funds within the archdiocesan Endowment, in order to take advantage of the Archdiocese's larger investment pool and professional fund management.

As of the Endowment’s most recent audited financial report (June 30, 2019), 77 parishes, schools and organizations had funds in the archdiocesan Endowment. The value of these special funds was more than $68.7 million, which is part of the endowment's $153.2 million total asset value.

What is the difference between the Archdiocese of Detroit Endowment Foundation and the Sent on Mission fundraising initiative?

The Stewards for Tomorrow campaign and resulting Archdiocese of Detroit Endowment Foundation were created primarily to support existing Archdiocese of Detroit ministries, including Catholic school students, seminarians, students preparing for lay ministry, youth and family ministry education. The campaign concluded after two years as a great success, with tens of millions raised through the generosity of the faithful. In the years since, almost $80 million has been distributed in support of these important ministries.

Sent on Mission is about renewal. This new journey reflects God’s call for us to transform the Archdiocese of Detroit from an organization focused on maintenance into a band of joyful missionary disciples committed to the Church’s ancient mission of sharing the Good News of Christ in our communities. As the second phase of our movement to Unleash the Gospel in southeast Michigan, Sent on Mission is about re-founding our parishes so that everything we do — how we pray, how we minister, how we serve — leads us to be more effective witnesses to the Gospel. To do this, parishes will create unique Missionary Strategic Plans with bold, actionable and concrete ideas for how to re-focus all parish activity and efforts towards evangelization.

To help obtain resources to activate these plans, and to help fund other initiatives that will benefit parishes, schools and all the faithful in southeast Michigan, a fundraising effort began in late 2019 at nine Partner Parishes who volunteered to complete their Missionary Strategic Plans first.

Parishes will keep more than half of the money raised to fund the complete renewal of their communities toward mission. The other portion of the funds will be used to support renewal activities at the archdiocesan level, including implementing a new vision for Catholic schools that reestablishes Catholic education in southeast Michigan as the responsibility of all the faithful and commits to ensuring our schools are proudly Catholic, academically excellent, accessible to all and sustainable well into the future.

What is the difference between The Catholic Foundation of Michigan and the Archdiocese of Detroit Endowment Foundation?
The Archdiocese of Detroit Endowment Foundation is a Michigan nonprofit corporation established to receive assets from parishes, Catholic schools and other Catholic organizations and ministries. It uses these assets to provide perpetual funding for the benefit of the Archdiocese of Detroit and the people it serves. The Endowment was not created to offer donor-advised funds or endowment accounts to individuals and other entities, and, as a result, did not obtain a separate IRS tax exemption (it is exempt under the Catholic Church’s group ruling) and is not required to file a tax return with the IRS because of its status as an “integrated auxiliary” of the Catholic Church. The Archbishop of Detroit is the sole member of the Endowment, electing and removing its trustees. The assets of the Endowment are invested under the supervision of the Archdiocese of Detroit Finance Council.

Founded in 2016, the Catholic Foundation of Michigan is a lay-led nonprofit organization that inspires faith-filled charitable giving and manages assets to provide perpetual funding for Catholic parishes, schools, ministries, and nonprofit organizations in southeast Michigan long into the future. The Catholic Foundation collects, grows, and distributes funds on behalf of donors and makes it simple for the community to practice Christian philanthropy in accordance with Gospel values and the socially responsible investing principles set forth by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The Foundation has its own separate IRS tax exemption as a public charity and files a separate tax return with the IRS. The Foundation has more than 25 lay members of its board of directors, with the Archbishop of Detroit and the Moderator of the Curia as ex officio board members. Visit to learn more.

What is the relationship between the Catholic Foundation of Michigan and the Archdiocese of Detroit Endowment Foundation?

There is no legal relationship between the two organizations. The Archdiocese has an agreement with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan to receive funds donated to the Sent on Mission Fundraising initiative and is separate from the Endowment Foundation.

Who qualifies for the Catholic schools’ tuition assistance?

Tuition assistance grants are available to support Catholic children attending Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit. Multiple criteria determine eligibility including income and household size.

What is the process for applying for archdiocesan tuition assistance?

Contact the administrative office of any Catholic school in the Archdiocese of Detroit, or access forms and details on the archdiocesan website. The process is like applying for college financial aid. A third-party administrator manages the application process under contract with the Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Department.

How does the Endowment support training for youth and family ministers?

Funds from the Endowment help defray the educational and training costs of religious education and catechetical teachers, as well as pastoral ministers throughout the Archdiocese. This program has increased participation in classes and programs at Sacred Heart Major Seminary.

Lay people seeking to serve as catechists can receive tuition assistance including financial aid for studies at Sacred Heart. For graduate students in theological or pastoral studies at Sacred Heart, this means interest-free loans for up to 50 percent of their tuition. If the student continues to work for the Church after graduation, one-fifth of the loan is forgiven for each year of service. For undergraduate students at Sacred Heart who are currently employed by a parish or Catholic school, grants for up to 75 percent of tuition are available for theological and ministry courses at the Seminary.

The Endowment also provides tuition assistance through pastoral ministry grants to students with financial need who are pursuing youth and family ministry studies at Sacred Heart Major Seminary and other educational institutions approved by the Archdiocese.

Who oversees the Foundation and who manages the endowment funds?

A board of trustees comprised of lay leaders, consecrated religious and clergy govern the Endowment and advise Archbishop Vigneron. The Archdiocesan Finance Council manages Endowment investments, assisted by CapTrust, an investment consulting firm. Endowment investments currently are in a diverse portfolio of domestic equity, international equity, fixed income and alternative asset funds.

How have the investments performed?

The average annual returns through the quarter ended June 30, 2019 are denoted in the chart below:

One Year

Three Year

Five Year

Since Inception





Are endowment funds combined with other accounts in the Archdiocese?

No. The archdiocesan endowment is segregated from all other accounts in the archdiocese.

Posted: October 2019
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