Stewards for Tomorrow / Archdiocese of Detroit Endowment Foundation

Nearly 25 years ago, 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. Investment income from the endowment continues to provide important annual financial support for Catholic school students, seminarians, students preparing for lay ministry, and others.

Concluding in 1995, Stewards for Tomorrow was a great success. Parishioners contributed more than $84.5 million. Through the campaign formula, parishes retained $19.3 million of that total, and the archdiocesan endowment fund was created with $65.2 million in campaign gifts.

As of June 30, 2018, the foundation distributed more than $72.3 million in 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 2018, the endowment had a total asset value of $146.6 million, of which $66.6 million is in parish and school endowment accounts.

Stewards for Tomorrow and the endowment are among the brightest chapters in our 300-year archdiocesan history and serve as recent 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 results.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does the archdiocesan endowment work?

The Archdiocese of Detroit Endowment Foundation operates an endowment fund, in which the principal is invested in a diverse portfolio of assets. These investments produce an annual return. Through a formula specified in the Stewards for Tomorrow campaign, specific programs and services receive an annual distribution from those investment returns.

The foundation's current policy is to annually distribute 3 percent of the fund's 3-year average principal balance. In other words, the foundation averages the endowment's 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 have been reinvested in the endowment's principal to ensure that the fund continues to grow. In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, foundation investments earned a 10.55 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:

  • The majority of the annual fund distribution, 62.5 percent, provides tuition assistance grants for Catholic students at Catholic K-12 schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit.
  • 6.25 percent of the annual fund distribution goes to Sacred Heart Major Seminary.
  • 6.25 percent of distributions provides educational opportunities for those engaged in youth and family ministry as well as directors of religious education.
  • 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, 2018, Archbishop Vigneron made a total of $825,023 in distributions to help support 20 different Catholic organizations including St. Aloysius Church, Loyola High School, Senior Clergy Village, Guest House, PIME Missionaries, The Michigan Catholic Newspaper, the Catholic Youth Organization and Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan.

What has been allocated to those areas since the endowment was established?

Since its inception, and through the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the foundation 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?

More than 71,000 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, 2018 audited financial report for the Detroit archdiocese, the endowment's total asset value is $146.6 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 its 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 ensure 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 to take advantage of the archdiocese's larger investment pool and professional fund management.

As of the foundation's most recent audited financial report (June 30, 2018), 77 parishes, schools and organizations had funds in the archdiocesan endowment.

The value of these special funds was over $66 million, which is part of the endowment's $146.6 million total asset value.

Who qualifies for the Catholic schools’ tuition assistance?

Tuition assistance grants are available to support Catholic children attending Catholic schools in the Detroit archdiocese. 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 similar to applying for college financial aid. A third-party administrator manages the application process under contract with the Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Office.

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 would be 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 foundation 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 foundation and advise Archbishop Vigneron on foundation policies.

The archdiocesan Finance Council manages archdiocesan endowment investments, assisted by CapTrust, an investment consulting firm. Endowment investments are presently 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 March 31, 2018 are denoted in the chart below:

One Year

Three Year

Five Year

Ten 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 2018
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