Today, we are pleased to introduce an opportunity for eligible parishes to receive limited financial support from Foundations in Faith. Foundations in Faith, which supports pastoral ministries in the Diocese of Bridgeport, has launched the St. Francis Xavier Fund for Mission Parishes thanks to a significant initial donation intended to support our vital, but financially challenged parishes with improvement projects.
As a result of the recent events related to the cancellation of public masses because of the threat from the COVID-19 pandemic, certain funds in the St. Francis Xavier Fund are now available to provide short-term relief for certain parishes experiencing cash illiquidity problems due to the pandemic. These funds would be issued as grants to support basic operating expenses. While there are limited funds available for this emergency effort, we are hopeful that we will be able to provide some level of support to all those Parishes who demonstrate immediate need.
To the point of helping parishes hit hardest by this COVID-19 crisis, I also invite you as pastors to encourage any of your interested donors to become a part of the support of both this Emergency Fund and the ongoing work of the St Francis Xavier Mission Parish Fund. I hope that this critical launch of the Emergency Fund will encourage others to participate in this effort.
For a parish to be considered for such assistance, it must meet all of the criteria for eligibility listed below and will be required to submit an application to Foundations in Faith, to be vetted and recommended for action by the St. Francis Xavier Fund Committee of the Foundations in Faith Board of Trustees. The Committee will assume the responsibility of overseeing the distribution of grants from the Fund.
Criteria for eligibility:
1. Parish must have less than $100,000 in available reserves. Moneys held in permanently or temporarily restricted accounts are not counted in this total, since they are not available to assist a parish’s immediate cash liquidity needs.
2. Application will be made to assist in meeting the parish’s ordinary financial obligations for a given month. A renewal of any application will be required if the parish seeks cash assistance beyond one month’s time.
3. The application must include the parish’s ordinary expenses for the month, including its diocesan financial obligations (including any self-insurance and cathedraticum payments due that month), and the revenue it expects to raise during that month, in order to quantify and specify the assistance that it seeks.
Proposed Application Process
1. All parishes seeking emergency financial assistance must first email Mike Hanlon, CFO at MHanlon@diobpt.org of the Diocese expressing interest in submitting a grant application for funding. Without the review and approval of the CFO, the pastor may not submit the application for a grant to the Board of Foundations in Faith.
2. The parish will need to demonstrate a good faith effort that it is (i) engaging its parishioners in fundraising efforts during this time for example establishing an online giving platform and (ii) pursuing other grant or reimbursable loan opportunities, such as the CARE Act options presented to the parishes last week.
Once a parish has been approved by the CFO to proceed, the applicant will receive the electronic Emergency Fund application from Foundations in Faith which should be submitted, with specified documentation as required, to Kelly Weldon, Director of Foundations in Faith. Applications will be presented to the Saint Francis Xavier Fund for Mission Parishes Committee for review and approval.
This is yet another opportunity for managing these challenging times. I am so grateful for the generosity and willingness of our diocesan donors to assist each of our ministries in this time of great need, particularly when so many others are suffering and experiencing need as well.
Should you have any questions on this program or the application process, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on my cell (203) 856-4855.