Ronald C. Sullivan Scholarship Fund

A Full Ride To A Bright Future

It took Mercy Cala Avila a minute to register what was told to her as she was in shock and disbelief. Mercy was selected as the 2021 recipient of the Ronald C. Sullivan Scholarship stewarded by The Catholic Foundation. Dan Kurth, VP of Grants and Community Impact visited Mercy at her high school to notify her that she had been awarded the scholarship that would give her $25,000 every year for four years to The Ohio State University. The Ronald C. Sullivan Scholarship Fund was established in August of 2016 and provides scholarship grants to Catholic students who attend or will be attending The Ohio State University and is an active member of Columbus, Ohio parishes St. Andrew, St. Agatha, Our Lady of Victory, or St. Christopher, or have primary residence in Grandview Heights, Marble Cliff, Upper Arlington, and other select areas of Columbus, Ohio. The Catholic Foundation receives over a hundred scholarship applications for the 26 scholarship funds they steward every year. Mercy Cala Avila and her mother, Eldy; grandmother, Nora; younger brother, Rafeal; and cousin-Norma are members of St. Christopher Parish in Grandview, Ohio. Mercy is the first in her family to go to college but certainly will not be the last. Mercy graduated in the Spring of 2021 from Bishop Ready High School and plans on studying International Business with a minor in Chinese at the OSU Fisher College of Business. She has plans of being an immigration lawyer so that she can help give back to her community and help those who are struggling. It is obvious that this is a very close and loving family who is incredibly supportive and proud of Mercy’s accomplishments. Her mother, Eldy, said “This is one of the best things that has happened to me and my family. It takes a huge weight off of me and I am so proud of her.” Mercy is an excellent student with a high GPA and earned the Seal of Biliteracy. The Seal of Biliteracy is an award given by a school, district, or state in recognition of students who have studied and attained proficiency in two or more languages by high school graduation. In addition to her academic performance, Mercy has a wide range of extracurricular activities which include volleyball, track and field, National Honor Society, National Beta Club, Future Business Leaders of America, Bishop Ready Ambassadors, Student Council, Vacation Bible School, Columbus Metropolitan Library Volunteen, St. Christopher’s Summer Festival, Assistant Choir Coordinator, Gospel Road, National Catholic Youth Conference, Diocesan Catholic
Youth Conference, March for Life, and Ohio Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA). Mercy is truly a remarkable young woman with an incredibly bright future. Not only does she have a stellar resume, but a strong Catholic faith. When asked if she had any last thoughts, she said “My family is Catholic, and my faith has always been a big part of our lives. Ever since I was little, we would pray at night and read the bible. I attended Trinity Elementary School and it laid the foundation for my morals and ethics. I got involved with the youth group at St. Christopher and met a lot of great people. My youth minister, Alyce Horwat, has been a huge help and support to me in my faith journey. My experiences with the youth group included traveling to the national youth conferences my freshman and junior year. It’s these experiences that have solidified my faith and have encouraged me to continue growing in my faith even when I leave home.” Mercy’s story is a great example of why scholarship and endowment funds are created. These funds ensure our Catholic legacy and our Catholic future.

If you are interested in opening your own scholarship fund at The Catholic Foundation, contact our VP of development, contact Scott Hartman (614-443-8893, or visit our website at

A Message From Our CEO

loren brown


Dear Friends,

I am so pleased to present to you this Summer edition of Blessings as it highlights many wonderful examples of our faith throughout our Catholic diocese and surrounding community. In another amazing year, over $14.3 million was distributed this past fiscal year ending June 30, 2021. In doing so, I am pleased to say that The Catholic Foundation has now granted over $170 million since inception, all of which provides for the needs throughout the 23-counties in our diocese. Additionally, we experienced $21.7 million in new contributions putting our assets at over $225 million! 


I would like to take a moment to call attention to our St. Martha Giving Circle, affectionately known as The Marthas. The Marthas began in 2015 and is the only women’s giving circle in Ohio that ensures that member activities and those receiving money from the fund, are in alignment with Catholic values and beliefs. The group began because we saw a need. A need for Catholic women to have the opportunity and means to learn about the needs throughout our diocese and how to personally impact those needs. This past year, despite not having any events, they were able to grant the highest amount yet – $50,000! To-date, The Marthas have granted almost $250,000 since 2015 and I encourage everyone reading to learn more about what The Marthas do, who they are, and how you can get involved. 


We are now in our new fiscal year and as I reflect on a year of many challenges, I am inspired and hopeful for a new year full of opportunities and growth. I am so grateful to all of you for your continued support of our Catholic faith through The Catholic Foundation. I encourage you to consider how best to support your parish or Catholic organization, by speaking with one of us at The Foundation. With your help and support, The Catholic Foundation will continue to be a resource for the future of our faith and our diocese.

May God bless you, Loren Brown

The St. Martha Giving Circle Granting

The St. Martha Giving Circle (The Marthas) is excited to announce this year’s grant recipients. Members of The Marthas nominated 24 organizations for consideration. In May they voted and awarded money to the top ten for a total of $50,000 – the highest amount yet! The Marthas have a history of identifying, learning about, and supporting groups doing incredible work in our community. They have granted almost $250,000 to deserving organizations and ministries in our community!

Congratulations to the following grantees:
$10,000 Mommies Matter $7,000 Back In His Arms Again $7,000 OpenDoor $5,000 Women’s Care Center $5,000 Christ Child Society of Columbus $5,000 Joseph’s Coat of Central Ohio $3,000 Pregnancy Decision Health Center (PDHC) $3,000 Cristo Rey Columbus $3,000 Columbus Early Learning Centers $2,000 Bottoms Up Diaper Drive

$ 0
Total Grants Awarded

Don’t Forget!


Martha Open House – Bring A Friend Event: September TBD

Wine with the Bishop – Thursday, November 4

The Marthas gather quarterly throughout the year, to learn about organizations and their needs, and decide together which projects to financially support. There are also opportunities to share ideas, serve with one another, grow deeper in our Catholic faith, socialize, and learn about the ongoing needs in our Diocese.


Interested in joining The Marthas or just want to learn more? Contact Kristin Shuey at 614-443-8893,, or visit for more information.

Executive Committee

New Officers
Please join us to congratulate the following trustees
on their new appointments:

Jennie Wilson from Church of the Resurrection in New Albany as Chair
Joel Oles from Our Lady of Victory in Columbus as Vice-Chair
James Ervin Jr., Esq. from St. Andrew in Upper Arlington as Secretary
William Keller from St. Brigid of Kildare in Dublin as Treasurer

Inspiration Corner

Let’s Honor the Lord with our giving.

“At the end of our life, we shall all be judged by charity.”

– St. John of the Cross

This year, 32 students in the diocese will receive awards from 26 scholarship funds at The Catholic Foundation totaling over $230,000. Scholarships support promising and deserving students by assisting them with the costs of their education. Donors often establish a scholarship to honor or memorialize friends, teachers, family members or other loved ones. Since 2007, The Catholic Foundation has awarded over $1 million in scholarships empowering over 180 young people to continue their academic and vocational studies. With continued generosity of donors who share this dedication to education, the Foundation will continue to support students as they answer God’s call. 


The Foundation has made it easy to apply with a complete listing of available scholarships, qualifications, and applications on its website. The recipients were selected based on criteria established by the donor who created each scholarship.

Greg Franz

Church of the Resurrection

Greg Franz has been a cybersecurity professional for 25 years within the financial, insurance and energy industries. He has worked in various cyber positions at Nationwide Mutual, a Fortune 100 company, for the past 15 years, in areas focused on information risk management consulting, information security, digital forensic and attack & penetration testing. He is a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA). He takes great pride in clearly communicating cybersecurity in a straightforward, easy to understand manner. Greg believes it is important to focus on business growth while ensuring customer and business data is protected through the deployment of sound cyber frameworks. He knows security starts with the associate and has dedicated time to user awareness training.

Jim Flaherty

St. Paul the Apostle

James G. Flaherty has practiced law since 1984 in the areas of Estate Planning; Probate, Business Law; and Real Estate. He has had his own firm in Westerville since 1993. His 35 years of community activities include being active in the local Rotary Club of Westerville Sunrise for over 25 years, including a year as District Governor in 2007; Board Member of the Ohio to Erie Trail Fund and the Delaware County Friends of the Trail to complete the Ohio to Erie trail from Cleveland to Cincinnati. Highlighted past involvement includes 1996 Board Chair of Leadership Worthington, 2000 Board Chair of the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce and 2002 President of the Central Ohio Planned Giving Council. Jim is married to Barbara and they reside in Genoa Township. Jim has two married children both living in the area and 9 young grandchildren. His hobbies include running marathons, swimming, biking and woodturning.

Fr. Denis Kigozi

Church of the Resurrection

Fr. Denis Kigozi was born in Kampala, Uganda and attended grade and high school in Uganda. He attended college seminary in Uganda and then came to the United States in 1987 to study theology at the Pontifical College Josephinum. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Columbus on the 5th of October 1991 and has served as a parochial vicar at St. Mary Parish, Marion (October 1991 – July 1995); St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Pickerington (July 1995 – July 1999) and St. Mary Parish, Lancaster (July 1999 – July 2003). He has also served as a pastor at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Columbus (July 2003 – July 2015); St. John XXIII Parish, Canal Winchester (July 2015 – July 2018) and Church of the Resurrection, New Albany (July 2018 - present).

Kelly Curtin Noll, CFA

Immaculate Conception Columbus

Kelly is a director in the valuation and financial opinion services department of GBQ Consulting. GBQ Consulting performs hundreds of valuation-related engagements annually across the country. Kelly and her husband, Andy, are members at Immaculate Conception in Columbus where two of their sons attend school (Andrew – 9 and Jack – 6). They also have two younger children - Dominic (4) and Nicoline (2). When Kelly is not working or chasing around the kids, you can find her listening to Dr. Ray’s parenting hacks on EWTN, running half marathons, and doing a full restoration of a 1920’s Clintonville house.

This past fiscal year, The Catholic Foundation recently celebrated another great year of impact. In the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2021, the Foundation distributed over 2,900 grants and $14.3 million!


Through the Responsive Grant cycle alone, The Catholic Foundation provided funding to help programs impacting over 300,000 individuals in the Diocese of Columbus. Programs such as Catholic Social Services Our Lady of Guadalupe Center that help the Hispanic community in Columbus, Ohio by operating a food pantry, providing emergency assistance (rent, etc.), conducting English as a Second Language classes, hosting preventative health screenings, and engaging immigration consultation specialists. The Foundation also provided Bishop Ready High School a grant for $15,000 towards the installation of a new HVAC system to prevent the spread of COVID through the air ducts allowing students to return to school safely and a grant of $10,000 was awarded to the Diocese of Columbus, Office of Catholic Schools for teacher support during COVID. 


Dan Kurth, VP of Grants and Community Impact said, “For everyone, 2020 and early 2021 were not easy times, to say the least. The pandemic brought to light fissures in our society that were difficult to handle. However, the donors at The Catholic Foundation were absolutely amazing. Total grants from donor advised funds increased almost $2 million year over year. In addition, The Catholic Foundation continued to assist individuals and provide food pantries with additional funds through our Catholic Emergency Response fund (CERF). I am incredibly proud of our local, Catholic community and the generosity they showed to help provide for the most vulnerable among us.”

As one of the oldest and largest Catholic foundations in the country, The Catholic Foundation has distributed over $170 million in the Diocese since 1985. Look for more details on the impact of the Foundation in the upcoming Annual Report.


As part of the Real Presence, Real Future initiative, the Diocese has been working with Catholic Leadership Institute (CLI) to implement an effective consultation process to ensure that the best and most accurate information about parishes is used when evaluating the future of the Diocese.  This process consists of many different planning phases that are being implemented in 2021.


Phase I (March-April) – Parishioners throughout the Diocese had the opportunity to take the Disciple Maker Index survey.  More than 21,000 Catholics in the Diocese completed the 75-question survey.  CLI also worked with the Diocese to study local demographic data, parish and diocesan records, sacramental trends, parish financial data, and overall growth trends for each parish throughout the Diocese.


Phase II (April-June) – DMI results were tabulated, and unique reports prepared for each parish as well as the Diocese as a whole. In addition, parish workbooks were created that included summarized information from the research done during Phase I. Key leaders from every parish in the Diocese attended three training workshops to understand how to read and interpret their parish DMI results and parish workbook data. These leaders were also asked to submit reports that included parish-based information that would not be included in the other data sources.  These might be details such as updated sacramental information, historical facts that make up the culture of a parish, and information about key parish ministries or community outreach.


Phase III (June-Aug) – The RPRF Commission will review the results of the DMI and parish workbook data and additional information provided by key parish leaders. From this information, CLI will work with the Diocese to create draft models for parishes throughout the diocese (See the explanation below for more information on what a draft model is). Draft models are created using all relevant data sources from Phases I and II and will be presented to parishes in the Fall.


Phase IV (Aug-Nov) – The consultation process will continue throughout the fall. Each parish will host two virtual consultation sessions via Zoom to give parishioners throughout the Diocese the opportunity to review the draft models for their individual parish and provide feedback that will be used to revise the models. Both parish sessions will be the same but offered at different days/times within the same week to allow parishioners the opportunity the one that fits their schedule. 


Phase V (Nov-Jan ’22) – Based on the feedback from the fall parish consultation sessions, the draft models will be revised for review by parishes in early 2022.  This process of consultation and revision will continue throughout 2022 until all draft models are finalized.  Parishes will be opportunities for review and feedback throughout the process.

RPRF News and Updates – Don’t Miss Out!

Keep up with RPRF. In addition to the website, you can check out the feature articles in the Catholic Times. Both the print and online additions will feature regular articles written by Catholic leaders from around the Diocese.

Development corner

Welcome to the Development (Dev) Corner where we talk about timely and relevant topics going on in our world today. Each member of our Development Team will write a piece sharing information they think is relevant to our donors and partners. Enjoy!


The Charitable IRA Rollover – An Opportunity for Donors 70½ Years and Older

Christy Steffy

Christy Steffy

Development Officer

Like many of us, the sudden onset of the recent pandemic and resulting stillness of routine gave Mark and Gina* a lot of time for reflection. Along with feeling a profound sense of gratitude for their health and many blessings, they reviewed their overall finances and talked about what life could look like moving forward and how they could make a difference. Thanks to many years of planning, saving, and a great performance in the financial markets, Mark and Gina found that they had accumulated more wealth than they had anticipated, and they wanted to give back.


As they reflected on the things that have brought the deepest level of joy to their lives, their Catholic faith was at the top of the list, and one area that immediately stood out was the foundational Catholic education they both received. The opportunity to help with the affordability of tuition at our Catholic schools, particularly their beloved high school, was a cause they could get behind. Not only were Mark, Gina, and their children all proud graduates of the school, three of their grandchildren are currently enrolled and thriving as students. For the family, the school provides a strong academic experience, is a place to pursue athletics and build relationships, and most importantly, creates the opportunity to cultivate their Catholic faith. They also knew that one of the barriers to accessing a Catholic education is the cost of tuition, so they saw this as the area where they wanted to focus their attention.


When I met with Mark and Gina, they had in mind the “why” and the “what” for supporting their passion, we just needed to discuss the “how”. Because both spouses were over age 70½, they were both able to take advantage of what is known as the IRA Charitable Rollover or Qualified Charitable Distribution (QCD for short).


This type of gift allows an individual to give any amount (up to a maximum of $100,000) per year from their IRA directly to a qualified charity without having to pay income taxes on the money. By giving a gift directly to a charity, the QCD also allows traditional IRA owners to exclude this charitable gift from their adjusted gross income. The transfer generates neither taxable income nor a tax deduction, so the Donor will benefit even if they do not itemize deductions. As an added benefit, because these types of gifts do not count as income, they can reduce a Donor’s annual income level which may help lower Medicare premiums and decrease the amount of Social Security that is subject to tax. All of this, in addition to knowing that they are helping their beloved School – a true win-win!


We talked about how their gift could begin to help students and families now, and we found that there was an opportunity to establish a Tuition Assistance Endowment Fund with The Catholic Foundation in Mark and Gina’s family name. It was very important to them to involve their children in their charitable plans from the very beginning, so Mark and Gina decided to begin adding to this new Endowment Fund immediately with their annual QCDs from their IRA accounts, and their children and grandchildren would be able to add to the Fund over time. This opportunity to make a difference by instilling family philanthropy was strengthened by the family’s commitment to practice generosity together beyond Mark and Gina’s lifetimes.


A few things to keep in mind about Qualified Charitable Distributions:

  1. All traditional IRA owners or beneficiaries who are at least 70½ years old can make a QCD, and all contributions and earnings that accumulate inside a traditional IRA are eligible for QCDs.
  2. The QCD is excluded from the Donor’s adjusted gross income.
  3. The QCD rollover must be completed by December 31 of the year to be excluded from the Donor’s taxable income for that year.
  4. The amount that can be taken as a QCD is capped at $100,000 per taxpayer per year.
  5. The gift must be made DIRECTLY to the charity and not to the account holder to be excluded from Donor income.
  6. Beginning in the year a Donor turns 72, they can use the QCD gift to satisfy all or part of their RMD, exempting the RMDs from income tax.

For Mark and Gina, this was the perfect way to take advantage of an opportunity available to them as part of their overall charitable financial planning. By making Qualified Charitable Distributions from their IRAs, they are now able to begin to see their charitable dollars at work by making an impact for young people in their community today. For this couple, they were thrilled to be able to jump-start their legacy of supporting Catholic education and being able to witness the impact of their gifts was an added joy for the entire family.

* Names have been changed.


If you would like more information or want to discuss Charitable IRA Rollovers, I would welcome a conversation. Please contact me by email at or by phone at 614-443-8893.


About the Catholic Foundation

The Catholic Foundation’s mission is to inspire giving and assist donors to provide for the long-term needs of the 23-county Diocese of Columbus. The Catholic Foundation fulfills its mission by seeking donors to establish endowment funds designed to support current and future needs and by distributing earnings according to diocesan priorities and donor intent.  It is one of the oldest and largest Catholic foundations in the country, distributing over $156 million throughout the diocese since 1985. For additional information about The Catholic Foundation, please visit

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