The Catholic Community Foundation is collecting wishes to celebrate its 20th anniversary. The theme of this year’s campaign is “The Power of the Wish.” The CCF is asking parishes to submit an idea for something outside their regular budget or current programs for the chance to win one of five $20,000 awards.

Mary Ellen Markowski, president of CCF, said they want the contest to be a fun experience for the parishes and provide them with an opportunity to learn about the Foundation.

“Anyone can provide an idea and submit it to their pastor, administrator or parish director,” she said.

Established in July 2001, the Foundation is a separate entity, independent of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, to serve the needs of individuals and families wishing to provide lasting support to the Catholic causes they care most about. The Foundation’s goal is to increase the amount and effectiveness of philanthropy flowing to causes that support the mission of the Catholic Church in Southeastern Wisconsin.

Last year, grant awards exceeded $1.3 million, and they have totaled $12.1 million since their inception. According to Markowski, investment professionals manage the Foundation’s portfolio to provide long-term growth.

“As of the end of March, the Foundation had assets totaling over $150 million,” she said.

Markowski said that typically donors make a gift of at least $25,000 to establish a separate fund that supports their specific causes — ones that ultimately advance the Church’s mission.

“They can establish a donor-advised or donor-designated fund, a field of interest fund to support certain kinds of causes, or provide support wherever the need is greatest through an unrestricted fund with the Foundation,” she said. “A gift can be made during their lifetime or through their estate plans.”

A gift establishes the donor fund, then the Foundation invests the contribution from the donor, awards the grants as designated and maintains administration of the donor fund.

“By establishing a fund within the Foundation, individuals can achieve personal satisfaction, as well as accomplish tax and estate planning goals, and at the same time, benefit the community of southeastern Wisconsin,” said Markowski.

Additionally, the CCF provides investment management of the endowments fund assets for parishes, schools and other Catholic entities listed in the Official Catholic Directory. Markowski said the Foundation does not own those assets but merely provides investment management and administrative services for their clients.

This year’s contest will expand on the 2016 “Grant a Wish” contest, when five area parishes each received $15,000. Holy Cross Parish, Bristol, utilized their winnings to pay for worship hymnals and establish children’s and adult choirs. St. Catherine Parish on North 51st and West Center in Milwaukee purchased kitchen facilities for the parish. St. Lawrence Parish in St. Lawrence provided ADA-compliant restroom access for those with physical disabilities. Immaculate Conception Parish in Milwaukee provided a bus stop shelter, signage and a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of the Streets. Immaculate Conception Parish in West Bend used their winnings for new playground equipment, benches, lighting, landscaping and Catholic-themed art.

“To move forward with the same idea, we decided on the ‘Power of the Wish’ contest for our 20th anniversary. A committee of our board members will review the ‘wishes,’ and the five winners will be decided upon, and we will announce the winners at our Dec. 7 annual event,” said Markowski. “One of our goals for the contest is to be able to help five parishes make one of their ‘wishes’ a reality. We also want to bring further awareness of the Foundation and, lastly, hope the parishes can engage their parish community in the contest.”

Further Information

To make this exciting for your parish community and easy for the pastor/administrator/parish director, the CCF has provided the invitation to participate and the contest rules describing how to enter with a chance to win one of five $20,000 awards. There are just a few things to do:

  1. A short description of the Foundation and its mission must be read at all Masses one weekend in May or June to inform the parish community about The Catholic Community Foundation, this contest and how they can be involved from the idea/wish standpoint.
  2. The flyer/parish bulletin insert (an email with a PDF attachment will be forwarded to each parish) must be provided in the bulletin, on the parish website and included in an email sent to the parish community (if you send emails to your parishioners) advising them of this contest and their opportunity to share their wish for what your parish could do with a $20,000 award. The “wish” can come from anyone in the parish.
  3. Each pastor/administrator or director decides and submits the best wish to the Foundation for the award. The pastor/administrator’s signature must accompany the request before Aug. 1, 2021.
  4. A committee of the CCF board members will review the “wishes” received and decide on the five winners. All wishes will be reviewed anonymously, with parish names removed.

Be creative in the wish 

  1. Wishes should not be for ordinary operating expenses or current programs.
  2. Questions? Contact Julie Kurer in the Foundation offices at 414-431-6402 or
  3. Winners will be selected and announced at the Dec. 7, 2021, annual event.