Paula Parrish named first director of new diocesan Advancement Foundation

By Nicki Prevou

Correspondent

June 16, 2014

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Paula K. Parrish, CFRE, has been appointed as the innaugural director of the diocese’s new Advancement Foundation.

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Fort Worth native Paula Parkman Parrish, a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), is excited to be coming “home.”

Home to Holy Family Church, where her family’s deep roots extend back to charter membership in the former St. Alice parish; home to her sisters and other members of her extended family; and home to beloved friends from her years of leadership within the Fort Worth arts and education communities. She and her husband, Larry, she says, are especially grateful to be returning to live in proximity to their own two young adult children and their spouses, and, most especially, to the Parrish family’s first grandchild.

Parrish — a development professional who has raised tens of millions of dollars in numerous capital campaigns at several nonprofit organizations through the years, including Nolan Catholic High School from 1977-2000 — is returning to Fort Worth at the invitation of Bishop Michael Olson. Having most recently served as the executive director of development at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, she will become the first executive director of the Diocese of Fort Worth Advancement Foundation, a newly formed entity chaired by the bishop. She officially begins in her new role July 1.

Diocesan Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services Peter Flynn serves as president of the Advancement Foundation. The foundation, which manages $95 million in assets, exists as the fundraising arm of the diocese, and supports the activities, ministries, and programs of the diocese, including all parishes, schools, and institutions. Most of the foundation’s funding is from endowments and is currently invested, with the goal of using investment income for designated projects, said Flynn.

“The predecessor to the Advancement Foundation has been called the Catholic Foundation of North Texas for approximately 22 years,” explained Flynn. “The focus of the new Advancement Foundation is to give donors more options for restricting and focusing their contributions in specific areas of need within our parishes, our schools, and other ministries of the diocese.”

An example of this focus is one of the foundation’s programs known as the “Bishop’s Guild,” said Flynn, noting that guild membership is open to donors who wish to give $2,500 or more each year to support the education of seminarians and also to provide for the needs of priests of the diocese.

The “Bishop’s Scholars Fund” is yet another example of the foundation’s purpose, said Flynn. “Many of our supporters want the flexibility to choose whether their gifts can be given in the form of an endowment to be used in the future or, in today’s dollars to be used for immediate needs,” he explained. “This particular fund is to help our Catholic schools to be able to provide tuition assistance for those who qualify for scholarships.”

Dennis Maunder, a member of St. Frances Cabrini Church in Granbury, has served as a member of the diocesan Finance Council since 1996, and, during that time, has witnessed what he called the “explosive growth environment” of the diocese, while also working with diocesan leadership to help to address the resulting needs. The establishment of the foundation is timely, he said.

“Significant monies are needed for land and for building projects, and to support and grow key ministries such as vocation work, education, and pro-life outreach,” said Maunder, a professional consulting chief financial officer, whose work includes planning and management assistance to companies in financial stress.

Information gained through recent years’ careful studies on demographics, community planning, and development has informed Bishop Olson’s plans for the future, added Maunder. “Our bishop is truly a blessing,” he reflected. “His vision is huge. He has a very balanced, thoughtful approach to the realities of our advantages and also our challenges. He is continuing the tradition of great leadership and the tradition of good stewardship in this diocese. Thanks to our bishop and to the work of the [Advancement] foundation, we’ll be able to keep moving forward, at this very exciting time in the life of our Church.”

The scope of the foundation is broad, and encompasses areas such as stewardship education, annual giving, major giving, legacy/estate giving, capital campaigns, grant writing, and special events, said Flynn, calling Parrish’s appointment as executive director “an exciting beginning. Paula has energy, enthusiasm, and years of experience, and she is committed to educating the people of God about opportunities for growth.

“Just as we have a bishop who is from here, who is one of us, Paula is also one of our own, and she has a true passion for the opportunity to come home and to share her talents and her expertise with her Church,” added Flynn. “She plans to take all of her varied experience in development and to build a team that will work together to share our bishop’s vision for this diocese.”

Indeed, her belief in Bishop Olson’s vision for the future is the incentive that brings her back to North Texas, said Parrish.

“His commitment to the support of our seminarians, to evangelization, to Catholic education, to the growth of this diocese — this is truly inspirational to me,” mused Parrish. “Just as Pope Francis has become the welcoming face of Catholicism, Bishop Olson also has the same pastoral, individual approach to welcoming people into participation in our parishes and in our schools. To be a part of this collaborative effort is my dream come true.”

For more information about the Advancement Foundation and opportunities for giving, visit www.advancementcorporation.org or call (817) 560-3300, ext. 116.

Paula-K-Parrish-BUTTON.jpgFort Worth native Paula Parkman Parrish, a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), is excited to be coming “home.” Home to Holy Family Church, where her family’s deep roots extend back to charter membership in the former St. Alice parish; home to her sisters and other members of her extended family; and home to beloved friends from her years of leadership within the Fort Worth arts and education communities. She and her husband, Larry, she says, are especially grateful to be returning to live in proximity to their own two young adult children and their spouses, and, most especially, to the Parrish family’s first grandchild.

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