Foundation News

New Catholic Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts formed

Originally Published by The Anchor

FALL RIVER, Mass. — The Diocese of Fall River recently announced the launch of The Catholic Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts. In the Spring of 2018, the Diocese of Fall River formally established an independent, charitable foundation responsible for raising, managing and distributing philanthropic funds to provide long-term, sustainable support for the parishes, schools and life-changing ministries across the diocese.

Shortly after the foundation’s formation, Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., announced its new executive director: “I am very pleased to announce the recent hiring of Miriam ‘Mim’ Sherman as our first executive director for the Catholic Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts! We are very fortunate to have landed a person of Mim’s caliber and feel extremely blessed to have hired such a phenomenal candidate and person. Mim is reporting directly to the two chairs of the board, Mr. Pat Carney and Mr. Nick Christ.

“Mim is a results-driven professional with nearly 20 years of progressively responsible development and fund-raising experience. Mim came to us from Regis College, where she was the vice president of Institutional Advancement. Mim worked at Regis for almost 11 years and held the positions of executive director of Development, director of Corporate and Foundation Relations and development officer.”

The foundation comes as a direct outgrowth of a six-month planning process that brought together more than 40 women and men from across the diocese, to serve on a task force and seek to discern how a foundation may help to fulfill God’s will for rebuilding the Church in Southeastern  Massachusetts. Their collective efforts resulted in a shared vision to establish this Catholic Foundation to serve and support the community of faith in the years ahead.

The foundation will play an active role in advancing the mission of our Church as together we will strive to:

— Grow in our personal, living relationship with Christ, and commit to strengthening our parishes, schools and life-changing ministries;

— Lead the Church to a new experience of holiness and abundant life in Christ; and

— Share God’s love for all people, giving of our time, talent and treasure in a spirit of love for the Lord.

The foundation is incorporated as a separate 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, fully endorsed by the diocese and the bishop, the Most Reverend Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V. This legal structure ensures that all gifts will be used for their intended purposes and provide a level of efficiency, accountability and transparency that will earn the respect and confidence of donors as well as the pastors/parishes, schools and ministries it serves.

Father Marcel Bouchard, George Agostini and Bob Long have also joined the foundation’s growing Board of Directors.

At press time, other staff members include: Rebecca Hancock, director of Annual Giving and Stewardship; Sandi Duxbury, executive director of the diocese’s Foundation Advancing Catholic Education; Jane Robin, assistant director of Development — Cape Cod events; and Doris Desrosiers, development assistant.

All stewardship, development functions and fund raising within the diocese will fall under the purview of the foundation including the annual Catholic Charities Appeal, as well as planned giving, major gifts, capital gifts and grants. In the not too distant future, the foundation will begin to manage the consolidation of diocesan and parish endowments to leverage investment opportunities and maximize performance.

These activities will chart a new course for the Church in the region.

The Catholic Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts was formed to serve the diocese and each parish, school and entity as well as the greater community. Some of the services the foundation will provide going forward are:

Catholic Charities Appeal; planned giving; memorial and honorary gifts; and charitable IRA.

More information on all aspects of the foundation will be released as they become honed and finalized.

“The foundation is excited to work with and be a resource to each parish. In the coming months, we will be reaching out with more information on our vision and plan,” Sherman said.

Foundation members have already held meetings in areas across the diocese, seeking the recommendations of pastors and inviting them to become a part of the task force.

“The pastors we’ve spoken with have been very open-minded,” added Sherman.

“There are new things to learn for all of us,” Hancock told The Anchor. “We’re going to come up with a playbook, and by talking with pastors, we can find out things that have worked in the past, and things that haven’t.”

For more information on The Catholic Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, contact Sherman at 508-985-6510 or email; or Hancock at 508-675-1311, extension 6530 or email