In his ongoing commitment to the future of the local Catholic community, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson established the Roman Catholic Foundation of Eastern Missouri in 2013 to provide long-term support for Catholic education and other faith-based initiatives of the local Church.
The foundation was the fulfillment of one of the 10 priorities of Archbishop Carlson’s Alive in Christ mission advancement initiative, a framework for a pastoral plan for the growth of Catholic education. According to the initiative’s outline, the foundation was created to “develop new endowment funds for tuition assistance and other priority needs.”
As a 501(c)(3) public charity independent from the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the foundation provides options for giving toward the general needs of the local Church, such as education or other charitable endeavors. Donor-advised funds also are offered, which allow individual donors to make grant recommendations from their funds to be distributed to the charities of their choice.
“The overall focus of the foundation is on the long term,” Mark Guyol, founding president of the Roman Catholic Foundation said in a 2013 interview. “We’re not just focusing on today, tomorrow and the next day, but on funding the needs of our local Church for 25, 50 and 100 years from now. Through gathering these endowed funds, we hope to build a corpus of funds that will be invested. The distributions for those funds will sustain the good works of these schools and other good ministries for generations to come.”
The foundation established the Beyond Sunday campaign, which became the most successful capital campaign in the history of the Archdiocese of St. Louis. The campaign, which concluded in 2017, raised $110 million; 60% (less campaign expenses) of pledges built the Beyond Sunday Education Fund to fund scholarships and school/PSR grants, and 40% was returned to individual parishes to address local needs. More than 25,500 Catholic families contributed to the effort.
To date, $30.9 million has been distributed to parishes to address immediate local parish needs; $7.2 million in scholarships have been awarded to students attending 135 Catholic elementary and high schools in the archdiocese; more than $2.3 million has been granted to schools and Parish Schools of Religion and the archdiocesan Office of Catholic Education and Formation. Grants have gone toward enhancing STREAM curricula and investing in innovative operational and business ideas to be spread across schools.
An additional $30 million has been invested into the Beyond Sunday Education Endowment Fund for sustained scholarship support.
In describing his commitment to Catholic education, Archbishop Carlson has said that education has a two-fold goal: to provide a pathway out of poverty; and to evangelize, through sharing the Catholic faith. He said he knows firsthand the impact of a Catholic education, having been schooled in Catholic institutions from kindergarten through graduate school and the seminary.
“Catholic education is … essential to the long-term vitality of our faith and to the communities they serve,” Archbishop Carlson has said, adding that it has “an essential role in the spiritual development of our children and the economic development of places where we live, work and pray.”