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Dickinson's Kiedrowski to head new Catholic foundation

Mike Kiedrowski, executive director of the Catholic Foundation for the People of the Diocese of Bismarck, answers questions about the new foundation during a news conference on Thursday in Bismarck.

BISMARCK -- The Catholic Diocese of Bismarck will have a new centralized foundation and executive director to administer all endowments and funds it receives.

The diocese made the announcement Thursday here that the Catholic Foundation for the People of the Diocese of Bismarck will take effect July 1, with Mike Kiedrowski of Dickinson as its executive director.

The foundation will take over The Provision For the Future Corporation, the diocese's current fundraising arm, which had more than $10 million at the end of 2012.

Kiedrowski, who has been the director of planned giving for the diocese since 2011, said the new name and centralization were created to give the foundation some legs and marketability.

He said the foundation's first order of business will be to show what it has to offer.

"The more we tell our story, the more people understand what we have to offer," he said. "It's an exciting time with oil exploration and influx of people in western North Dakota that has brought on the challenge to meet the needs of all those people."

Kiedrowski said he will also begin working with a Chicago-based Catholic group that has offered a matching grant up to $50,000.

He told the room full of priests, diocese staff, parishioners and media that now is a great time for people to create an endowment through their local Catholic church or school.

He said the new format of the foundation will allow a more centralized process that will create a greater return on an investment.

He added that the state is giving individuals a 40 percent tax credit for certain contributions to qualified nonprofit endowments.

Donors can give to the foundation in two ways.

A family endowment fund can be established with a $10,000 minimum requirement where only the profits made from the funds' investments can be spent.

Donors can also advise where funds are distributed under a Donor Advised Fund, which can be created with a $10,000 minimum requirement. Donors can opt to spend just the earnings from its investments, or both earnings and principal. Half of the fund must stay in the diocese, with the donor able to give the other half to an outside entity consistent with the Catholic faith, Kiedrowski said.

The foundation will continue to use the same Chicago-based investment firm it has used for the last 25 years.

In his 25 years working with planned giving, Kiedrowski said it has been encouraging to see people contributing, voicing their desire to pass on Catholic values.

"When we can transfer values onto our future generations, we have accomplished our mission," he said.

Bishop David Kagen said the foundation will begin a new chapter in the history of Catholic stewardship, emphasizing how the single management system will increase earnings and create an overall better system.

"As recipients, we have an obligation before God and to our people to do the best we are able in not only preserving the generosity, but increase the benefit their generous gifts give to the church," Kagen said.

The diocese serves more than 60,000 members in 23 western North Dakota counties.

Mike Nowatzki

Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.