St. Paul-based Catholic Community Foundation issues first parish grants in relief fund

| May 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

More than $120,000 is being distributed to 11 parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis from a coronavirus-prompted relief fund set up by the Catholic Community Foundation.

That’s just the first round of an effort headlined by CCF through its recently created Minnesota Catholic Relief Fund. The foundation is working through its own special advisory committee and with the archdiocese’s Economic Impact Task Force to distribute grants to parishes and schools hit particularly hard by the suspension of public Masses because of COVID-19.

Thus far, the foundation has raised nearly $1.3 million for the relief fund and it is working on the next round of grants, said Meg Payne Nelson, the foundation’s program officer. That includes $305,000 raised during a special April 19 through April 26 matching grant effort offered by an anonymous donor.

The MCRF will award grants of between $5,000 and $15,000 to parishes and schools that qualify in the archdiocese. Among other things, they must have applied for a U.S. Small Business Administration payroll protection program loan, taken measures to control spending and boost contributions, completed a cash flow analysis and be able to demonstrate a specific, urgent financial need, Nelson said.

In a separate but related effort, the foundation is distributing an additional $210,000 to 22 parishes, including three parishes that also have received an operational grant, to help immigrants and refugees who contact pastors and parish ministries because they have lost jobs in restaurants and other industries and need help providing food for their families, paying for rent, utilities, hygiene and cleaning supplies.

If that relief was not available to parishes, many would take the money out of their own operating budgets, further depleting their strained resources, said Anne Cullen Miller, president of the St. Paul-based foundation.

Money for the immigrant and refugee effort came from a $100,000 grant provided by the Minnesota Council of Foundations to help that financially hard-hit community, as well as $110,000 in donations to CCF specifically for that assistance, Miller said.

“We’ve heard about pastors not taking a salary,” Miller said of the desire among parishes to do what it takes to continue to help those in need. “We really feel good about taking out some of that pressure.”

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