By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published June 7, 2012
A founder of the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia is stepping down.
Msgr. Edward J. Dillon will now be a director emeritus as he leaves the board of directors. He helped start the organization in 1992, along with the late Archbishop James P. Lyke, OFM.
“We probably would not have a Catholic Foundation without Msgr. Dillon. We owe much of our success to him,” said Nancy Coveny, the foundation’s executive director.
Msgr. Dillon said the foundation is very critical for the future to ensure that parishes, Catholic institutions and the archdiocese can receive gifts and bequests from people. Those gifts can be managed to help a parish “to do things it (otherwise) may not be able to do,” said Msgr. Dillon.
The board of directors saluted “the extraordinary service” of Msgr. Dillon when it named him director emeritus, only the second person it has honored with that title.
In 1992, the entity was founded to provide endowment income that would serve as an additional source of revenue to support needs of the growing archdiocese. One of the early gifts was a $500,000 grant from the Katherine John Murphy Foundation of Atlanta. The resolution honoring Msgr. Dillon said he played “a significant part in raising the initial funds given by the Founders Society.”
The foundation now controls assets valued at $35.5 million and has distributed more than $4 million in grants to parishes, schools, archdiocesan ministries, and nonprofits, said Coveny.
She said Msgr. Dillon was instrumental in getting early money into the foundation, including a $5 million gift from Roberto Goizueta and The Goizueta Foundation.
Msgr. Dillon, the longtime pastor of Holy Spirit Church and a former vicar general of the archdiocese, has a “sharp business and investment sense” that has helped him serve the foundation, Coveny said, and broad knowledge of the archdiocese.
“He has a good sense of the needs of the community. That’s helped him in the grants committee,” she said, where decisions are made on funding local projects and ministries.
“He had some of the real vision for what (the foundation) could become,” she said.
Msgr. Dillon said he was proud the foundation exists to serve the archdiocese, with a professional staff and a very active board of directors. He recalled how an early goal was successfully met to build a $2 million nest egg for the foundation between the time of Archbishop Lyke’s death and the arrival of his successor, Archbishop John F. Donoghue.
Before the foundation was established, there wasn’t a way for people to remember their parish or the archdiocese with perpetual financial gifts, he said. Now, parishes can use the expertise and structure of the foundation to establish endowment funds that will help them address financial needs, he said.