By SAMANTHA SMITH, Staff Writer | Published September 3, 2020
ATLANTA—Phil and Jenn Sedlack, parishioners of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Atlanta, have contributed to multiple charities for more than 20 years, including the Atlanta Community Food Bank and St. Pius X High School. Setting up their donor advised fund with the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia helps streamline giving and provides tax benefits.
The fund allows sending one check to be distributed to nonprofits of their choosing. The process gives the Sedlacks peace of mind knowing the organizations are being taken care of, and that they did their part. It’s a good way to set aside investments or money to be donated and have it done at once, said Phil.
Jenn has collaborated with the Catholic Foundation in a professional capacity and while working at St. Pius X High School.
“I’ve seen how they’ve handled other endowments and scholarships…and have great faith in their ability to manage our funds,” she said.
The Sedlacks manage their giving online, which was helpful for supporting charities quickly when the coronavirus hit. Creating a donor advised fund with the foundation is “a maintenance-free way to ensure that you give to the charities that you designate throughout the year,” said Phil.
The Sedlacks were recognized as Deo Gratias Society members during a virtual Mass and celebration on Aug. 15, the Feast of the Assumption. The event was hosted by the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia, and fittingly held at the chapel of Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Atlanta.
The event honors and celebrates members of the Founders Society and Deo Gratias Society. Archbishop Gregory J. Hartmayer OFM Conv., celebrated the Deo Gratias Mass. Deo gratias is Latin for “thanks be to God.”
“Being a good steward requires us to take an honest look at our relationship with God,” said Archbishop Hartmayer in his homily. “Stewardship enables us to strengthen our faith and put our trust and confidence in the Lord.”
Archbishop Hartmayer explained stewardship is not about money as much as it is a form of spirituality and discipleship.
“The spirituality of stewardship is profound but is also practical,” he said. “It involves the choices we make every day—how we spend our time, what we do with the skills and talents God has given to us, how we care for the environment and what we do with our money.”
Stewardship is contagious, said Archbishop Hartmayer.
“And through the work of the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia, we are being responsible as good stewards and planning for the future needs of the ministries throughout the archdiocese,” he said.
The Founders Society honors donors to the Catholic Foundation endowment fund, which helps to support its mission. The Deo Gratias Society recognizes those who make a planned gift in their will or estate plan to the Catholic Foundation, a parish, Catholic school or organization, or the archdiocese.
This year, 28 people were recognized as members of the Deo Gratias Society and two members for the Founders Society.
Leaving a legacy
Dawn Stark created a legacy gift with the Catholic Foundation for her parish, St. Jude the Apostle Church in Atlanta, before moving to Seoul, South Korea. She was a member of the Sandy Springs parish for nine years.
“I wanted to leave a legacy gift to them before I moved just in case anything happens,” said Stark. The gift was easily set up through the Catholic Foundation, she explained, and the pastor can decide how to use the funds based on the parish’s needs.
This is just one of the many gifts Stark plans to establish. While a member of St. Jude parish, she also worked for six years at the Cathedral of Christ the King and Christ the King School in Atlanta. There, she joyously worked with Msgr. Frank McNamee, rector of the cathedral, on the new Hyland Center.
Her experience at the cathedral and parish school also motivated her to leave a Catholic legacy.
With the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, Stark encouraged Catholics to set up their gifts as soon as possible.
“Make provisions now so that your wishes are granted if something were to happen,” she said.
For more information on the Catholic Foundation, visit cfnga.org.