Seminarian Endowment Challenge Initiative

The purpose of this initiative is to help ensure that dioceses will be able to grow their long-term financial capacity to fund the increasing cost of seminarian education.

Seminarians are a blessing for our Church, but their education places a large financial burden on your diocese
Seminarians are a blessing for our Church, but their education places a large financial burden on your diocese.

The Seminarian Endowment Challenge offers matching funds to dioceses for new or increased dollars they raise toward seminarian education endowments, serving as a fundraising stimulus for dioceses by enabling them to leverage this match in order to attract new or increased major gifts from donors in support of seminarian education.

In the first three years of the Seminarian Endowment Challenge, participating dioceses have raised over $3 million in gifts toward seminarian education endowments.  This is more than double the matching funds from Catholic Extension, and has created over $4.5 million in permanent endowments for seminarian education in 31 different dioceses.

The 2015 Seminarian Endowment Challenge will be offerd in two forms:

I. First Time Participants

This program is open to dioceses who have not yet participated in the Seminarian Endowment Challenge.  First time participants may request a challenge grant of up to $50,000, based on predetermined matching ratios set with each participant diocese. Dioceses are given one year to meet the fundraising goal that they establish with Catholic Extension at the beginning of the Challenge. 

II. Second Time Participants

This program is open to dioceses who have previously participated in the Seminarian Endowment Challenge.  These dioceses can request another matching challenge of between $25,000 - $50,000, with a minimum matching ratio of at least 1:2.  Dioceses are given one year to meet the fundraising goal that they establish with Catholic Extension at the beginning of the Challenge.

For full information and details, please be sure to read the Program Guidelines document linked below.

Duration: 1 year

Value to Participating Diocese: $50,000 (on a matching basis)

To Apply

  • Read and review the Program Guidelines
  • Complete the Online Application Form. The next round of applications are expected to open in October 2015.

Seminarian Endowment Challenge past Results:

  • $1,270,265 in funds raised by 13 dioceses in 2012
  • $1,072,052 in funds raised by 11 dioceses in 2013
  • $675,000 in funds proposed to raise by 9 dioceses in 2014
  • $1,500,000 in matching funds from Catholic Extension
  • Over $4.5M in total funds created for seminarian education endowments

Seminarian Endowment Challenge Past Participant Feedback:

  • The effort has done several things: 1) introduced us to new donors; 2) underscored the need for a full time development effort in the Diocese right now; and 3) strengthen our relationship with Catholic Extension Society. I would characterize this effort as a win-win situation.
  • I think the challenge has presented a great opportunity to begin conversations with donors regarding the need for funding for Seminarians and also other areas that interest them, long term sustainability for our Diocese and individuals' need for estate planning. It's all good!
  • The opportunity was a great way to increase the funds raised at this event and the opportunity to begin endowing funds for seminarian education is something every diocese needs. We are very appreciative.
  • A great help to jump-start our endowment program

For More Information

Contact Rob Anderson, Director of Mission, at 312.795.6095 or randerson@catholicextension.org.