FAQ and Policies
Table of Contents
- Who is eligible to receive financial support from Catholic Extension?
- What is the process for my Catholic diocese to establish funding eligibility and ultimately make a request for funding?
- Who within the diocese is permitted to request Extension Diocese status?
- What is an “Extension diocese”?
- What criteria are used to decide who qualifies as an Extension diocese?
- Who decides whether a diocese is an Extension diocese?
- Once it is determined that a diocese has “Extension Diocese status,” how often is the status reviewed?
- Who is the appropriate diocesan contact person for funding requests and outcome evaluations?
- Once a funding request is made to Catholic Extension, who decides whether it will be funded?
- What funding criteria are used to make funding decisions?
- How does Catholic Extension determine its funding priorities?
- Who do I contact with questions about a making a request for funding?
- Do I need to speak with Catholic Extension before making a request for funding?
- Where should dioceses direct requests for Extension Diocese status and specific funding, and where can they access an outcomes report?
- Who can prepare a funding request?
- Who completes the outcome evaluation report for a Catholic Extension-funded project/initiative?
- What is the incentive for “Building Foundation” funding recipients that build capacity as a result of funding?
- What does it mean for an Extension diocese to “graduate” from this status?
- Does Catholic Extension have a maximum funding limit for a “Building Facilities” request?
- How can I return to an online funding request once I’ve saved it?
- Does Catholic Extension provide sample funding request documents that I can reference when drafting a funding request?
- Can I complete a funding request offline?
- Where can I access an outcome evaluation form?
Catholic Extension provides funding to Catholic dioceses in the United States that have demonstrated “Extension Diocese” status. Generally, this status is granted to dioceses that are under-resourced and cannot sustain themselves without outside funding. (Please refer to questions 3-5 for more details). Once a diocese gains Extension status, it is regarded as an “Extension Diocese,” and funding can be directed to diocesan offices, special diocesan ministries, parishes, and religious orders doing ministries within the diocesan territory.
Catholic Extension never provides funding directly to regional or national Catholic organizations. However, they may work as partners with Catholic Extension to provide services to a Extension diocese.
There is a three-step process:
- A diocese requests Extension Diocese status and becomes an approved Extension diocese.
- A diocese submits a funding request.
- A diocese is granted funding and reports the funding results within one year.
An Extension diocese is a place where the Catholic Church is emerging, and even thriving, but the financial resources are scarce. An Extension diocese is often limited in terms of infrastructure, Catholic educational institutions, professional opportunities, and philanthropic opportunities.
In a Catholic Extension supported diocese, often one or more of the following conditions exist:
- There are many Catholics, but little institutional Catholic presence (i.e. ordained leaders, Catholic schools and church buildings).
- There is a rapidly growing Catholic population, but limited financial means to support this growth.
- Catholics are spread throughout great geographic distances, making pastoral outreach difficult.
- Catholics are located in areas facing economic hardships.
- Catholics represent the religious minority in their communities.
Catholic Extension utilizes both non-financial and financial data to determine a diocese’s Extension status. The evaluation takes into account a diocese’s current financial situation as well as its potential for generating revenue. Non-financial criteria includes the evaluation of pastoral challenges as they relate to geographic, demographic, and economic circumstances.
Annually, the Catholic Extension Chancellor and Board of Governors use the data and analysis referenced in question #5 to determine which dioceses are given Extension Diocese status.
- Each year, Catholic Extension reviews audited financial statements from all dioceses that wish to maintain their Extension Diocese status. Based on the information collected, Catholic Extension presents its analysis to the Board of Governors for review.
- Every three years, Catholic Extension surveys all Extension dioceses, reviewing both non-financial and financial information. Based on the information collected, Catholic Extension presents its analysis to the Board of Governors.
Funding Request Procedure
Each funding request should be assigned two contacts within the diocese: someone at the diocesan level, who serves as the bishop’s representative for Catholic Extension funding requests; and the onsite ministry program manager, such as a pastor, chaplain, or program director.
Typical contacts at the diocesan level include:
- Diocesan director of development/stewardship
- Diocesan fiscal manager
- A member of the bishop’s executive staff
Catholic Extension’s president, supported by his fundraising, financial and funding request staff, is responsible for making funding decisions.
- The funding request review process is designed to be objective. Catholic Extension asks many key questions on behalf of its donors, who ultimately fund the projects. These questions include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Is the intended recipient located in an Extension diocese, and does the intended recipient have strong financial needs?
- Does the project meet Catholic Extension’s funding guidelines?
- Is this request a high strategic priority for the diocese/bishop?
- Does Catholic Extension have the project funding resources based on the timeline provided in the request? Similarly, is there funding currently available for this initiative or could there be funding available in the near-term?
- Is the information provided in the request complete, does the purpose of the funding make logical sense, and are the goals reasonable?
- Has the intended recipient provided a strong plan to sustain the initiative at the conclusion of the funding period?
- Has the intended recipient (i.e. parish or ministry) received funding in the past, and if so, why is there an ongoing financial need?
- How much funding has the diocese received from Catholic Extension overall in the past 1-5 years, and how does that number compare to other dioceses?
There are several opportunities offered in our funding guidelines that have been a part of the Catholic Extension tradition since our founding in 1905. For example, our organization was started with a mission to build churches, and we still fund diocesan and parish construction projects today. However, the pastoral needs of the church evolve over time. To ensure that our funding makes an impact, Catholic Extension actively listens to two groups of stakeholders:
- Dioceses – Catholic Extension’s funding priorities are influenced by the dioceses we serve. Catholic Extension stays on top of evolving diocesan needs and growth opportunities through frequent visits to Catholic faith communities and regularly scheduled gatherings with bishops and other leaders in Extension Dioceses.
- Donors – Catholic Extension’s funding priorities are influenced by our donors. As a funding organization, Catholic Extension also actively listens to our donors to understand how their philanthropic interests align with our work in the Church.
Before submitting a funding request to Catholic Extension, inquirers may request clarification about funding eligibility and funding request document requirements by calling 800.842.7804, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contacting a Catholic Extension staff member before making a request for funding is not required, but it is highly encouraged. Catholic Extension staff members are there to provide guidance on the structure, timing, and presentation of your funding request. This ensures that your request fits within our funding guidelines, and can ultimately expedite the review process. Members of our funding request team can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Dioceses can complete all of these activities online through Catholic Extension’s “Make a Funding Request” website (www.catholicextension.org/funding-request). To make a complete funding request, all required supplemental documents are to be submitted online along with the online funding request. Paper documents are not accepted. Contact Catholic Extension if you have trouble with this process and require technical support.
Generally, a member of diocesan staff prepares funding requests. Someone at the parish or program level (i.e. the “onsite manager”) may prepare the request, but please note: the request must ultimately be reviewed and approved by the diocese, and endorsed by the bishop before it can be submitted.
Either a designated onsite manager at the parish or program level, or a diocesan staff person can complete the evaluation.
How Funding Builds Capacity
All communities receiving support through Catholic Extension’s “Building Foundation” funding initiative are also encouraged to work at building capacity so they can ultimately support themselves. Catholic Extension looks for pastoral progress, which is measured by the Catholic population growth in the community; as well as financial progress, which is measured by increased revenue from the community. When a community has grown in both capacities, Catholic Extension will continue to be a partner, providing new funding opportunities that will solidify and complement this progress.
It is truly a moment to celebrate when a diocese transitions from an Extension Diocese to a diocese that can share its resources with others in need. This evolution signals much more than a financial breakthrough. It shows that the diocese has grown in spite of great challenges, built financial capacity, instituted best practices, and demonstrated excellence in church life and ministry.
Typically, Catholic Extension only funds a portion of major building facilities requests, determined on a case-by-case basis. Catholic Extension’s commitment generally does not exceed $100,000. This funding is often structured as a matching challenge to encourage community involvement in the project and help build overall capacity. See the “Building Capacity” Qualifying Funding Areas for more details.
Payment timing depends on the recipient’s specific situation. Some are installment payments, some are lump-sum payments, and others are linked to the achievement of pre-arranged benchmarks.
- Lump Sum vs. Dispersed Installment Payments: Whether Catholic Extension provides funding in lump sum payments or dispersed installment payments depends on the total amount of the funding, the nature of the request, and the recipient’s cash-flow needs. Catholic Extension’s ability to fund the entire amount at once is also a factor.
- Matching Challenge Payments: Matching funds are paid when Catholic Extension receives evidence that all pre-determined benchmarks have been reached.
With very few exceptions, payments are sent directly to the diocesan bishop. However, these funds are restricted to the project/ministry outlined in the funding request.
Online Funding Requests
Before you begin a new online funding request at www.catholicextension.org/funding-request, you will be asked to create an account. To access your partially completed online funding request, simply click on the blue “Access Saved Online Funding Requests” button and follow the prompts.
Catholic Extension provides funding request draft forms that can be found on the detail page for each of our individual “Types of Funding” pages. We encourage you to use them as a point of reference when preparing your online funding request.
Catholic Extension requires that all funding requests be submitted online. If you wish to complete a rough draft, you can access draft forms on each “Types of Funding” page.
Please note: these documents cannot be submitted in place of an online funding request.
Access an outcome evaluation form by visiting our website and clicking the blue “Access Saved Online Funding Requests” button to login to your account. Proceed to the “Requirements” hyperlink near the top left corner of the page, which will provide you with a list of your outstanding reporting forms (as well as a list of forms you have submitted). If you have trouble finding this form, please contact Catholic Extension.
- Catholic Extension does not consider funding for individuals, ministries or institutions that are not located within Catholic Extension’s Board of Governor-approved Extension dioceses.
- Catholic Extension does not provide funding directly to regional or national Catholic organizations.
- Catholic Extension does not provide funding to service debt on completed projects.
- Catholic Extension does not accept funding requests from Catholic schools.
- Catholic Extension does not provide funding for the building, maintenance or operating expenses of new or existing Catholic schools, and does not offer tuition assistance for students.
- Catholic Extension does not subsidize the operations of Catholic Charities, diocesan social services or Catholic hospitals.
- Catholic Extension does not serve as a first responder in the wake of disasters.
- Catholic Extension does not provide “Building Foundation” funding to financially stable parishes or ministries, even if located within an Extension diocese.