By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Catholic Church in Philadelphia has a new fundraising vehicle with the formation of the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia.

This independent, 501(c)3, nonprofit organization will be run entirely separately from the archdiocese, but it is clearly being run for the archdiocese, says foundation executive director Shannon Jordan.

“It’s a chance for the laity to step up and sit side by side with the archbishop to shape the charitable mission of the church,” he tells KYW Newsradio, “and that’s really an unprecedented move.”

And it’s a move that allows the church to step beyond the pews and the collection plates.

Jordan says the sky is now the limit in terms of the types of fundraising that can be done.

“Donors can start endowed funds which would be for very long-term purposes, for maybe specific purposes. They could create a ‘donor-advised’ fund which would be a pool of assets.  You could start a fund with as little as $5,000 and then drive that charity out to a number of different Catholic organizations. So you could fund multiple organizations through one gift,” he explains.

The foundation’s board is composed of 15 members including Archbishop Charles Chaput.

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