By Syma Chowdhry

Richard Clark is the chairman of the newly formed Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia. He spoke at the foundation’s new office, not at the Basilica.

“Notice you did not pull up to 222 N. 17th, that’s on purpose,” He points out.

The Catholics Foundation of Greater Philadelphia is an independent organization run by board members, not the Church.

Clark says it’s important to get Catholics involved in giving to charity in hopes of getting them back to Church.

“There is so much need within the Archdiocese and within the Catholic Community in Philadelphia, we will be able to support all of those needs and really align the donor with the ministries in the Catholic community,” Clark says.

As a former CEO of Merck, Clark says he looks forward to using his business background and knowledge of other successful fundraising strategies to influence donors.

He says most importantly all of the board members bring something to the table.

“We have successful business people. We have people who have success from in the civic area from a community standpoint, who have the same passion and the same love for the Church as I do.”

Archbishop Charles Chaput is on the board, even though this organization is not run by the church.

Chaput says the Catholic Church is facing harsh financial realities.

With the new foundation people can control where their money will go and Chaput says there are ways to help during these difficult times.

“We’re merging parishes and schools, even had to sell my home and sold other places,” He says.

The organization says 40 percent of Philadelphia residents are Catholic, but the other 60 percent should also be interested because the donations will help the community.

“We do so many good things for the community, not just for Catholics or catholic charities. It helps everybody and never asks a question what religion you belong to and never will.”

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