Volume 1 - Issue 1  



March 16, 2010

Tertium Quid: A Third Thing

Life and Faith teach us that a thing, especially if its purpose is in praise of God, is always greater than the sum of its parts. This is sometimes difficult to see at first, so God, who knows us so well, chooses the least, most humble things of the world through which to show us His glory. This is especially true in the life of the Church. While we, its humble members, fail regularly, She remains spotless. The Church, although certainly the sum of Her constituent members, is in truth a new life unto Herself. She is a separate and wholly different thing, far more than the mere combination of the lives of Her members. She is a new thing, a new reality.

This simple, powerful truth is the motivation for this newsletter. We cannot claim, like the Church, to be divinely infused with the Holy Spirit, but it is most definitely our hope that by sharing our collective thoughts and experiences at the service of Christ’s Church that we can obtain something greater and more meaningful than simply a collection of informative articles. Our work at O’Meara Ferguson integrates several different strategies to help address the increasingly complex challenges of the Church’s temporal affairs. But, like this newsletter, we work to bring those ideas and strategies together in more innovative ways so as to create something greater than the sum of their parts. For example, we have combined fundraising, stewardship education and development programs with operational consulting and new financing and asset management strategies to create complete, new, and heretofore unknown financial solutions for dioceses, religious orders, and Catholic universities.

Too often the financial needs of the Church are seen in isolation and met with siloed financial programs e.g., capital campaigns or bond financings. Alternatively, by integrating development, capital markets financing, and asset management with the right timing, mix, and emphasis to address systemic problems—rather than symptoms—wholly new and completely different solutions can be created. And when these new approaches are focused on truly growing the mission of the Church, they become much more than the sum of their parts. They become a new thing, a third thing, a Tertium Quid.

It is our sincere hope that you find this newsletter informative, enjoyable, and challenging. We also hope that in some small but special way, it serves to spark the thinking that will lead to new and more powerful solutions to advance the Church’s mission.

Good Steward Newsletter – March 2010
Practicing Our Faith Means Seeking Perfection in the Spiritual Life

"You should write about the Winter Olympics," my friend said.

"But I’m not a sports writer."

"I don't mean you should write about sports. Write about the discipline and sacrifices made by the athletes and their families. That's stewardship of talent in a big way!"

"I agree," I said. "In order to develop our talents and reach the potential that God gave each of us, we have to practice and make sacrifices. We see this forcefully with athletes, but it’s also true for all of us -- no matter what skills or abilities God has given us."

"Imagine the sacrifices that Olympic athletes and their families make," my friend said. “It's incredible. One family relocated to Colorado just so their daughter could ski race. Many borrow money and totally rearrange their family lives to support and assist a child who is an athlete in training." ...

read the full article

Catholic Education:
Living Off the Legacy

At its June 2005 meeting, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) approved the document Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium. This document is addressed to all bishops, priests,

deacons, religious, and laity and urges them “to continue to strive towards the goal of making … Catholic elementary and secondary schools available, accessible, and affordable to all Catholic parents and their children, including those who are poor and middle class.” The document is in response to the Bishops’ call to “the entire Catholic community … to assist in addressing the critical financial questions that continue to face … Catholic schools.”

In Renewing Our Commitment … the Bishops set forth four specific goals.



Catholic schools will continue to provide a Gospel-based education of the highest quality.


Catholic schools will be available, accessible, and affordable.


The Bishops will launch initiatives in both private and public sectors to secure financial assistance for parents, the primary educators of their children, so that they can better exercise their right to choose the best schools for their children.


Catholic schools will be staffed by highly qualified administrators and teachers who would receive just wages and benefits, as we expressed in our pastoral letter Economic Justice for All.

A decisive factor in achieving the Bishops’ goal to have Catholic education “available, accessible, and affordable” is to ensure that Catholic schools and Catholic school systems are fiscally sound and endowed to provide for their long-term economic health ...

read the full article

The Role of Annual Support in the Overall Development Program

In most basic courses on fundraising and development, students are taught that the first program to begin is a program for generating annual support. It has become a maxim in the advancement profession that an annual support program is an essential ingredient in any well-designed development effort. With this understanding, it seems strange that many annual support officers are left to wonder what their role is—and even their importance to the effort of the development program at their institution.

The four prime functions
To understand where annual support fits in development, it is important to understand the four prime functions of annual support:

  Educate prospective and current donors (Education),
  Acquire new friends and donors (Acquisition),
  Cultivate and build these initial and sometimes tenuous relationships (Cultivation), and
  Continue support from existing friends of our institution (Ongoing support).

There is no doubt that one of the most important of these four functions is education. Many donors base much of what they know of an organization on the materials they are sent. Everything must always be informative, but this is even more critical when asking for money. With the “ask”, we tend to have the donor's attention. This is a golden opportunity to provide useful and important information that may not be able to be communicated as effectively in any other venue.

Another very important function of the annual support officer is the acquisition of new friends and donors for the institution. In the well-known pyramid of donors, it is most often through annual programs that new donors are added to the bottom of that pyramid, and begin their relationship journey with the organization and its mission. This is when first impressions are made, and it is through annual support programs that most our donors gain these first impressions of an institution ...read the full article

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