The Wyoming Catholic Ministries Foundation may well be the best (unintentionally) kept secret in our Diocese. Chartered in 1994, the WCMF was put together for the “…purpose of supporting the religious, charitable, ministerial and educational programs of the Roman Catholic Church in the State of Wyoming….” That was taken from the bylaws of the Foundation, and it is followed by some more jargon that satisfies the lawyers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really tell us much about why this Foundation is so important.
The structure of the WCMF is like many foundations, in that it is run by a Board of Directors and managed on a day-to-day basis by an executive director. But two things separate the WCMF from other foundations:
1. It is a Catholic foundation, and;
2. Its assets come from the people of the Diocese of Cheyenne.
The money is not from the ivory tower of some corporation in a far-off city. Rather, it is the product of labor and generosity and stewardship of individuals and families who have made the commitment to share what God has given them with the intention of helping others.
For example, a fund was established more than 50 years ago by an individual named Fred Ambrose. His wish was to help fund seminarian education, and in spite of the fact that he died quite a while ago, his name lives on in that the income from those invested funds continue to help defray the costs of educating seminarians more than half a century later.
Brother Martin Klietz, CFC, was a champion of Catholic education in Wyoming. Brother Martin was killed in a tragic car wreck outside Rawlins in 1992. His wish was to establish a fund to support Catholic education in Wyoming and, through his estate, that wish was realized. Brother Martin will be remembered forever for his commitment to Catholic education and his farsighted planning.
Brittney Farmer, the daughter of Randy and Cheryl Farmer, was an energetic and vivacious girl who as saddled with epilepsy. She never let that slow her down, however, as she was constantly on the go with her parents and her siblings. Randy and Cheryl were – and still are – supporters of youth ministry in the Diocese, and Brittney was an ever-present and ever-active part of their ministry team. She would brighten the days of everyone around her. The multiple challenges of epilepsy finally proved to be more than even Brittney could overcome, and she was called home to God at age 11.
A fund in her honor was started by the youth of her parish to help young people throughout the state to attend diocesan youth events. Brittney will always be remembered because of the hard work and generosity of her friends, her parents and her brothers and sisters. Wyoming Catholic Youth whom she never knew, and who never knew her, will be the beneficiaries of the love so many had for Brittney, exemplified by their thoughtfulness in establishing this fund.
These are just a few of the specific endowments managed by the Wyoming Catholic Ministries Foundation for the benefit of sustaining the ministries of the Diocese. There is also a Seminary Education Endowment, a Diocesan Operations Endowment and several endowments for the assistance of clergy, both active and retired. If you or your parish are looking for potential grant assistance, or if you are looking for a great way to make a charitable contribution, please remember our Wyoming Catholic Ministries Foundation!