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Donor Stories

Supporting Future Good Works Initiatives

Dorothy and Guido Bertucci
Dorothy and Guido Bertucci

For Dorothy and Guido Bertucci, their Catholic faith is the cornerstone of all they do. It informs their lives in a number of meaningful ways and finds expression, they shared, by “helping those in need.” The Bertuccis find that they are able to help those less fortunate by donating to the Cardinal’s Annual Stewardship Appeal and have done so for the past 40 years.

Dorothy also expresses her call to service through her committed work as a board member of the Ladies of Charity, an organization founded by St. Vincent de Paul in the seventeenth century with the mission of caring for the spiritual and material needs of those most marginalized by society. She shares membership in this organization with her mother, who celebrates 50 years of service with the organization this year.

Mr. and Mrs. Bertucci made the decision to support the future good works of the Archdioceses of New York through a planned gift. Explaining her choice to do so and hoping others might find inspiration, Dorothy says that she believes she has an obligation to help those in need and provide for those who cannot provide for themselves. Guido added that the decision to include the archdiocese in their will was an easy one. “Once people understand how the Church helps everyday people, the decision makes perfect sense.”

It is through the guided faith and generosity of donors like the Bertuccis that the archdiocese is able to assist the many people who turn to the Church for help each year.

“Everybody Wins” with Gift Annuity with Inner-City Scholarship Fund

Ed McDermott and Nancy Stein
Ed McDermott and Nancy Stein

For Ed McDermott and Nancy Stein of New York City and Long Island, planned giving with Inner-City Scholarship Fund was a “perfect proposition.” Ed is a semi-retired publishing professional. Nancy is a former dictionary editor, conservation framer, and art dealer. Both appreciate the transformative power of education—and they were already involved with Inner­-City Scholarship Fund when the idea of a gift annuity sparked their interest.

“We felt like we really wanted to share what we have, and we were open to doing more with Inner-City Scholarship Fund,” recalls Nancy. “Our gift of an annuity gives a very decent return,” adds Ed, also known as Mac. “So, for us, planned giving with Inner-City Scholarship Fund is a sound financial decision as well as an investment in education for children who need a hand. Everybody wins.”

When they signed on for planned giving, the McDermotts were sponsoring two students through Inner-City Scholarship Fund. Asked about the couple’s initial involvement, Mac explains that Catholic institutions provided his entire education. Supporting Inner-City Scholarship Fund, he says, has proved to be a great way to “give back for all I’ve received.”

“New York’s Catholic school system has been there for immigrants, working class, and poor people for a long, long time,” he points out. “We regularly contribute to a number of charities. We try to help as many as we can, but Inner-City Scholarship Fund is at the very, very top of our list.”

For her part, Nancy notes that the schools of the Archdiocese of New York are among the best schools anywhere. “They produced Mac, didn’t they?” she says with a gentle smile in her voice. “Unlike Mac, I’m not Catholic; I’m Jewish,” she adds. “But I don’t know how anyone could not be impressed by that 98% high school graduation rate. That kind of educational success in New York City’s poorest neighborhoods—it’s just remarkable.”

In addition to their connection with the scholarship fund, Nancy has donated and placed artwork—some of it from the collection of her mother, Lily Magazine—in two Catholic schools in lower Manhattan, with a third to come.

Grandparents of five, Nancy and Mac draw much satisfaction from being able to give a planned gift—which, by design, will “keep on giving” even after they’re gone. “Things won’t be getting appreciably better in the inner city any time soon,” says Nancy. Mac concurs. “There will be new generations of kids needing the hand we’ve been lending through Inner-City Scholarship Fund,” he says, “for years and years to come.”

How Terry Buoninfante Made a Gift from Her IRA to Honor Her Husband

Terry and Stan Buoninfante
Terry and Stan Buoninfante

On May 27, 2017, the day that would have been Terry and Stan Buoninfante’s 50th wedding anniversary, Terry was at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral attending the ordination of the first seminarian to benefit from the scholarship she established to honor her late husband. The Stan Buoninfante Scholarship Fund is financed by annual contributions from Terry’s IRA to help seminarians complete their educations.

Terry grew up in Yonkers, across the street from Saint Joseph’s Seminary. She met Stan, a businessman and musician, while he was performing with a wedding band. After their marriage in 1967 they went on to sing together in their church choir for more than 40 years.

Stan was a devoted husband and father to their two children. In his professional life he co-founded a company called Mod-A-Can and helped it grow into a leading domestic and international supplier of indicator display cases and components that can be found in many of the world’s most important commercial and military aircraft. “I always joked with Stan that he married Mod-A-Can in ’66 and me in ’67,” Terry says.

Stan was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in 2010 and eventually received a lung transplant. Terry felt the Holy Spirit was with them every step along the way. After Stan passed away from unrelated medical issues in 2013, Terry wanted to “do something to honor Stan” and decided she would like to sponsor the education of seminarians.

Terry had recently learned about the tax advantages of making a donation through her IRA. If you are aged 70½ or older, you can make a tax-free donation to the Archdiocese of New York from your traditional or Roth IRA. You can donate up to $100,000 annually, and the gift will count toward your required minimum distribution (RMD). An added benefit is that you pay no taxes on these gifts that are transferred directly from your IRA to the archdiocese. Terry has decided to donate her RMD each year to Saint Joseph’s Seminary to fund the scholarship in Stan’s name.

It was such a blessing to have the celebration of the first ordination funded by the scholarship coincide with the celebration of Terry and Stan’s love for each other and the celebration of Stan’s life and memory.

James Gill Seizes “Golden Opportunity” to Support the Church with Stock Gifts

James Gill
James Gill

James F. Gill’s entire educational experience was with Catholic schools. His Catholic education inspired him to “try to be helpful to the Church when possibilities arise.” A resident of the Diocese of Rockville Center, Mr. Gill became involved with the Archdiocese of New York through his friendship with John Cardinal O’Connor. Mr. Gill has been a longtime supporter and current board member of the Alfred E. Smith Foundation, which serves the neediest children of the archdiocese.

When funding a gift with appreciated stock, donors do not have to pay capital-gain tax on the increase in the value of the stock since the initial purchase—and they receive a tax deduction based on the current value of the stock. Mr. Gill, who has been married for 56 years to his wife Jacqueline, sees this giving vehicle as a “golden opportunity” and wants to make others aware of this tax-advantageous way to support the Church.

“My mother passed away when I was four years old,” he said, “and I was raised by my father and my aunts, Nell and Marcella.” Mr. Gill’s father served in the Navy during both World Wars I & II. Through his work with the Sisters of Life, Mr. Gill met “Sr. Marcella,” whom he found had attended the Naval Academy before becoming a nun. He was inspired to support the work of his dear friend Cardinal O’Connor and honor the memory of his Aunt Marcella by supporting the work of Sr. Marcella in a cause that is “essential in this day and age.”

Mr. Gill’s most recent donation to the Archdiocese of New York of appreciated stock was made in honor of Timothy Michael Cardinal Dolan because of his great admiration and respect for the Cardinal’s leadership and commitment to serving the Lord and our neighbors across ten counties as we all work together to demonstrate our Catholic faith in action, in parishes, schools, catechetical programs, Saint Joseph’s Seminary, and through a myriad of charitable activities.

Father Bettley Blends Gifts to Help Schoolchildren and Retired Priests

Emil Bettley
Emil Bettley

Father Emil L. Bettley attended Catholic school on a scholarship and has lived and served in the Archdiocese of New York his entire life. Now the retired priest who was once an accountant is giving back through a blended gift that will help young schoolchildren and aging priests.

Father Bettley’s blended gift includes a bequest in his will and a charitable gift annuity that pays him income for life. “I wanted income and I wanted to make a gift to the archdiocese, and this seemed like a way to accomplish both my goals,” he said.

Part of the gift will support the Inner-City Scholarship Fund. “When I went to school as a small child, my parents didn’t have to pay,” Father Bettley recalled. “And when my sister sent her sons to Catholic school, I helped her pay the tuition and other expenses. I think it’s important to help all those who want to have a Catholic education.”

His gift will also help retired priests at the Egan Pavilion. “I am living in the Egan Pavilion at the St. John Vianney priest’s retirement residence and see how difficult it is for many of my fellow priests who have spent their entire lives in service,” he said.

Father Bettley grew up wanting to be a priest, attending Mount St. Michael’s Academy and Manhattan College, but he couldn’t get into seminary without first taking Latin – and didn’t have the money for the course. He was then drafted into the military and served in Europe in the 1950s.

“At the end of my tour of duty I got a job as an accountant,” he recalled. “When I was traveling with my colleagues, they liked going to restaurants at lunchtime – but I preferred going to Mass. I spoke with a priest who told me that the Latin requirement had disappeared and I would be welcome!”

That launched his career at several parishes in the archdiocese; he retired in 2010 as parochial vicar at St. Ann Parish in Nyack. “I loved being a pastor, and I am pleased to be able to support children and my fellow priests,” Father Bettley said. “It’s important to support what you find meaningful in this life.”

Cardinal Egan’s Legacy Gift Contributes to Welfare of Retired Priests

Cardinal Egan
Cardinal Egan

Cardinal Egan was a man of many talents and interests. He was passionate about the opera, loved playing classical piano, and enjoyed an avid interest in science. But when he sat down to review his estate and think about a legacy gift, he made choices that reflected his lifelong devotion to the priesthood.

When Cardinal Egan wrote his will, he demonstrated an understanding of fellow priests who had limited financial resources when they retired. His will provided for the expansion of a retirement home for aging priests in Riverdale, New York, now called the Egan Pavilion.

Accommodations for retired priests have nearly doubled, and retired priests began moving into their new home this fall. The facility provides peace, serenity, fellowship, and the highest-quality care for these men who have dedicated their lives to serving the glory of God and the well-being of their communities. It is a tangible response to Christ’s call to help others. Cardinal Egan’s spirit of generosity shines through in his legacy gift to support retired priests, his fellow brothers in Christ.

Author Mary Higgins Clark Gives Back to the Archdiocese Where Her Education Began

Mary Higgins Clark
Mary Higgins Clark

The education that led to the best-selling career of suspense author Mary Theresa Eleanor Higgins Clark Conheeney began at St. Francis Xavier School in the Bronx and continued at Villa Maria Academy. As a faithful Catholic, Mary has continued to be very generous over the years to the Archdiocese of New York—much of it for financial aid and for the renovation of the Cathedral of St. Patrick.

“I’ve spent all my life as a parishioner and student in the schools in the Archdiocese,” says Ms. Higgins Clark. “As a recipient of financial aid, I feel it’s important for me to return the favor of my wonderful education by supporting Catholic schools in the Archdiocese.”

Ms. Higgins Clark says that “my faith has been an immense help to me in trying times.” She was just 11 when her father died. Six months later when her brother Joseph contracted a severe bone infection, she and her mother prayed constantly for him, and their neighbors—including her future husband Warren Clark—donated blood for the transfusions Joseph needed. Doctors predicted he wouldn’t survive, and she attributes his full recovery to the power of prayer. Five years later when Joseph died in the service, her mother said, “This time God wants him even more than I do.”

Ms. Higgins Clark was a widowed mother of five who was writing novels when she attended Fordham University, graduating summa cum laude in 1979. All of her 53 books have been bestsellers, and almost all of them have Catholic protagonists. Ms. Higgins Clark has received numerous honors from the church, including Dame of the Order of St. Gregory the Great—the highest papal honor for a layperson. She currently lives in Saddle River, New Jersey, with her husband John J. Conheeney.

She urged other Catholics to support the Archdiocese of New York. “Your gift will help people with nowhere else to turn, and I am very proud to say that,” she says. “I have always been a devout Catholic and continue to be one.”

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