In 1973, the future of Catholic elementary education seemed uncertain. All around the metro Detroit area Catholic schools were closing because of financial constraints. Three years earlier the high school at St. Paul on the Lake Parish had closed due to financial pressures. Parishioners Tom (President of the Parish Council) and Lynn (Chairperson of the Education Commission) McGann began to worry about the future for their younger children. If they could close the parish high school, they could close the parish grade school as well. Such an action would terminate another pipeline of future Catholic adults. They agreed that something had to be done. In general yearly fund raising is usually consumed within a year. Something more was needed – something with long term staying power.
After thoroughly analyzing the problem and reviewing how other private institutions deal with cost issues, the McGanns concluded that an endowment or a trust should be established.
The McGanns then began the process of creating an Educational Trust for St. Paul School. Monsignor Francis X. Canfield (pastor at the time) was an enthusiastic supporter of the concept of a Trust from day one. Like any new idea the concept of the Trust took some convincing. It took nearly three years to convince the Cardinal and others that an Educational Trust was the answer to funding problems for Catholic grade schools, and to get IRS approval for section 501(c)(3) tax status.
The initial donation of $1,000 was made by Mr. John K. Roney and, with the encouragement of Msgr. Canfield, the trust has grown steadily with contributions from parishioners, bequests, and named scholarship donors.
In 1979 the first grant was made. Over the years the Trust has grown steadily from contributions and through prudent professional investment management. Grants have been used to purchase such items as computers, smart boards, text books, consumable materials, technology upgrades, and other instructional supplies, as well as contributing to faculty needs and supporting St. Paul’s religious educational programming and activities. The Trust is presently valued at approximately $1,700,000 and has disbursed over $1,150,000 in the form of grants.
Board of Trustees
The members of the original Board of Trustees were: Msgr. Francis X. Canfield, Frank Cousens, Jr., Treasurer, James H. Dingeman, William L. Hurley, John Imesch, Thomas F. McGann, Chairman, Philip J. Meathe, Theodore H. Mecke, Jr., Vice-Chairman, John K. Roney, and Robert F. Taylor, Secretary.
The current Board of Trustees includes nine lay trustees who have earned a total of nine undergraduate degrees, three post graduate degrees and eleven professional designations. All designations are business related. All Trustees serve on a voluntary basis and without compensation.
The purpose for which the St. Paul Educational Trust was formed includes the following:
- To aid in the support of present and future educational and instructional programs at St. Paul Parish
- To subsidize the cost of Catholic education for needy students who meet certain qualifications
- To financially support other related educational projects of St. Paul Parish
- To engage in other charitable, religious, and educational activities
The Educational Trust has been the beneficiary of many honorariums and memorials made in honor of or in memory of deceased parishioners, relatives, and friends. These gifts help ensure the financial stability as well as the academic excellence of the Parish educational program.