Archdiocese Local

New network can help advisors assist both clients and church

Dan Hutchins addresses the crowd gathered at the inaugural Catholic Advisors Network event on Nov. 30 at the Polsinelli office in Kansas City, Missouri. He was joined by Kurtis Grothoff, Troy Kuhn, Emily Buckley and Jon Stanfield — a panel of experts who spoke about “Philanthropy and Giving Today.” LEAVEN PHOTO BY MOIRA CULLINGS

by Moira Cullings

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas (CFNEK) has much to offer donors and their advisors seeking to maximize charitable gifts.

Now, the relationship between CFNEK and those advisors has a new opportunity to flourish thanks to the creation of the Catholic Advisors Network.

“The Catholic Advisors Network is an organization of Catholic estate planning attorneys, tax accountants, financial advisors, wealth managers and insurance advisers,” said Jane Schmitt, director of development for CFNEK.

CFNEK sponsored an inaugural event for the Catholic Advisors Network at the Polsinelli office in Kansas City, Missouri, on the evening of Nov. 30.

Dozens of both experienced and young professionals turned out for the first-ever Catholic Advisors Network event at the Polsinelli office in Kansas City, Missouri, on Nov. 30. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MOIRA CULLINGS

Dozens of professionals had the chance to network and socialize before hearing from a panel of advisor experts on “Philanthropy and Giving Today.”

The panel of five was moderated by Casey Connealy of Gaughan and Connealy and answered questions about planned giving, faith-based giving, how the current tax law is impacting donors and more.

“We were very pleased with the turnout,” said Bill Maloney, executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development and CFNEK.

“We had a great mix of CPAs, attorneys and financial planners,” he continued. “It was also great to see both experienced professionals as well as young professionals.”

Benedictine College students talk with Morgan Wade, marketing coordinator at CFNEK, during the first Catholic Advisors Network event. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MOIRA CULLINGS

Many in attendance advise Catholic clients on charitable giving — both in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas and the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

Terri Lynn, associate director of the office of stewardship and development, explained that through the new network, members of her office and CFNEK will build relationships with Catholic advisors and enlighten them on the planned giving and investment products CFNEK offers.

“The archdiocese seeks to enhance the culture of giving by parishioners through their estate plans,” she said. “There is a great ‘transfer of wealth’ that will [be] passed down to heirs and charity over the next 20 years.”

Carla Mills, archdiocesan CFO, chats with other attendees at the Catholic Advisors Network event. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MOIRA CULLINGS

Lynn said Catholic estate and tax advisors “can be leaders in assisting our pastors to receive more legacy gifts now through planned gifts solutions, perhaps with a charitable lead trust, or later upon their death through a will.”

During the network’s inaugural event, Maloney introduced participants to CFNEK’s work in the archdiocese and expressed his hope for building a relationship through the network’s continuous events.

“It’s a great way for you to have fellowship with your peers and build meaningful business connections, share ideas [and] enhance charitable giving throughout our archdiocese,” he said.

“There’s many ways for you to help your clients maximize what they can do for their families, for charity and, in particular, the Catholic Church,” he added.

The Catholic Advisors Network offered opportunities to network and socialize followed by a panel discussion. LEAVEN PHOTO BY MOIRA CULLINGS

Maloney said the network will be a resource to help those in attendance assist their clients.

“Most of the time, you are the front line,” he said. “You’re the first person people talk to about how they’re going to grow their wealth.

“If you can have these charitable conversations with your clients, it will help us all at the end of the day.”

CFNEK plans to host quarterly events for the Catholic Advisors Network. Those interested in staying updated on future events are encouraged to call CFNEK at (913) 647-3062 and request to join its mailing list. To learn more about CFNEK, visit the website at:

About the author

Moira Cullings

Moira attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park and Benedictine College in Atchison. She majored in marketing, minored in psychology and played center midfield for the women’s soccer team. Moira joined The Leaven staff as a feature writer and social media editor in 2015. After a move to Denver, Moira resumed her full-time position at The Leaven and continues to write and manage its website, social media channels. Her favorite assignment was traveling to the Holy Land to take photos for a group pilgrimage in 2019.

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