By Jack Smith
Catholic Key Editor
KANSAS CITY — Paula Moss has successfully built up and revamped development programs for a number of non-profits throughout her career. Having completely overhauled the development efforts of Catholic Charities and the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph, the Vice-Chancellor for Stewardship and Development is about to tackle another challenge. After 11 years in the diocese, Moss will be taking her talents to Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, where she’s been recruited to oversee the college’s annual giving program.
“I’ve had a great experience working for the diocese,” Moss said, “and I feel honored to have been part of the leadership team here.” Moss said she has particularly enjoyed “working with the priests, getting to know them and help their parishes grow.”
As she prepares to leave at the end of this month, Moss gave great thanks for her staff in the Stewardship and Development Office “whose hard work and dedication made my life a whole lot easier,” she said. Moss also said she has enjoyed working with Bishop Finn. “It was an honor to work for the bishop.”
Moss graduated from Bethany College in 1990 with a degree in business management and economics. She’d done a lot of volunteering in college, “but thought you had to be a social worker to work for a non-profit.” Bethany’s Dean of Students, however, introduced her to a number of non-profit leaders who could use her talents and Moss ended up taking a position as a fundraiser for United Way in Wichita.
Four years later, her alma mater welcomed her back to campus to serve as Director of Planned Giving. While serving at Bethany, a board member of Catholic Charities in Wichita asked her to interview for a yet-to-exist development position. Moss took the chance and created the development program at Catholic Charities from scratch.
Catholic Charities was Moss’ first Catholic job and she’s been in Church ministry ever since. Working for the Church in development is “a good marriage of two passion – faith and serving the poor,” Moss said.
When her husband accepted a job in the Kansas City area, Moss was able to use her experience for the benefit of the Diocese of Kansas City – St. Joseph, becoming Executive Director of Catholic Charities Foundation.
Prior to Moss’ arrival, development at Catholic Charities in Kansas City was a half-time position and consisted mostly of events. Moss created a complete and comprehensive development program for Catholic Charities including an annual fund drive, major gift solicitations, car donation program, in-kind donation outreach, grant writing, as well as expanded events. The effort paid off and as a result Catholic Charities’ overall budget expanded with more money available for more services to the poor.
Moss’ success was quickly noticed by Bishop Robert Finn when he was installed as Bishop of Kansas City – St. Joseph and in 2005 he hired her as Director of Stewardship and Development for the diocese, later naming her Vice-Chancellor.
Moss recognized early on that the diocese needed to “re-haul the annual appeal.” The amount raised by the appeal was sporadic and every year the appeal was losing donors, Moss said. She introduced an overall goal for the appeal with individual parish goals, a major donor circle with special events, parish appeal coordinators, ministry speakers at parish Masses and a strategic, segmented mailing campaign. With this new discipline, the annual appeal grew from $1.5 million to $2.2 million and the number of donors to the appeal has increased each year.
Revamping the appeal was not the only way Moss expanded and improved the Stewardship and Development Office in the diocese. During her tenure the office began extensive stewardship education in parishes, assisting schools with their development efforts and assisting parishes with their own capital campaigns and planned giving programs. The Catholic Community Foundation was re-established and the Endowment Trust Fund grew from 9 to 14 million dollars in assets.
More recently, the Stewardship and Development Office has introduced an increased offertory program for parishes. About 40 parishes are expected to participate, Moss said. “It’s going well and we’re seeing good results.”
As an outgrowth of the Strategic Plan for Schools, the stewardship office created and oversees the Bright Futures Fund. The office is also in the middle of a feasibility study for a diocesan capital campaign largely for the benefit of Catholic education.
Moss’ passion for Catholic education makes her new position at Benedictine College a perfect fit. “When you talk about a Catholic college, they are a Catholic college – true to mission,” Moss said. “They are going to teach what the Church teaches.”
Moss is particularly impressed with Benedictine College President Steve Minnis’ mission for the college to graduate “strong academic minds with solid Catholic hearts,” Moss said. “What a way to influence our future leaders.”
Bishop Finn has appointed Steve Hilliard as interim Director of Stewardship and Development. He will remain in his position as Director of Strategic Planning for the diocese.
Hilliard said he will “continue to build upon the good work of Paula and all the people who work with her. I need to be a good steward of the legacy I’m benefitting from.” Immediately, he intends to round out this years annual appeal and “meet the many donors who have been with us a long time and those who have an interest in the future of the Catholic community.”
“I’m a little bit in awe of the extent of Paula’s involvement with the Catholic community,” Hilliard said. “She’s leaving a rich history that we need to honor.”