Mike and Margaret Dunn first became involved in Mount St. Mary's Seminary & School of Theology (MTSM) in 2009 when they were asked to join the Bishop Fenwick Society.
Margaret previously served on the board of Theology on Tap with the Most Rev. Earl Fernandes, Bishop of Columbus, and the Very Rev. Anthony R. Brausch, Ph.D., President & Rector at MTSM, who at the time served as the Dean and member of the teaching and formation faculty at MTSM, respectively.
Mike explained he was just getting to know Rev. Fernandes and Rev. Brausch when he attended his first Bishop Fenwick Society Dinner. More than anything, Mike was surprised to hear there was only one person from the Archdiocese being ordained that year.
"I remember saying to Father Earl, `I can't believe so much time and money was invested and we are only graduating one priest.'"
Mike recalled Fr. Earl then responding, "I would love for you to talk to Fr. Ben because he thinks a lot like you."
At the time, Fr. Ben (Rev. Benedict O'Cinnsealaigh), was serving as the President & Rector at MTSM.
"That was the catalyst that resulted in me becoming much more involved in helping the Seminary," said Mike.
"I joined the Strategic Planning Committee of the Board, and one of our first goals was to dramatically increase the enrollment at the Seminary and to provide the resources to support the seminarians."
The Strategic Planning Committee works with the President and Rector of MTSM to develop long term strategies for the Board. Mike continues to support this committee today along with the Development Committee.
"I enjoy working with people who are always looking forward and who want to make the institution stronger," shared Mike. "The leadership teams formed by Fr. Ben and now Fr. Anthony have been agents of positive change, and that is fun to be around."
The Dunns' donate to the Seminary through a Donor Advised Fund (DAF). A DAF is a charitable investment account for the sole purpose of supporting non-profit organizations. You can contribute cash, securities or other assets to a DAF and generally take an immediate tax deduction. Then the funds can be directed to any IRS-qualified public charity at a later date.
"If you intend to give money to charities, DAF's can make your dollars stretch further. You can also continue to grow those funds tax-free, which should give you more money to donate to the charities you care about."
"It's easy to understand the return on investment at the Seminary," said Mike. "Even during a period where the Church has faced headwinds, the Seminary is producing strong numbers of quality priests. These priests fuel our parishes, schools, hospitals and other missions. That is easy to get behind."