Rick Frisch, fifth from left, heads a team effort to encourage philanthropy as the new president and CEO of the Catholic Community Foundation. (Courtesy Emily Piraino)
Rick Frisch, fifth from left, heads a team effort to encourage philanthropy as the new president and CEO of the Catholic Community Foundation. (Courtesy Emily Piraino)

The Catholic Community Foundation hired Rick Frisch as its new president and CEO April 1. Frisch will spearhead foundation efforts that support the Church’s mission and deepen its current donor base.

Catholic Community Foundation

Donors carry on Christ’s work through their philanthropy and put a financial floor under Catholic schools, parishes and organizations.

Info: (602) 354-2400 or www.ccfphx.org

He replaces Donna Marino who left a year ago to pursue work with a national organization helping victims of child abuse and neglect. John Sack, a longtime board member, filled the gap as interim president.

Frisch, a lifelong Catholic and accomplished foundation leader, launched a career in marketing that quickly turned to foundation efforts when someone offered a $2 million grant if he raised $5 million. Frisch found himself meeting a variety of entrepreneurs and business leaders who he said were doing very interesting things with their lives.

“Fundraising really is about education. It’s about engaging people in the program that you’re working for,” Frisch said. He noted that when it comes to the care of the Church — which the Catholic Community Foundation has overseen since 1983 — it’s about engaging with the bishops, ministry leaders and priests.

Frisch is excited to maintain current programs and develop a sense of focus that will support the ministries and apostolates of the Diocese of Phoenix.

“If we can give donors a better sense of how their gift is going to make an impact, they’ll be more responsive via personal gifts,” Frisch said.

He saw great success with the $70 million in management he worked with as a part-time consultant for the Diocese of Sioux Falls in Idaho. Frisch spent the last 18 years consulting there two days a month. He helped build the foundation — based on the university model Frisch had progressive experience with — and lay out strategies.

“They’ve been really successful in engaging people in a deepening of their faith and, as a consequence, a greater growth in Catholic philanthropy,” Frisch said.

Frisch spent roughly 15 years in executive positions for the foundations at Boise and Washington State universities. Before that, he served seven years with the University of Arizona Foundation in Tucson where he also earned a marketing degree.

He discovered such joy in part-time foundation work and the deeper spirituality that came with it, that discerning a return to Arizona was an easy choice for him and his wife, Tamra, and their three children.

Though only a month in as its new president and CEO, Frisch has already met many of the Catholic Community Foundation’s donors. He sees them as a faithful and committed group who care about the societal and educational issues of the Church.

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