|Don Simbeck, left, and Bob Beuerlein recently met with Bishop David Choby after they decided to transfer the Edward and Mary O. Neidert Memorial Fund, sent up by the father- and mother-in-law to benefit Sacred Heart School in Loretto, with the Endowment for the Advancement of Catholic Schools Inc. In the background is diocesan Chief Financial Officer Bill Whalen. Photo by Andy Telli
Ed and Mary O. Neidert were supporters of Catholic education in general and the school in their parish, Sacred Heart in Loretto, in particular. So in 1989 they set up a trust fund of $50,000 to help the school.
Since their deaths, their sons-in-law, Don Simbeck and Bob Beuerlein, have been serving as the operating trustees of the fund. To keep the fund viable and with the hopes of increasing its returns, which in turn would benefit Sacred Heart School, Simbeck and Beuerlein, with the consent of the Neidert’s living daughters, recently transferred the fund to the Endowment for the Advancement of Catholic Schools Inc.
“It allows us to do more for the school than we’ve been able to do managing the fund ourselves,” said Simbeck.
“The people in Lawrence County certainly have been very generous,” Bishop David Choby told Simbeck and Beuerlein when they visited his office to officially transfer the funds. “It becomes an occasion of inspiration for others in the diocese.”
The Neiderts could trace their family roots deep into the history of Sacred Heart, which was founded in the 1870s to serve a community of Germans and German-Americans who bought land in the area through the German Homesteaders Association. Sacred Heart Loretto was one of several communities established in Lawrence County and northern Alabama by the association.
“Sacred Heart was an important part of their lives,” Simbeck said of his in-laws.
They had five daughters who all attended Sacred Heart School, Beuerlein noted. Their oldest daughter, Donna Simbeck, who died in 2005, was the organist at Sacred Heart Church for more than 40 years. Catherine Neidert Bradley was a long time teacher and principal at Sacred Heart. Anthionette N. Beuerlein taught at Sacred Heart for quite a number of years, left and then returned to serve as the school’s secretary. Their youngest daughters are Sharon Neidert of Richmond, Virginia, and Joan Newell of Houston, Texas.
“We were talking to (Diocesan Chief Financial Officer) Bill Whalen about various ways we could park the fund,” said Beuerlein. “EACS was the best sounding option.”
EACS has about 22 designated funds that benefit schools and educational programs in the diocese, including every diocesan school, said Whalen. The foundation also has several undesignated funds donated to the bishop to support Catholic education. The EACS board advises the bishop how to distribute the returns on those funds, Whalen said.
EACS has a total of about $3 million in all of its funds, which is invested for a return.
The foundation distributes a minimum of 5 percent each year and holds in reserve all undistributed earnings for future disbursements at the discretion of its board of directors. It has been averaging a return of about 11 percent over the last three or four years, Whalen said. The annual returns during that time have ranged from 9 percent to 32 percent, he said.
“EACS is one of our better performing funds,” Whalen said. “A percentage of the return will now go to Sacred Heart School.”
Anyone can donate funds to EACS to contribute to their favorite school on a continuing basis, Whalen said.
For more information about EACS or how to donate to the foundation, contact Diocesan Superintendent of Schools Therese Williams at (615) 352-7218, Diocesan Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving Ron Szejner at (615) 783-0278, or Whalen at (615) 783-0775.
Donors also can mail their checks directly to diocesan offices at the Catholic Pastoral Center, 2800 McGavock Pike, Nashville, TN 37214, with instruction about how the returns should be distributed, Whalen said. Checks should be made payable to the Endowment for the Advancement of Catholic Schools Inc.