Donor Stories

Monsignor Don H. Hughes

Monsignor Don H. Hughes was born in Greenwood County, Kansas in 1905. He came to Arizona with his family in 1917, and graduated from Tempe High School in 1924. Following a brief career in education, he decided to become a priest in 1930. He entered St. Thomas Seminary in Denver, Colorado and was ordained by Bishop Daniel J. Gercke on Easter Sunday, April 12, 1936 at St. Augustine Cathedral.

He served at parishes in Nogales, Tucson, Globe and Douglas. In 1946, Bishop Gercke appointed Msgr. Hughes pastor of a new Tucson parish. Bishop Gercke named the parish St. Ambrose; Msgr. Hughes gave the parish life.

During his 21 years as pastor he built the present church, rectory, school, convent, youth center, hall and a community swimming pool.

Msgr. Hughes believed very strongly in that every Christian was called to be a good steward. While at St. Ambrose he developed a ‘simple parish program to increase offertory income’ called Stewardship of My Offertory Giving Program, which he later revised with the title “The Joy of Giving.”

Msgr. Hughes fundraising abilities did not go unnoticed at the Diocese. In 1962, he helped establish what is now called the Annual Catholic Appeal. In 1964, the American bishops invited him to Rome to meet with the Vatican Council to discuss stewardship and tithing programs. In 1981, he was one of the original incorporators of the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson, which was established to provide financial support for religious, educational and charitable works in the Diocese of Tucson.

A firm believer that all Catholics should make a Christian will, Msgr. Hughes made a large bequest to the Foundation which established an endowed Memorial Fund in his name. A part of this gift is still used to provide annual support for the New Vision/La Nueva Vision.

“There is no guaranteed tomorrow. It is only natural, in making our wills, to leave something to those we love most. Whom do we love more than God?”

Msgr. Hughes passed away on September 14, 1994. In his funeral homily Fr. Philip J. Poirier remembered Msgr. Hughes in this way. “In this big frame the heart of a child and in the heart was charity.”

If you would like more information on how you can leave a legacy gift please contact Nancy Kirk at (520) 838-2508.

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Sally Maria Leonard

In 1983, Bishop Moreno received a letter from Sally Maria Leonard.

Sally Leonard and her husband, Laumer, moved to Arizona in 1958. They had both retired, she as a schoolteacher and Laumer as an attorney.

Sally was a graduate of Mount Saint Vincent’s Catholic College near New York City. She taught English and lip reading in the New York City school system for 18 years. She devoted the remainder of her career to formal academics for children with mental retardation, the first program of its kind in the nation.

Mr. Leonard died of a heart attack in 1979. On the day he was buried, Sally was robbed and brutally beaten and left for dead. Friends found her two days later. Following several months of hospitalization and therapy, she moved to Villa Maria, a retirement community. Although her body was very frail, bearing the crippling effects of the attack, she had long since forgiven her attackers. Her daily routine then for almost 13 years included Rosary and Mass in the chapel at Villa Maria. She seldom ventured far from her apartment, spending the rest of her day doing light housework, reading and corresponding with her sister, a nun with the Sisters of Charity at Seton Hill.

A visit with Sally was a special privilege. Living until the age of 91 had given her deep insight into the human condition. She believed that the majority of the world’s ills could be healed through a stronger faith in God and practicing one's religion. She also strongly believed in the need for society to place a higher priority on formal education for all students. During one visit, she reflected, “What's the sense of piling up a lot of money and not using it? There's too much greed in the world. You can't take it with you! Why not share with others what you'll no longer need?” Sally lived as she spoke. In 1989, she made a generous gift to help the Catholic Foundation establish an Education Endowment for financially deprived students. During an interview with Sally that year, she said, “I don't know how my parents managed financially, but I’m sure they sacrificed a great deal to ensure that my four brothers and sisters and I had college degrees. We weren’t a rich family, but we prayed together, stayed together and worked hard. My husband and I, God rest his soul, never had any children, but if we had, we would have made certain they went to church and school.”

Sally passed away peacefully on January 27, 1993. Her estate, in excess of $3 million was left to the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson.

Since 1993, The Catholic Foundation has distributed income from the Leonard Educational Endowment to Catholic schools throughout the Diocese.

If you would like more information on how you can leave a legacy gift please contact please contact Nancy Kirk at (520) 838-2508.

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Theresa Velasco Berg

There must be an unspoken law out there that says that generous people stay young. That would certainly be the case with Therese Velasco Berg. At 87, she is spry, active, and young at heart.

About ten years ago, Therese decided to set up a charitable gift annuity with the Catholic Foundation to support the work of Catholic Community Services.

“Jesus said to take care of the poor and those that need help,” said Therese. “It can’t get more basic than that for how to lead your life.”

Setting up a charitable gift annuity (CGA) made a lot of sense to Therese. She funded the CGA with savings and receives monthly payments at a set rate of return, which will continue for the rest of her life.

“It gives me income in my golden years, and after I die, the money will go to CCS so they can continue helping people. It’s a win-win.”

Born and raised in Tucson, Therese has enjoyed a full life. She earned both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Arizona and worked for the federal government for several years before becoming a public school teacher, and then later a counselor at Salpointe Catholic High School.

Today, Therese keeps busy enjoying activities with her friends, swimming laps to keep in shape, and participating in several community organizations.

While Therese still has a lot more life to live, she’s glad that she will be leaving something good behind. “It’s nice to know I will be benefiting people after I’m gone.”

If you would like more information on how you can leave a legacy gift please contact please contact Nancy Kirk at (520) 838-2508.

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Charlotte M. Dugan

Charlotte Dugan’s love of God, her faith and of St. Patrick Church in Bisbee, Ariz. will live on in perpetuity thanks to her daughter, Dorothy. “My mother was my best friend and I loved her so much, that when she passed away, I wanted to do something very special for her,” says Dorothy.

That special act was to donate a portion of her mother’s estate to the parish endowment fund. The endowment provides funding to support the parish and serves as an ever-lasting testament to the parish that has been such a significant part of its members’ lives.

The endowment was started by another long-time parish member, Ruth Whitehead. The funds are managed by the Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson which manages more than 60 endowed funds for parishes, schools and other Catholic agencies in the Diocese.

Charlotte’s name has been added to the Catholic Foundation’s Acts of the Apostle Society which was created to recognize those who have made a gift through their will or trust.

Charlotte came to live in Bisbee, Ariz. after she got married in 1938. She was a daily communicant, says her daughter, and volunteered as a lector with Dorothy as her back up. Charlotte and her husband owned and operated Dugan’s Funeral Home.

“I inherited my mother’s love for God and for our church,” says Dorothy. As a testament of her own, Dorothy matched the gift from her mother’s estate thereby doubling the resulting donation.

The family’s involvement with St. Patrick Church in Bisbee goes back to 1902 when they also owned the livery stable. The Nativity stained glass window, which is one of the church’s largest, was donated by Dorothy’s great aunt.

“The window is simply beautiful, especially in the winter,” says Dorothy. “As people go in for early Mass or the 6:30 a.m. Rosary, despite being focused on prayers and devotions, someone will point to the window as the sun is rising because the Baby Jesus lights up first even though the window is located on the west side of the building.“

Dorothy says that at that moment “we know the day has begun. We’re very proud of that window.”

Dorothy also feels a sense of pride at having matched the gift from her mother’s estate. “I know I wouldn’t be here without my faith and I love God and my church as much as my mother did,” says Dorothy. “If someone can donate to their church through their will, they should take the opportunity to do so. Remember, it’s the last time you’ll be able to give to your church.”

To learn more about how you can make a gift to your parish or school endowment fund, contact please contact Sal Polizzotto at (520) 838-2509.

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Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson
Stewardship and Charitable Giving
64 East Broadway Boulevard, Tucson AZ 85701
Phone: 520.838.2504 | Fax: 520.838.2585

Copyright 2017 Catholic Foundation for the Diocese of Tucson