Donations at Work
The National Religious Retirement Office (NRRO) coordinates the annual Retirement Fund for Religious (RFR) collection and distributes the proceeds to eligible religious communities. Some 31,000 elderly sisters, brothers, and religious order priests benefit. The RFR underwrites financial assistance, consultation, and education that help religious communities meet the immediate and ongoing needs of aging members.
Roughly 94 percent of donations directly aid senior religious and their communities. The remainder is used for administration of the funds and promotion of the nationwide appeal.
Proceeds from the annual Retirement Fund for Religious appeal enable the NRRO to distribute financial assistance to hundreds of religious communities each year.
The majority of donations—ordinarily 80 to 90 percent—are distributed as Direct Care Assistance. Direct Care Assistance is a per capita distribution based on specified criteria, including level of need. Religious communities may apply annually for these funds, which can be used to help meet such immediate costs as nursing care and medications or saved for long-term retirement expenses. Additional funding is allocated throughout the year for communities with the greatest needs and for retirement education and programming.
The NRRO collaborates with an extensive network of volunteer consultants who share their time, experience, and expertise to offer practical assistance to religious communities. On-site consultations by experts in eldercare delivery, finance, and community leadership provide hands-on support in addressing funding shortages and planning for long-term retirement and eldercare needs.
The majority of consultations take place in conjunction with Planning and Implementation Assistance, a program designed for religious communities with critical deficits in retirement funding. By combining financial assistance with extensive consultative support, Planning and Implementation Assistance helps participants address their most-pressing retirement challenges. Religious communities can also take advantage of Eldercare Consultations, which assess the cost and quality of eldercare delivery as well as long-term retirement needs and available funding.
Proceeds from the Retirement Fund for Religious underwrite educational opportunities that are designed to enhance eldercare and promote comprehensive retirement planning. Resources include workshops, publications, online tools, and a quarterly webinar series co-sponsored by the Avila Institute of Gerontology. The Tending the Vineyard video series offers free, online videos and accompanying support materials to promote effective property planning. Funded by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the videos feature guidance from property experts and insights from religious who have completed congregational property initiatives.
Qualifying religious communities may also apply for Management and Continuing Education Assistance, which offers funding for the acquisition of basic management tools and for ongoing education in eldercare, financial management, or fund-raising.