Generosity of Spirit through Time – Talent – Treasure
The Pillars Trust Fund can trace its roots to the founding days of Montreal’s English-speaking Catholic community.
The Early Years
Since the early 1800s, members of the community have banded together and given generously of themselves and of their time, talent and treasure to build their community. The results of their work are clearly evident today. The existence of institutions such as Camp Kinkora, St. Mary’s Hospital, the Father Dowd Home, the St. Patrick’s Orphan Asylum* (now *Montreal St. Patrick’s Foundation), Foundation of Catholic Community Services, Catholic Community Services (CCS), St. Patrick’s Square, and a wide array of social service and educational institutions, reflects the depth of the community’s commitment to look after its distinctive needs.
In 1972, it became apparent that the community needed to consolidate its fund-raising efforts to support its services. In response, Most Reverend Leonard J. Crowley, Auxiliary Bishop of Montreal, founded The Pillars Trust Fund. Over the years, many services, programs, and organizations blossomed because Bishop Crowley had vision and confidence: vision to see what was good for the community, and confidence in those who came to him with ideas.
Affirmative Spiritual Leadership
The late Bishop Leonard J. Crowley guided and inspired the work of The Pillars Trust Fund for a quarter of a century, completing his final term with the Fund in June of 1997. The late Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte expressed his admiration for the services rendered by Bishop Crowley to the English-speaking Catholic Community, pointing out that he had represented the community in a clear and enlightened way, with courage and effectiveness.
Bishop Crowley’s successors on the Board of the Pillars Trust Fund were the late Bishop Neil Willard (1997); Bishop Anthony Mancini (1998 to 2008); Monsignor Sean Harty (2008 – 2012); and at present, Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Dowd E.V., Director for the Office of English Pastoral Services, wholeheartedly continues to contribute and to share in the spirit, mission and work of the Pillars Trust Fund with a vision to the future. The Mission of Pillars is recognized, endorsed, encouraged and supported by the Pastoral and Spiritual leader of the Archdiocese of Montreal, his Eminence Archbishop Christian Lepine.
For 43 years, thanks in no small measure to the dedication and inspired leadership of Pillars’ Presidents, Bishops, Episcopal-Vicars and volunteer Directors, millions of dollars have been raised by the Pillars Trust Fund and have been used to provide genuine support for its community needs. The Diocesan Priesthood Guild, the Vocations Office, Newman Centre at McGill University and the English Speaking Catholic Council are some of the client beneficiaries that have made a great difference in the lives of many English Catholics in the community.
Dedicated Volunteer Members
The Pillars Trust Fund Board of Directors is composed of members drawn from the English-speaking parishes of the Archdiocese of Montreal. All are volunteer members who give generously of their time, talent, treasure and expertise and include representatives from banking, law, life insurance, accounting, business, community and social service agencies, religious and the priesthood.
Thanks to the hard work of its committed volunteers and the generosity of its many supporters, The Pillars Trust Fund is building a solid foundation for future generations of English Catholics by ensuring that all members of the community — clergy and religious, lay people, singles and parents, young and elderly — have access to counselling, spiritual guidance, educational programs and many other services (see our list of beneficiaries).
English Catholic Community
The Pillars Trust Fund depends on the generosity of the entire English Catholic community — approximately *319,855 people in 37 separate parishes — to carry out its vital work. *That figure represents the Montreal region, and it is taken from Statistics Canada 2011 Census.