Philadelphia Philanthropists Invest $2,000,000 in CLI and the Future

Catholic Leadership Institute is blessed to announce a $2 million gift from Philadelphia philanthropists Dick and Angela Clark, whose generosity will impact parishes and people across the United States.

A Gift Rooted in Brotherly Love

Philadelphia, the Clarks' home archdiocese, is literally translated as “brotherly love.” That is what this gift is about: love for our brothers and sisters.

CEO of Catholic Leadership Institute, Dan Cellucci, celebrates: “CLI is so thankful to Dick and Angie. This gift is not about one person… it is not about one parish or one priest… it is not about one archdiocese. It is about one Church. Dick and Angie deeply care for that Church. Catholic Leadership Institute is honored by the confidence that Dick and Angie have in our ministry. They don’t just support us philanthropically; they roll up their sleeves and work alongside us. That is what makes this gift so special.”


For the Clarks, faith always comes first. They believe that for our Church, our leaders, and our parishes to be strengthened, it will require effort, participation, and showing up.

Jesus constantly taught his followers about brotherly love – this love inspired them to go out two-by-two. This gift is already at work equipping parishes, priests, and people of God to go two-by-two and build our Church together.

FAMILY Focused

Dick and Angie’s love for family runs deep. They want not just their own family… but for all families to know Christ. Alongside their daughters and grandchildren, Dick and Angie are committed to furthering CLI’s ability to impact as many priests, pastors, bishops, lay leaders, and parishes as possible so that the Church will be here for generations to come.

Foresight for the FUTURE

This gift began out of a passion and interest for the CLI work being done in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

However, Dick and Angie’s vision is not local, it is universal. This gift will be shared around the country, benefitting whichever dioceses need this generosity most. It is a catalyst for national change, and we are already seeing incredible impact.

Dick shares, “When I think about what the vision is for the future of our Church, it is this: a vibrant welcoming faith community and pews full of engaged parishioners in every parish across the United States. This is a big responsibility – for CLI and for all of us.”

Further, Dick continues, “CLI has a great sense of accountability. Our strategic plan is powerful. But the real power lies in our three priority ministries – the Disciple Maker Index (DMI) survey, Next Generation Parish, and Called For More. That is where the work happens to foster engaged leaders, to create vibrant parishes, and to use real data to drive that vision forward. These three initiatives are the perfect storm.”

At the heart of Catholic Leadership Institute’s mission is brotherly love. Brotherly love is first about loving our Father. It is then about caring for others. Further, it is about sacrifice. CLI is grateful to Dick and Angie Clark for exemplifying all forms of brotherly love and for entrusting Catholic Leadership Institute with their greatest hopes for our Church.

$2,000,000 Gift Spurs National Ministry

Faith, family, and future have been the founding graces of the Clarks' generosity… in turn, their gift will allow Catholic Leadership Institute to help foster those same values in parishes across the United States.

Faith & Homework

It was faith that led Dick and Angie to the mission of Catholic Leadership Institute.

Introduced to CLI by a friend and fellow benefactor, Dick did his homework first.

“When I heard about CLI, I wanted to know more. I studied the organization: the programs, leadership, Board, and balance sheets. I read CLI’s 2020 Impact Report over and over again, and I said, ‘WHOAH. This is a pretty powerful organization in what they do and what their future is.’ It is not only my responsibility to help the local archdiocese, but to help the Catholic community at large. I said to Angela, ‘This place is special. This is where we need to invest our time and talent, not just our treasure.’ The time and talent are what matter. If you want a vibrant Catholic community for future generations, you have to participate.”

Click here to read that Impact Report

A Family That Gives Together

A member of the Catholic Leadership Institute’s Board of Trustees since May of 2020, Dick is the retired Chairman, CEO, and President of Merck & Co. Over the course of 39 years, he held a wide spectrum of senior management positions within the company’s manufacturing organization. Dick serves and has served on the boards of a variety of non-profits focused on healthcare, education, and faith. He is also an Army veteran and a graduate of Washington & Jefferson College.

Although his career is filled with many wonderful accomplishments, he is most proud of his family. He and Angela attribute their strong faith to the example of their own parents, and they aim to pass that same legacy on to their two adult daughters and three grandchildren.

One of the resources that Dick has a special affinity for is CLI’s Disciple Maker Index survey. This 75-question tool asks questions about parish life, spiritual journey, and passing on the faith. It is currently the largest collection of feedback in the Catholic Church. Questions within this tool can show if families within a parish feel equipped to pass the faith down to their children. Dick and Angie want to ensure that those parents have the same blessing of and support for passing along the faith that they and their own parents had. Endeavors like the Disciple Maker Index are what have sparked the Clarks' passion for CLI’s ministry.

The Clarks’ philanthropy is a family matter as they discuss all of their foundation’s giving with their daughters and grandchildren to teach them the power and importance of generosity.

An Investment in the Future

Dick shares, “I have seen the impact of what investing in the future can do – both locally and nationally. Discussing CLI and reviewing the progress CLI has made, I was so impressed with the impact that they are having in the Catholic community on a national basis. Why not invest in CLI? This organization has PROVEN that they can make a difference in being an enabler that supports parish and community growth. Investing in CLI is an investment in the future.”

Dick has a special place in his heart and drive in his soul to bring CLI’s three priority ministries– the Disciple Maker Index survey, Next Generation Parish, and Called For More to more parishes and people across the country. Inspired by the ways in which these three endeavors work together to support priests, strengthen parishes, and provide game-changing data, Dick truly believes they are the perfect storm.

CLI Founder, Tim Flanagan shares, “It is our responsibility to build the foundation for future generations of Catholics. Through their generosity, Dick and Angie are committed to doing just that. They want to ensure that the Church is there for their grandchildren and for all of our loved ones for generations to come. Dick is never afraid to ask the hard questions, to dive into the data, or to set unbelievably challenging goals. Both Catholic Leadership Institute and our Church are better for that tenacity.”

Catholic Leadership Institute profoundly thanks Dick and Angie Clark for all of the many talents they share so generously with others. Their hope for this gift is that it inspires others to join with them. To step up. To participate. As they like to say, “Giving is not a spectator sport!”

by Chad Peddicord

October 21, 2021

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