Archbishop Patrick O’Donnell established the Archdiocesan Development Fund on November 9, 1969, with one clear promise:
“All investments will be safeguarded with scrupulous care. The fund will be conducted by qualified personnel as an efficient business enterprise and the conditions of investment will be adhered to absolutely”.
Catholic publications of the time reported that the ADF was established “to seek interest-paying investments from parishes, organisations and individuals for the purpose of creating loan funds to be used for the expansion of the Church in the Archdiocese, especially in the field of education”. Archbishop O’Donnell encouraged Catholics with sizeable investments in commercial institutions to transfer their investments to an organisation that would provide certainty, security and a role in the Church’s Mission. Investors were promised that the fund would provide “more parish schools, more Archdiocesan colleges, more education projects and more parish developments”.
That goal was quickly realised as the ADF attracted enough investment to propel the growth of the Archdiocese. After its first decade, the ADF had enabled the building of 24 Archdiocesan schools, 26 churches, 10 presbyteries and 10 convents. It had also helped to provide 212 extensions to schools. Some of the parishes that have become integral to the Archdiocese were funded during this fledgling ADF period.
Since these early days consistent growth has positioned the ADF as a fund for the modern era, meeting the financial and transactional needs of all Church entities. During its history, the ADF has never wavered from Archbishop O’Donnell’s promise to safeguard all investments. This commitment continues to be supported by Archbishop Coleridge as the ADF prepares for its 50-year milestone and for meaningful growth within the Archdiocese.