Contact Us

A Handful of Wax - An Interview with Cory Howat on the Petrus Development Show

Jun 29, 2021

In this episode, Andrew visits with Cory Howat, Executive Director of the Catholic Community Foundation of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the founder of #iGiveCatholic. If you have ever spoken with anyone from Louisiana, odds are you have heard a good story. Today, Cory shared with us some wild tales of rubber chickens, crying with priests and bishops and even a brief mention of that time he met Michael Jackson that will not disappoint. In the midst of those stories, he also shared so many nuggets of wisdom about fundraising, stewardship, generosity and having a heart for serving the people of the Church. You’ll laugh, you’ll probably cry and you will definitely learn something new about development.

Show Notes:

Cory Howat, Executive Director of the Catholic Community Foundation of the Archdiocese of New Orleans and the founder of #iGiveCatholic



A prayer in his junior year of high school, "Lord, use me."

He became familiar with non-profits and getting his degree in marketing that was so needed for the church. 

His brother encouraged him to give the Lord one summer in college before graduating and using his degree. That led to him working for his first non-profit, which took him to Las Vegas and introduced him to development. 

Development is the transparent dot between the generosity of donors and the needs of the ministry. 


Catholic Community Foundation

Rebranded and added community side of the foundation to expand the generosity. Examine the idea of fostering generosity.  Look at your community and ask how do you give them opportunities for generosity. Seeing the need and role of fundraising in the church and asking how it becomes sustainable. How do you allow people to live out their call for generosity.

Story of burning the candle at both ends and why would we want to go to heaven with a handful of wax. When you start treating everything as a gift, you can share it with everyone.

When you do this you can naturally connect with your community.

Story of George W. Strake, Sr, Texas Oilman and Philanthropist. 


Giving and Stewardship in the Church

12% drop in giving in 2020 mostly due to covid according to an article in The Pillar.

There will always be excuses and you realize in a year like 2020, the level playing field. Inside of the bigger picture, the giving was a result of where they felt engaged and connected most. 

In some cases, covid was a true fear and for some it was an excuse to hide behind.

Rubber chicken story. A donor gave all these rubber chickens to the pastor in the middle of a meeting. He was trying to sell the pastor on putting in credit card machines so people can be generous. 

In the online giving space, we need to learn how to engage more personally when people are giving online. 


Conversations about Money

Movement and motivation behind money.

Your family of origin and that relationship with money. It can be used in coaching priests in talking about money. There is some healing or some affirmation that can come of that work of finding that connection with money and how we've been trained to see it. 

Learning to differentiate my experience with money isn't the same as another's experience. 

Money is not our king, it is merely a tool.


Go-to Advice

Write down how many times you've thanked your parishioners in the last year. What is the spirit of gratefulness and communication in your parish?

You're asking me how have I been generous, I'm asking you how have you been grateful.



An online giving day - why is the church not doing this? 

Celebrate community, allows people at a lower level to be generous and to celebrate that generosity. 

The church has room to grow and innovate. To be creative.

Check out Episode 26 with Julie Kenny to learn more about iGiveCatholic!


Lightening Round

  1. If you could fund-raise for any organization or cause at any time in history, what would it be?
    • The Vatican
  2. If you could get a donor meeting with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
    • Pope Francis 
  3. Is there enough money out there for every organization that's doing good work?
    • Absolutely
  4. What is one piece of advice that you would give your past self?
    • Give yourself permission, always, to do great things.
  5. Who are 3 people who have most influenced you, professionally?
    • Mom and Dad, His Wife, Peter de Keratry, Mike Perkins, Audrey Kinsey, Archbishop Aymond
  6. What is one fact about Cory that most people don’t know?
    • Met Michael Jackson!

If you would like to connect with Cory, you can reach out to him at: [email protected] 


Andrew's Take-Aways:

  • I loved Cory’s story about knowing from an early age that he wanted to work for the Church in some capacity. It inspired me to think of ways to speak to kids of all ages about the beauty and very real possibilities of having a career that feeds your family and does good at the same time. I’ve spent virtually my entire career in service to the Church in some way and I could not be more grateful for all the opportunities that it has afforded me. Now we just have to figure out how to build that culture among the youth of today. 


  • Cory spoke a number of times about how the Church needs to adapt to meet people’s generosity in today’s world and build a culture where that innovation constantly happens in the future. His story of creating #iGiveCatholic and even his rubber chicken story were great illustrations of how one person, if they place their trust in God, can have a significant impact. And his line about giving yourself permission to accomplish great things really struck me as well. If you are listening to this podcast, you should feel the same way too. 


  • How about that line, "you're asking me where I was generous, but I am asking you where were you grateful." Its a great exercise for priests, but also a great exercise for all of us. Whether you are currently working in development or not, what a great perspective to keep in mind all the time. Gratitude and communication are both so important to our work in fundraising but also in evangelization. And heck, sounds like we even coined a new word, gratitudication.


Hopefully this episode gave you some things to think about and be inspired by. If you think you want some help implementing any of these ideas in your work, don't hesitate to reach out. You can email us at [email protected] or go to to drop us a line. We’d love to chat. I will continue to pray for you and your work. Have a great day and god bless.

Enjoy this article?

Sign up below to be notified each time we post a new article.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.