Elizabeth Metts

Elizabeth Metts

MERRILLVILLE — Liz Metts has been hired as the new executive director of the Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana.

“Education will be a big part of my job,” said the Wanatah native and former development director for Opportunity Enterprises in Valparaiso. “I’m more of a producer, giving other people the tools to succeed,” said Metts, a graduate of Valparaiso University.

Metts explained that a friend, who worked at OE, introduced her to the mission of the nonprofit agency that, since 1967, has helped individuals with developmental disabilities reach their fullest potential. Metts started as an assistant technology instructor 11-1/2 years ago. After six months, she became OE’s full-time grant writer, and two years ago moved into the position of development director.

“I found my niche,” Metts said of nonprofit fundraising. Gathering knowledge of all aspects of fundraising and the strategy behind it while raising $3.2 million at OE, she said she likes “seeing all the parts fit together and, at the end of the day, knowing that it makes a difference.”

Bringing that expertise to the Catholic Foundation, which was established in 2008, Metts sees “a lot of room for growth,” as she meets individually with foundation board members and with past directors.

“I want to give our Catholic parishes and schools the tools to fundraise (for) themselves — for a building endowment, scholarships or whatever they need. I’ll be creating relationships with people (in the parishes) who already have relationships with people (they can reach out to),” Metts said. “I am excited to work with Bishop (Donald J.) Hying to reach out to every parish and see if an endowment is the right fit for them, and then to build it with them.”

Volunteer campaign directors “who have a feel for what works” in their own communities — be it fundraising events, letter campaigns or other forms of outreach — will be the key to successful endowment programs, Metts added.

The Catholic Foundation for Northwest Indiana works to empower people to express their faith by providing perpetual financial support for ministries, parishes, and schools of the Diocese of Gary.

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