Welcoming back Heather!

We are so excited to welcome back Heather Fortin from her 5-year hiatus, at home raising her boys! Heather has assumed the role vacated by Kelly Bartmann.

  • Why did you return to work for the Catholic Community Foundation?
    • When I left the Foundation in 2016 it was after having my third child and I felt my call was to be at home with my children.  It was a hard decision as I enjoyed my work and the mission of the CCFESD.  When Mark called me in January to say Kelly Bartmann was retiring and asked if I would be interested in coming back to the Foundation, it seemed like great timing - I was starting to feel like I need something a little more challenging as my youngest is just finishing Kindergarten and my oldest will be starting middle school in the fall.
  • Tell us about your background and family?
    • I grew up in Conde, SD, graduated from high school there and then attended the University of South Dakota.  After college I moved to Atlanta and South Carolina for awhile until my mom was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease).  I moved home to be with her and help take care of her.  My sister, dad and I were able to take care of her at home and were all with her when she died.  I know it sounds weird, but experiencing her death, although incredibly  sad, was one of the most beautiful moments I've experienced. My husband Rod and I now live in Tea and have three boys - Henry (12), TJ (9) and Charlie (6).
  • How has growing up in a rural SD community (Conde) helped you in your work with the Catholic Community Foundation?
    • Growing up in Conde gives me a greater sense of the needs in very rural communities.  Conde no longer has a Catholic church, but does have Catholic people and a Catholic cemetery.   As the community becomes smaller, it becomes even more important for a source of funds that will provide money in perpetuity for the upkeep and care. 
  • When did you initially work for the Catholic Community Foundation and what were your responsibilities?
    • I initially worked for the CCFESD from 2011 - 2016.  I started as the Director of Specials events and was privileged to work with all of the volunteer committees involved in the Bishop's Charity Events.  In 2013 I moved to the gift planning team and was able to visit with and get to know many of our generous donors.  It was such a blessing to hear their stories of life and faith - an experience that I believe also helped me grow in my faith. 
  • What excites you most about your new responsibilities?
    • In my current role, I am again part of the Gift Planning team, but get to see it from a different perspective.  I enjoy working on the administrative side of things, making sure the generous gifts donors make while they are living are distributed according to their wishes to the cause or ministry they intended in perpetuity. 
  • Who is your favorite Saint and why?
    • My favorite Saint is Saint Julie Billiart.  Her feast day is April 8th.  I did not grow up Catholic.  Easter Vigil, when I entered the Catholic church, was on April 8th.  April 8th is also my mom's birthday. When St. Julie was 30, a mysterious illness paralyzed her and she became a complete invalid. She still taught the catechism and offered spiritual advice from her bedside.  Eventually she co-founded the Institute of Notre Dame.  When the first Sisters of Notre Dame made their vows, Saint Julie recovered from her illness and was able to walk for the first time in 22 years.
      My mom did not ever recover from her illness; at the end of her life unable to get out of bed.  The significance of April 8th and the similarities of their disease I think is what makes Saint Julie special to me.