SAGINAW — The Most Reverend Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, has appointed Debra K. Gunn to serve as the Development Director for the Diocese of Saginaw beginning on December 1, 2016. Debra is currently employed as the Director of Development for Catholic Charities of the East Bay, in the Diocese of Oakland, California. She will assume the diocesan Development Office responsibilities previously held by Daniel P. McKune who will be assigned full time as the Director of the Catholic Community Foundation of Mid-Michigan (CCFMM).
In the Fall of 2015, Bishop Cistone enlisted the assistance of Community Counseling Service (CCS) to evaluate the effectiveness of development operations within the Diocese and make recommendations on adjustments that would enhance financial giving and stewardship opportunities for the Diocese, parishes, and CCFMM. Separating staff resources so that the Development Office and the Foundation each have independent personnel was one of several recommendations offered by CCS to Bishop Cistone. This affirmed the Foundation’s judgment that the work and assets of the Foundation have grown in such a way that a full time director is required.
Debra will report to Bishop Cistone, serving as the chief fund-raiser for the Diocese on behalf of the Bishop. She will serve as the lead development and stewardship representative throughout the Diocese, establishing strong relationships with parishes and schools, Catholic agencies, donors, and key constituencies. As the Director of Development, she will be responsible for planning, managing, and coordinating the advancement programs of the Diocese which include major gifts, the Catholic Services Appeal, capital campaigns, special fund development events, and annual appeals. In collaboration with CCFMM, the Development Office will assess donor relationships and solicitation of gifts to align with fundraising needs throughout the Diocese.
“I am delighted to welcome Debra to the Diocese of Saginaw,” Bishop Cistone said. “Debra has an extensive background in diocesan and parish practices, charitable giving, stewardship, finances, and personal interaction with donors. She also brings enthusiasm and a deep commitment to the mission of the Church. Her gifts will serve us well in the restructuring of the diocesan Development Office and the continued strengthening of our evangelization efforts.”
Prior to her position in Catholic Charities, Debra has served in a variety of stewardship and financial roles including as Field Representative for Northwestern Mutual Financial Network in Walnut Creek, CA; Director of Pastoral Planning and Stewardship for the Diocese of Oakland; Northern California Regional Consultant for New Systems Alliance, Inc. providing Catholic parishes and schools with accounting and office software; Consultant and Controller for North American Medical Management; and Controller for PriMed Management/Hill Physicians Medical Group in San Ramon, CA.
Debra is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CRFE), a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and Northern California Planned Giving Consultants, and has been a member of the International Catholic Stewardship Council and the Council for Pastoral Planning and Council Development. She graduated from St. Mary’s College, in Moraga, CA, with a bachelor’s degree in management and attended the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology. Debra is currently pursuing a Master of Nonprofit Administration from Notre Dame University, IN.
“It is with great enthusiasm that I return to Michigan to serve Bishop Cistone and the people of the Diocese of Saginaw,” Debra said. “My roots are in the Saginaw and Midland area. As I reflect on this journey which I am about to begin, I believe stewardship is grace, gratitude, and generosity. From God’s grace we receive His gifts, we accept them with gratitude, and we share them generously. It is with this same faith I accept His calling to serve the people of this diocese.”
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The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw was established by Pope Pius XI on Feb. 26, 1938. Today, it includes 6,955 square miles across Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Huron, Isabella, Midland, Sanilac, Saginaw and Tuscola counties.