Hackl Family Legacy: Doing God’s Work Together
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20
Albert James ‘Jim’ and Christine Hackl’s lives of generosity exemplify what Matthew shared in his gospel. As a couple, as a family and as members of two diocesan and parish communities their love of God was witnessed to those who encountered them. Through their generosity and spirit of community they help others experience Jesus in their midst and through their legacy.
Jim was born and raised in Bartow and he had fond memories and a lifelong love of the area. He moved to the north for his career. Jim served as president and chief executive officer of the Herff Jones Company in Indianapolis from 1968 to 1995. During his tenure as the head of the company, the manufacturer of class rings and other scholastic-related products achieved significant growth.
The Hackl’s were members of St. Luke the Evangelist in Indianapolis and Jim served as the co-chairman of the building committee for the construction of a new church sanctuary in 1981. Christine was raised a Catholic and believes the Catholic Church is the true church created by Christ. The Hackl’s raised their children Catholic and sent them to Catholic schools.
Later in retirement Jim and Christine moved back to Lake Wales. Their strong Catholic faith played a role in establishing endowments supporting Holy Spirit Catholic Church and charity for the poor of Polk County. These endowments helped them to continue the sharing of God’s love. Christine believes their children are also going to continue sharing God’s love as she anticipates the children will continue to be practicing Catholics and as she and Jim did, will pass the faith on to their children. Christine shares how being a member of the Holy Spirit parish community has shared God’s love with her, “After observing the food pantry at Holy Spirit and attending Mass, I see how godly and devoted the parishioners of Holy Spirit are and I know I am doing God’s work when I help them.”
Mr. Hackl died in May 2018. His Mass of Christian Burial took place in the church he helped to build in Indiana. In their Indiana community, the Hackl family endowments support the poor, Catholic education, pro-life education, formation of pastoral leaders and pastoral retirement. Their family legacy gives back to the faith that has supported their family throughout their lives. The impact from these endowments has made and continues to make a difference in many lives throughout the Catholic and broader communities of Marion County, Indiana and Polk County, Florida.
The Hackl children, Jim Jr. and Dorothy (Carl) Reiser, continue to build on their parent’s legacy of philanthropy. They, along with their families, visit the Holy Spirit community when they can. On one visit in 2018, they met with Father Vargas, pastor of Holy Spirit; Gary Tester, president of Catholic Charities of Central Florida; and Kimberlee Riley, President and CEO of The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, to review how the funds earned through the Hackl Endowments were being distributed to benefit those highest in need in Polk County and how to maximize efficiency of the process to ensuring more were served.
During the pandemic, the same group met via Zoom along with The Catholic Foundation CFO, Susan Hunt, and investment advisors, Concord Advisory Group, to strategize how to provide the maximum distributions from the Hackl Endowments during the market instability, within the spending policy, to address increased needs from the pandemic while preserving the fund corpus for the future. Out of compassion for those suffering in the community, the Hackl family offered donations in addition to the endowment distribution to serve the increased need.
“We are blessed to be inspired by the Hackl family who live their faith as active members of their parish communities,” shared Kimberlee Riley, President and CEO of The Catholic Foundation. “The Hackl family legacy exemplifies how we return our gifts to God, pass on our faith, strengthen family values and do God’s work together.”