Retired diocesan leader honored for lifetime of stewardship

Jerry Hilbrich

The Diocese of Orlando’s former Chief Financial Officer, Gerald “Jerry” Hilbrich (above center, with wife Peggy), was presented with the 2013 H. Clifford Lee Lifetime Achievement award on November 22, during a National Philanthropy Day ceremony sponsored by the Central Florida chapter for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP).

In awarding the honor, the AFP described Jerry, a St. James parishioner, as “a servant leader and role model to those who aspire to excellence in their chosen field and at the same time serve the community.”

Jerry accepted the award at Orlando’s Ritz-Carlton Grand Lakes hotel before an audience of approximately 400 guests representing a wide variety of local charitable organizations. During his acceptance speech, he spoke about the importance of caring for the people around you, noting that “stewardship begins at home, with the values you pass on to your family.”

At Jerry’s request, the cash honorarium that accompanies the award will be used to support the work of Catholic education in Central Florida.

“The Hilbrich family believes that Catholic education is the ‘greatest work of the Church,’” said David Odahowski (pictured above right), President of the Winter Park-based Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, where Jerry recently retired as Chairman of the Board. “Catholic education prepares young people to know God in their life and share their fullness of faith with the world.”

The award is named for H. Clifford Lee, also a past Chairman at Edyth Bush and a previous recipient of Lifetime Achievement honors. The AFP established the award to recognize an individual who demonstrates a history of exceptional leadership in philanthropy, is actively engaged in the Central Florida community, and inspires stewardship in others.

Jerry’s commitment to Central Florida began in 1984 when he moved from Portland, Oregon to Orlando to begin a 33-year career with the Florida office of the international accounting firm KPMG. After retiring from KPMG, Jerry served for three years as President of United Arts of Central Florida before accepting the position of Chief Financial Officer at the Diocese of Orlando.

During his tenure as CFO, Jerry helped spearhead the 18-month diocesan Synod, Starting Afresh from Christ, and was instrumental in establishing the Catholic Foundation of Central Florida as a wellspring for local Catholic philanthropy.

Motivated by the Christian philosophy of “doing well by doing good,” Jerry has been involved in numerous civic and philanthropic causes throughout Central Florida. In addition to his longtime work with the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, Jerry has been active with the Heart of Florida United Way, Junior Achievement of Central Florida, Rollins College, and the University of Central Florida.

The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida wishes to congratulate Jerry and to thank him for his many years of servant leadership within the Church.

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