Vatican Questions How Priest Moved $17 Million Meant For Missionary Work Into Investment Fund

The Vatican is seeking clarity after the former director of its U.S. missionary fundraising office oversaw the transfer of at least $17 million of its endowment and donations into a new nonprofit and private equity fund that he created and currently manages, The Associated Press has learned.

The new management of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States, which raises money for the Catholic Church in the developing world, has written off most of that money – the $10.2 million it invested in the private equity fund — as a loss since “there is no timeline and no guarantee of investment return,” according to its latest financial statement.

The money was transferred from TPMS-US into a New York-based nonprofit, Missio Corp., and a private equity fund MISIF LLC created by the Rev. Andrew Small while he was the national director of TPMS-US. Both financial vehicles aim to raise capital to provide low-interest loans to and investments in church-run farming initiatives in Africa. MISIF LLC is known as an impact investing fund because it seeks to do social good as well as provide a financial return

The bulk of the money was transferred to Small’s new initiative in 2021, right before Small ended his 10-year tenure at TPMS-US. Small, a British-born Oblate of the Mary Immaculate priest, remains CEO of Missio Corp., which manages MISIF, while now serving on a temporary basis as the No. 2 at the Vatican’s child protection advisory board.

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