The Leadership Roundtable was formed in March 2005 following a series of roundtable discussions aimed at offering ideas to assist the Catholic Church in the U.S.  

The initial meeting that would lead to the formation of the Leadership Roundtable consisted of a two-day conference at the Wharton School in Philadelphia in 2004, bringing together members of the Church hierarchy with leaders from the religious, corporate, and non-profit worlds to discuss ways to strengthen the management, financial structure, and human resources of the Catholic Church in the U.S.

Participants discovered that islands of managerial strength and excellence exist across the country at both the parish and diocesan levels. At the same time, others could benefit from learning about these best practices. A total of 48 recommendations were developed as a result of this gathering. The recommendations seek to strengthen apostolic governance and the management, finance, and human resource development of the Catholic Church in the U.S. at the parish, diocesan, and national levels.

As a result of the conference and in dialogue with various national Catholic professional associations involved in the issues of management, finance, and human resource development, it was determined that additional means were needed to strengthen the life of the Church. Specifically, a new, non-profit organization would be established to carry out this mission. The organization would work with volunteers from the business, academic, and non-profit sectors to facilitate collaborative efforts with church leaders. A principal organization in this effort has been FADICA, Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities, a consortium of private charities with interests in helping to create the new organization.

The goal is a Church that is stronger in the areas of management, finance and human resources and that more fully utilizes the talents and skills of all of the faithful.

Annual Leadership Roundtable membership meetings have been held at the Wharton School, Philadelphia, since 2005 (reports are available here), attended by laity, religious, and ordained who discuss excellence in the Church, the financial health of the Church, and other topics related to the management of temporal affairs in parishes, dioceses, and Catholic non-profit organizations.

Today, the Leadership Roundtable is structured on the business roundtable model, with membership including key leaders from organizations across the country. Target membership is approximately 225 individuals who are top leaders and key experts from the worlds of business, civic life, professional associations, foundations, universities, healthcare systems, vibrant parishes, and other organizations. Membership is attentive to the cultural representation of the church in the United States. Term limits ensure that there is a rotation of members, allowing more individuals and organizations to be a part of the Leadership Roundtable over time. Members partner with others outside the Leadership Roundtable to work on specific projects and activities.