Since its inception five years ago, lay-led foundation has facilitated more than $52 million in gifts from generous Detroiters
DETROIT — The Catholic Foundation of Michigan distributed more than $135,000 raised by generous Detroiters to 32 Catholic parishes, schools and organizations during its fifth annual granting ceremony at the Detroit Athletic Club on Dec. 15.
Since it was created in 2017, the lay-led, independent, Catholic fundraising organization has facilitated more than $52 million in fundraising for local Catholic causes, serving as a conduit for individuals, parishes, schools and nonprofits to support various initiatives, ministries, endowments and scholarships.
Over five years, the foundation has also announced more than 640 competitive grants totaling an estimated $16 million.
“Gathered in this room today, I see a dynamic group of people,” Angela Moloney, president and CEO of the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, said at the grant awards breakfast. “Some are old friends, some who haven’t realized they are going to be good friends. Many of you are supporters of the foundation, ensuring we have the funds to do this good work. Others are the hand and feet of the community, feeding the hungry, housing those experiencing homelessness, bringing the light of Christ to others.”
Thirty-two organizations were selected this year by the Catholic Foundation's Grant and Impact Committee based on the merits and scope of their projects. The grants were distributed in three categories: empowering social outreach, building vibrant parish life, and fostering Catholic education and formation.
Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron echoed Moloney's sentiments, expressing his gratitude for those performing acts of charity and service in the community.
“Angela’s remarks help us understand why these last days of Advent are an appropriate time for us to be celebrating these grants, which are made for the good works that flow from our faith in Christ,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “Evangelical charity and works of mercy exist because it is about the joy that comes from doing the work of Christ. I’m so grateful to the foundation, the board, and all those who gave to the foundation.”
The granting ceremony was a benchmark moment for the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, which will have new leadership as Patrick Fehring announced he will step down as chairman of the foundation’s board after leading the organization since its founding.
Fehring, who was presented with a memento from the foundation's new chairman, Chris Allen, said the Catholic Foundation of Michigan has shown what's possible when it comes to lay-led Catholic philanthropy.
“I want to thank the archbishop for making the decision to begin this endeavor of empowering Catholics to engage in philanthropy like this,” Fehring said. “As a banker, I like looking at some of the numbers, and to think four or five years ago, we distributed $75,000 in funds. In this past year, $8 million has been distributed for the 200-plus funds in the foundation. We gathered back here in 2016 with a vision, and I can honestly say I’m not sure I envisioned $8 million by the fifth year of operations.”
In addition to $135,300 in competitive grants awarded to this year's 32 recipients, the foundation also announced $332,200 in Catholic school scholarship grants in 2022.
The ceremony featured a video of select grant recipients who showed appreciation for the Catholic Foundation’s donors along with explanations of their ministries and the impact the grants will have on their missions.
Fr. Mark Wendling, SOLT, of Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Detroit, accepted a $5,000 grant on behalf of Del Dolor a la Gracia Ministry, which provides Christ-centered retreats for members of the Hispanic community who have been victims of sexual, psychological, emotional or physical abuse. Fr. Wendling said the grant will help mitigate the cost for retreatants to attending the retreats.
“The program began in the early 2000s as an offshoot of Rachel’s Vineyard (a two-and-a-half day retreat for post-abortive women and men), begun by Dr. Theresa Burke,” Fr. Wendling said. “(Burke) saw a need to have an intensive retreat for people who have wounds of abuse.”
Fr. Wendling said the only Spanish-language version of the retreat was in Phoenix, and parishioners at Holy Redeemer who attended the retreat in Phoenix wanted to host retreats in Detroit for the area’s Hispanic community, but the cost of such a retreat is prohibitive for many in Detroit’s Hispanic community.
“When they came back, they were inspired and adamant we had to bring the ministry here,” Fr. Wendling said. “That was two years ago when they came back and began the movement. We’re the second place in the U.S. to run the retreat; it accommodates up to 18 people, and we have 35 on the list who want to sign up. So there is a great need to keep having these retreats.”
Moloney expressed appreciation for all the grant recipients and the donors who make the grants possible.
Moloney also announced the creation of the Laudato Si’ Fund to support creative programs that build reverence and care for creation through environmental projects, named after Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si' (“On care for our common home”).
Moloney encouraged those interested in supporting Catholic ministries to consider setting up a fund or contributing to an existing fund through the Catholic Foundation's website.
“As you know, there is much need; more than $400,000 of applications came to us this year,” Moloney said. “While we wanted to support all of them, there just wasn’t enough. If you have it in your heart to give, we invite you to do so. If you have yet to support granting funds and are moved to do so, please join us. We delight in doing this good work because we see so much good that is happening. They just need the dollars to do so.”
2022 Catholic Foundation of Michigan Grant Winners
Empowering Social Outreach
All Saints Literacy Center, ESL – Personalized Tutoring ($5,000)
Alternatives for Girls, AFG Little Dreamers Early Childhood Program ($5,000)
Austin Catholic High School, Spiritual Growth and Service Initiative ($2,500)
Deo Gratias Ministries, Children’s Tutoring Center ($2,000)
International Samaritan, Detroit Samaritan ($5,000)
Life Remodeled, Community Engagement at the DIS – Community Events ($5,000)
Livingston County Catholic Charities, Christmas Blessing Project 2022 ($4,000)
Mary’s Mantle, Mentoring Program ($4,850)
Mercy Education Project, MEP Girls’ Program Middle School Project ($5,000)
Mother of Divine Mercy Parish, Mother of Divine Mercy Food Pantry Expansion ($5,000)
Seleh’s Center of Hope, Sanctitas Vitae ($2,500)
Siena Literacy Center (SLC), Siena Literacy Center Technical Upgrade Project ($5,000)
St. Leo’s Soup Kitchen, St. Leo’s Soup Kitchen Brown Bag Meal Program ($5,000)
St. Peter Claver Catholic Church, Men Bridging Change ($5,000)
St. Suzanne Cody Rouge Community Resource Center, Synergistic Catholic Community Resource Centers ($7,500)
Strangers No Longer, North Macomb Circle(s) of Support ($1,000)
Strangers No Longer, Strangers No Longer – “Toward Acts 3: 43-47” ($5,000)
The Lennon Pregnancy Center, Buckle up for Safety ($5,000)
University of Detroit Mercy, Health Profession Exploration Youth Summer Camp ($4,620)
Building Vibrant Parish Life
Art for God’s Sake, Apostolic Statues, Relics and Pilgrimages ($5,000)
Most Holy Redeemer Parish, Del Dolor a la Gracia ($5,000)
Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order, Capuchin South Kitchen ($5,000)
St. Aloysius Catholic Church, Evangelization Efforts in the City ($1,000)
St. Augustine St. Monica Catholic Church, St. Augustine St. Monica Evangelization Outreach ($5,000)
Fostering Catholic Education and Formation
Archdiocese of Detroit, Teen STAR Teacher Training ($500)
Cathedral Choir Academy of Detroit, Cathedral Choir Academy ($5,000)
Christ the King Catholic School, Finding Joy in Jesus-classroom evangelization ($4,000)
Detroit Cristo Rey High School, 2022 Student Worker through Corporate Work Study ($5,000)
Holy Redeemer Grade School, Student Spiritual Formation ($5,000)
Loyola High School, Student Faith Formation ($4,850)
Our Lady of Good Counsel, Fostering Relationships with Jesus at OLGC School ($1,000)
SS. Peter and Paul Jesuit Church, Spiritual Exercises for the City ($5,000)