Catholic Foundation of Michigan awards $111,000 in grants in organization’s third year

Karen Fabian, a teacher at Shrine Grade School in Royal Oak, accepts one of five “Amazing Catholic Educator Awards” from the Catholic Foundation of Michigan during its annual awards breakfast Dec. 3 at the Detroit Athletic Club. This year, the foundation awarded $111,000 in grants to 33 Catholic organizations in southeast Michigan. (Photos by Valaurian Waller | Detroit Catholic)

Archbishop Vigneron announces 'Inspiring Innovation Fund' to support creative evangelization efforts; five teachers honored

DETROIT — On #GivingTuesday, the Catholic Foundation of Michigan was handing out grants, courtesy of generous donors who have supported the three-year-old nonprofit.

The Catholic Foundation of Michigan, with its mission of supporting the long-term needs of Catholic parishes, schools and ministries by inspiring charitable giving, met Dec. 3 at the Detroit Athletic Club for its annual grant awards celebration.

In total, 40 grants were distributed to 33 organizations across southeast Michigan, totaling $111,000, a 35 percent increase from last year, according to Angela Moloney, president and CEO of the Catholic Foundation of Michigan.

“We’re definitely growing, and that is what we’re most proud of,” Moloney told Detroit Catholic. “To date, we have granted more than $2 million since our inception (in 2017). On Giving Tuesday (dubbed the Tuesday after Thanksgiving), it’s really exciting to be here, giving to these organizations and supporting people in their philanthropy.”

Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron thanked Moloney and the Catholic Foundation of Michigan for its role in providing a service for Catholics to more easily support area parishes, schools and ministries. The foundation acts as a conduit for long-term giving by setting up endowments, grants and scholarships for different purposes.

In addition to various endowments and foundations that support Catholic organizations throughout the year, the Catholic Foundation's annual awards offer one-time grants to ministries and parishes through a competitive application process. 

The Cathedral Choir Academy of Detroit performs during the 2019 Catholic Foundation of Michigan Grant Awards Celebration at the Detroit Athletic Club on Dec. 3. 

“I give God praise and thanks for the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, the donors, recipients and applicants of these grants,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “I give praise and thanks to the board of the Catholic Foundation of Michigan. ... They are the ones who have done the work in establishing this organization.”

Moloney said the foundation received 90 grant applications this year, also a record number, a sign the organization is providing real value.

“Part of what we offer is the chance for grant recipients to tell their stories,” Moloney said. “We want to make sure the Catholic community in southeast Michigan hears and understands the good work that they do. Our grant process is very competitive, but we are training and helping these applicants become stronger applicants. It’s more than just granting dollars; it’s the training so if they want to take that grant request somewhere else in addition, they can.”

One of the grant recipients this year is the St. Louis Center, a caring, residential, family living and learning environment in Chelsea providing for the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of 70 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Thanks to the Catholic Foundation grant, the center is able to purchase a second wheelchair-accessible van to assist its residents.

“Currently, three residents are in wheelchairs and a number of others have limited mobility. Without a wheelchair accessible van, it requires four staff members to load a wheelchair-bound resident into a vehicle,” said Christina Ferris, development director of the St. Louis Center. “With a van, it requires just one staff member. This saves staff time and significantly increases the ability of our residents with mobility issues to be able to attend events in the community, which is something they greatly enjoy.”

Sr. Shelley Marie Jeffrey, CSSF, left, and Sr. Felicity Marie Madigan, CSSF, co-directors of Deo Gratias Ministries, chat during the breakfast. The ministry, which provides hospitality and social services to Detroit residents, was among the 33 grant recipients this year.

Deciding which grant applications to approve is the responsibility of the foundation's Grant and Impact Committee, chaired by Anthony Schena.

“We have four committee members going through each application, scoring them, and then we take the average score of those evaluations so it never comes down to one person,” Schena said. “We love to see the ‘faith component’ in these grants, when ‘unleashing the Gospel,’ is done in especially creative ways.”

The increase in donations and grants “shows there is still a need” even in good economic times, Schena added.

“People are still homeless, still in need of shelter, still looking to find faith and need inspiration. We still have mothers looking to choose life for their baby, and the CYO looking to instill the Catholic faith into sports. The list goes on,” Schena said.

The Catholic Foundation of Michigan also recognized five teachers for their years of service to Catholic education with a plaque and $1,000. The winning teachers included Karen Fabian (Shrine Catholic Grade School, Royal Oak), Kathryn Gross (Loyola High School, Detroit), Timothy Magg (St. Mary Central Catholic High School, Monroe), Marybeth Nicholas (Our Lady of Good Counsel, Plymouth) and Zoe-Ann Waters (St. Isaac Jogues, St. Clair Shores).

Archbishop Vigneron also announced the creation of a new fund, the “Inspiring Innovation Fund,” which will help grow creative evangelization programs in the Archdiocese of Detroit.  

Angela Moloney, center, president and CEO of the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, chats with Fr. Enzo Addari, SdC, chief executive of the St. Louis Center in Chelsea.

“As you know from Synod 16, we’re called to be a band of missionary disciples, transforming our culture to be bold, flexible and innovative,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “These grants will help grow the goodness of our parishes, schools and ministries when it might not be possible to do so with their own funds. So I give God thanks ahead of time, in the words of Blessed Solanus, for all the good that will be accomplished through the Catholic Foundation of Michigan.”

Three years into its existence, Moloney said the foundation has already made a significant difference in the Catholic community, thanks to the grace of the Holy Spirit.

“What sets us apart is we’re lay led, and people trust that,” Moloney said. “As a group of men and women with business experience, we’ve come together to ensure the Church will continue to serve.”

Catholic Foundation of Michigan 2019 Grant Recipients

The following organizations received grants in 2019 through the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, totaling $111,000.

Catholic Education and Formation

  • Cathedral Choir Academy of Detroit (Training and children's choir)
  • Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament (Alpha/RCIA, resources)
  • Gesu Parish, Detroit (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd development)
  • La Casa Guadalupana, Detroit (Evangelization retreat scholarships, summer program)
  • Loyola High School, Detroit (Solanus Casey enrichment trips)
  • Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order Retreat Center, Detroit (Tap Into Life)
  • SS. Peter and Paul (Jesuit) Parish, Detroit (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd development)

Social Outreach

  • Alternatives for Girls, Detroit (Maternal and infant health)
  • Catholic Community Response Team, Pontiac (Women’s housing assistance)
  • Christ the King Service Corps, Detroit (Radical missionary disciples)
  • Corpus Christi Parish, Detroit (Project Neighborhood Rebirth)
  • Crossroads of Michigan, Detroit (Basic needs assistance)
  • Knights and Dames of the Order of Malta Dental and Medical Clinic, Detroit (Smiles 2019)
  • Deo Gratias Ministries, Detroit (Deo Gratias Café)
  • Felician Children’s Center, Jackson (Emergency child care)
  • International Samaritan, Ann Arbor (Service immersion scholarships)
  • Lourdes Senior Center, Waterford (Seniors and high school students project)
  • Pope Francis Center, Detroit (Nutrition program)
  • Siena Literacy Center, Detroit (Technical upgrades)
  • St. Clare of Montefalco, Grosse Pointe Park (Neighbors Helping Neighbors)
  • St. Francis Church, Detroit (Reunion of families)
  • St. Louis Center, Chelsea (Wheelchair accessible van)
  • St. Peter Claver Parish, Detroit (Trinity Vicariate planning process)
  • The Servants of Jesus of the Divine Mercy, Clinton Township (Kitchen and outreach)

Vibrant Parish Life

  • Catholic Youth Organization (YEP! And CCIM coaching ministry)
  • Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, Detroit (Communications director)
  • St. Augustine and St. Monica Parish, Detroit (Neighborhood evangelization, celebrating feast days)
  • St. Francis of Assisi-St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish, Ray Township (Evangelization program)
  • St. Gabriel Parish, Detroit (Los violins de San Gabriel)
  • St. Mary Parish, Wayne (Technical upgrade of audio-visual resources)
  • St. Moses the Black Parish, Detroit (Office administration)
  • SS. Peter and Paul (Jesuit) Parish, Detroit (Freedom Fest encounter)