This fund will provide camp scholarships for Black/African American youth to attend Camp Sancta Maria.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly everyone on the globe. People who were already vulnerable, however, have been disproportionately affected by the virus itself and its economic impacts. Among the most vulnerable globally are people who live in garbage dump communities.

International Samaritan  is an Ann Arbor-based nonprofit organization that empowers residents of garbage dump communities to break out of the cycle of poverty. Through academic scholarships for children, and responsive community development, International Samaritan serves in six nations. 

On November 12, 2020, International Samaritan shared its ministry at a virtual event hosted by the Catholic Foundation on behalf of the Jesuit Friends and Alumni Network.

“These garbage dumps are unregulated and there’s little control over what gets put in the dump and who gets to be in the dump,” shared Mike Tenbusch, president of International Samaritan, during the event. “As a result, they are very dangerous places from a humanitarian and an environmental perspective.” 

During the event, Tenbusch and International Samaritan’s Country Director of Ethiopia, Selam Terefe shared about the obstacles communities have faced during the pandemic, and the work International Samaritan is doing to overcome them.

Angela Moloney, President and CEO of the Catholic Foundation, reflected on the effect the event had on her team. “The entire Catholic Foundation team grew from our time with International Samaritan during the JFAN event,” said Moloney. “Their mission is so critical, but especially right now.”

As Tenbusch reflected on the event, he noted the camaraderie he felt in sharing an event with the Jesuit Friends and Alumni Network, a group whose spirituality aligns closely with that of International Samaritan. “It was a neat event for us because we were founded and led by a Jesuit priest for 24 years, and when we grow into various countries, one of the first things we do is link up with the Jesuits who are there,” Tenbusch said. “It was really rewarding for us to be able to speak to people who also support and love Jesuit ministries.”

Finding support among and camaraderie within the Catholic community is not a new experience for International Samaritan. In fact, it’s one of the great benefits Tenbusch has noticed since partnering with the Catholic Foundation in December 2019, when International Samaritan opened an endowment fund with the Foundation.

“I sleep well at night knowing that the money we have in our fund with the Catholic Foundation is not in businesses whose operations don’t align with our values,” shares Tenbusch.

“Angela and the Foundation team do a great job supporting and bringing together like-minded Catholic organizations,” Tenbusch notes. “It’s always exciting to be in partnership with people who are motivated by the same values and vision.”

Grounded in the seven principles of Catholic social teaching, it’s also important for International Samaritan that its money be used in ways that uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church. Speaking to those who may be interested in opening an endowment fund with the Catholic Foundation, Tenbusch reflects on a couple of benefits:

“If I were in that position, I would want to make sure of two things: That my investment is stewarded well from a financial perspective – that my dollars wouldn’t be invested in businesses that I disagree with from a Catholic point of view – but also that I was getting a good rate of return. The Catholic Foundation of Michigan has stewarded our investment really well and I sleep well at night knowing that the money we have in our fund is not in businesses whose operations don’t align with our values.”

Learn more about opening an endowment fund with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan.

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Since its opening in 1960, hundreds of women, men and children with intellectual and developmental differences have benefitted from the homes and services provided by the St. Louis Center (SLC) in Chelsea, Mich. This year has been challenging for both staff and residents at SLC, due to the pandemic. The year has been memorable for another reason – 2020 is the Center’s 60th anniversary.

Coach John Beilein visited the St. Louis Center to celebrate their 60th anniversary and put on a demonstration of basketball drills for the residents and staff with their teammates.

Like other organizations, the Center’s events went virtual this year. Former University of Michigan Men’s Basketball Coach John Beilein was the celebrity host of their 60th anniversary event on October 22, 2020. The event began with mass followed by an hour with Coach Beilein and players from his 2012 team along with other local celebrities. An auction was held for the opportunity to have dinner with Coach and his wife, Kathleen, once the pandemic is over. The event raised about $25,000.

SLC provides year-round care people ages 5 to 70+, which includes building a support system that addresses all aspects of each person’s well-being and spiritual development. In 2018 SLC opened Guanella Village, a one-of-a-kind “intentional community” of mixed housing that further enhances fellowship, socialization, and support.

The St. Louis Center also opened an endowment with the Catholic Foundation in 2018, a partnership which has extended beyond just the stewardship of SLC’s fund.

“The Catholic Foundation of Michigan helped us get grants, which we have used most recently for equipment for playgrounds and mobility support for elderly members of the community,” shared Development Director, Ms. Christina Ferris

St. Louis Center is facing many unanticipated costs due to the pandemic, including a big increase in staffing costs, as well as cuts in government reimbursements, and a significant drop in fundraising revenue–all leading to a $600,000 shortfall.

Alongside the increased financial need, SLC also has long-term goals for expanding their kitchen space, transferring residents to newer buildings, updating the administration building, and developing duplex and single-family dwellings.

The SLC would like to continue operating at the same level of care and dignity for its residents, but they cannot do it without your contributions. Please consider giving to St. Louis Center’s endowment as it celebrates its anniversary and cares for a population who has been deeply impacted by the pandemic.


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Dear Catholic Foundation Friends and Fund Holders,

With the holiday season upon us and the year-end, our team is prepared to meet your philanthropic needs and goals.

Please note the following important upcoming dates:

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On Dec. 1, 2020, known as #GivingTuesday, the Catholic Foundation of Michigan awarded $120,750 in community grants to southeastern Michigan parishes, schools and nonprofit organizations during the Foundation’s third annual grant award celebration. The challenges of COVID provided the opportunity for over 100 community leaders to gather virtually and join in this remarkable, joyful celebration of giving.

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