On Tuesday, May 16, 2023, the Catholic Foundation of Michigan publicly introduced the newly formed St. Margaret of Castello Granting Fund.  The event was sponsored by Corporate Travel Service in its beautiful event space and hosted John and Kristan Hale—along with event hosts Mr. Ken Weingartz, Rod and Karen Mersino, Angela Moloney, Paul Mersino, and Joe and Laura Viviano.  The gathering was held to announce the creation of the St. Margaret of Castello Fund and inspire the community to join the Fund’s efforts.

It was attended by over 60 people and consisted of moving personal witnesses from families impacted by the desire for inclusive educational options for children with significant learning differences. A presentation by Paul Mersino on the history and purpose of the Fund, a video of the successful inclusion program at St. Mary’s Catholic Central Monroe, as well as a call to action by Foundation President and CEO, Angela Moloney.   The event concluded with questions and answers and numerous pledges of support from those in attendance, including an anonymous matching contribution of $200,000.  It was an unforgettable evening, and everyone there could attest to the passion in our Catholic community for this cause and the work of the Holy Spirit.

Named after the patron saint for disabled children, the St. Margaret of Castello Fund was established with the purpose of facilitating access to Catholic education for children who have been traditionally excluded from Catholic schools due to their learning differences or special needs.  The Fund—administered through the Catholic Foundation—is seeking to raise up to $5 Million in order to provide grants to Catholic schools who wish to create or expand an inclusive special education program willing to teach all students who apply, even those with intellectual disabilities such as Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, or other similar needs.

In addition to granting funds to schools, the St. Margaret of Castello Fund is also compiling research, resources, and other information that it can provide to schools interested in starting such a program.  This “playbook” is a best-practices compilation that can be used as a framework for schools to adapt to their own specific needs.  The goal of the organization is nothing short of full inclusive special education programs at every Catholic school, whether K-8 or high school.

Be inspired to join the St. Margaret of Castello Fund’s mission as we strive for fully inclusive special education programs in every Catholic school. While the Fund has already received generous support, there is still much to raise and accomplish. Whether you are a volunteer, educator, parent, or donor, discover how you can contribute and learn more by visiting the St. Margaret of Castello website today. Explore the stories of resilience, learn about our initiatives, and discover the meaningful ways in which you can contribute to this transformative cause. Together, we can build a more inclusive future for all children.