Donors support 34 ministries with $183K in grants through Catholic Foundation

Author: Dan Meloy Article republished with Permission by Detroit Catholic.


DETROIT — Catholic philanthropists provided $183,900 in grants to 34 ministries and nonprofits this year through gifts and contributions handled by the Catholic Foundation of Michigan.

The grants were awarded at the Catholic Foundation’s sixth annual grant awards celebration Dec. 13 at the Detroit Athletic Club.

Since 2017, the Catholic Foundation of Michigan has been the conduit of $22.1 million in grants and donations from generous individuals who have empowered 502 ministries throughout the state.

Representatives from this year’s grant recipients were on hand for the breakfast celebration, where Catholic Foundation of Michigan board chairman Chris Allen thanked both the ministries for their important work of “unleashing the Gospel,” and the benefactors whose contributions make these ministries possible.

Chris Allen, board chairman for the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, greets a grant recipient. A total of $183,900 in grants were awarded Dec. 13, a 35 percent increase from 2022.

“Looking around today, you do see the power of our shared story. The story of faith and generosity is more than a collection of experiences; they are a dynamic force that connects and empowers us as a community,” Allen said. “This morning’s program is a chance to step back and listen to the many shared stories that bind us together: stories of faith, hope and charity, dedicated to making a positive impact in our community.”

The various groups submitted grant applications to the Catholic Foundation of Michigan for consideration in seven categories, each highlighting a particular area of interest in serving the Gospel message.

Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron said each of the groups awarded with a grant were “living out the works of Acts 29,” a reference to a continuation of the 28-chapter Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament.

Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron thanks the donors who gave through the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, assuring them their contributions are a continuation of the Acts of the Apostles.

“When we discuss the stories of these various groups, we are talking about a continuation, an organic ongoing presence in the history of the very story of Christ himself, and I think that is very important for all of us to appreciate,” Archbishop Vigneron said. “We especially think about imitating today Blessed Solanus Casey, who always said, ‘Thank God ahead of time.’ We can thank God ahead of time for what will be accomplished in this shared story.”

Anthony Schena, chairman of the Catholic Foundation of Michigan’s Grant and Impact Committee, thanked all of the applicants, adding the grant celebration is his favorite time of the year.

“This morning we have the privilege to hear your stories of goodness and love; these are stories of people who have seen the goodness in this world and are responding with Christ’s compassion,” Schena said. “These are stories that are powerful and show us we all want Christ. In the Gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus teaches, ‘You are the light of the world, a city set on a hill cannot be hidden.’ The work of our grant recipients truly shines a light on our world, providing hope and healing countless lives.”

Paul Mersino, a committee member for the Catholic Foundation of Michigan’s St. Margaret of Castello Grant, speaks with Fr. Jim Lowe, CC, and Msgr. Chuck Kosanke.

This year’s celebration saw the creation of two new grants: The Laudato Si’ Grants, which were awarded to Immaculate Conception School in Ira Township and Madonna University, to encourage Catholic organizations to promote sustainability and care for the environment; and the St. Margaret of Castello Grant, which went to Divine Child High School in Dearborn for expanding its inclusive learning program.

Paul Mersino, a member of the committee that awards the St. Margaret of Castello Grant, spoke about his own experience with his son, Jacob, who has Down syndrome. The grant aims to help Catholic schools in Michigan be more inclusive for students with special needs.

Mersino said the purpose of the fund is to help schools acquire the funding and educational resources they need to help serve students with different abilities.

“Our schools are trying to keep their lights on and are doing amazing work with little money,” Mersino said. “We are telling schools, if you are willing to say yes to the least of God’s children, we will grant you this money to help you get started.”

Mersino made a personal appeal to donors in the room and supporters of the Catholic Foundation of Michigan to support the program, emphasizing what it would mean if all Catholic schools could be harbors for students with special needs.

“Whenever everyone in the community says, ‘We want this,’ that is when we will see the change, and that is when it will become our shared story,” Mersino said. “We need all the parents and everyone in the community to push for this. We applaud Divine Child in doing this, and once we make it our shared story, we can make it our shared success, and I’m confident we can do so.”

Learn more about our granting funds by watching the video below. For a full list of the 2023 grantees, please click here


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