The following article features the Catholic Foundation’s 2023 Spirit of Innovation Recipient, UTG At Work. To learn more about the Catholic Foundation’s granting funds and impact, please click here.

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Author: Gabriella Patti
Republished with permission from Detroit Catholic

Dr. Kevin Grady tells local professionals Catholic upbringing directly impacts his vision, values as a health care leader

DETROIT — Dr. Kevin Grady’s Catholic faith informs every decision he makes as both a medical professional and as regional president and CEO of Ascension Michigan.

The hospital executive and doctor spoke Jan. 24 to a handful of local professionals during the second healthcare leadership roundtable hosted by a new apostolate, UTG at Work, whose mission is to help Catholic working professionals bring their faith into the workplace.

The roundtable, sponsored by the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, was preceded by Mass at St. Aloysius Parish in downtown Detroit, followed by the luncheon talk and discussion led by Dr. Grady at the next-door Westin Book Cadillac hotel.

Launched in 2023, UTG at Work (“UTG” is short for “Unleash the Gospel”) was created to help “women and men understand their identity as missionary disciples, equip them to discover their unique mission from God and support them as they joyfully deliver faith and witness to Christ and the Gospel in the workplace,” according to its mission statement. The apostolate is led by Deacon Michael Houghton, former director of missionary strategic planning for the Archdiocese of Detroit, and Mary Martin, a former coach and team leader in the department.

At the request of Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, who supports the apostolate, Deacon Houghton and Martin said the first few events are focused on leaders in the healthcare industry. However, the talks are open to anyone.

The roundtable, sponsored by the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, was preceded by Mass at St. Aloysius Parish in downtown Detroit, followed by the luncheon talk and discussion led by Dr. Grady at the next-door Westin Book Cadillac hotel.
The roundtable, sponsored by the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, was preceded by Mass at St. Aloysius Parish in downtown Detroit, followed by the luncheon talk and discussion led by Dr. Grady at the next-door Westin Book Cadillac hotel.

The roundtable, sponsored by the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, was preceded by Mass at St. Aloysius Parish in downtown Detroit, followed by the luncheon talk and discussion led by Dr. Grady at the next-door Westin Book Cadillac hotel.

A Catholic outlook makes a real difference in the world of health care, Dr. Grady told those in attendance. The difference can be seen not just among the staff, but also with patients.

“(At Ascension), we offer faith-based health care rooted in the loving ministry of Jesus,” Dr. Grady said. “We commit ourselves to helping all people, with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable. We are advocates for a compassionate and just society. The common thread of why associates stay at Ascension St. Johns is not the salary. It’s not the food. It is the commitment to faith-based Catholic health care delivered to everyone, especially those in need.”

At the request of Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, who supports the apostolate, Deacon Houghton and Martin (pictured above) said the first few events are focused on leaders in the health care industry. However, the talks are open to anyone.
At the request of Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, who supports the apostolate, Deacon Houghton and Martin (pictured above) said the first few events are focused on leaders in the health care industry. However, the talks are open to anyone.

There are major disparities in health care, Dr. Grady said, and to make sure care is delivered justly, health professionals need to consider how to make health care equitable, rather than equal. For example, he said, medical conditions may impact different communities in different ways, which should inform a healthcare professional’s approach to treatment.

UTG at Work is led by Deacon Michael Houghton (pictured), former director of missionary strategic planning for the Archdiocese of Detroit, and Mary Martin, a former coach and team leader in the department.

At the request of Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, who supports the apostolate, Deacon Houghton and Martin (pictured left) said the first few events are focused on leaders in the healthcare industry. However, the talks are open to anyone.

Amidst a healthcare crisis in which physicians are currently in short supply, Dr. Grady said a personal goal is to help guide new doctors and nurses as they transition into the field. He has served on the Wayne State University Medical School Admissions board for 10 years, a position he first occupied after realizing that the current class had only two individuals of color.

“That is not (representative of) the community that they serve,” Dr. Grady said. “I wanted to be on the medical school admissions committee. Over those 10 years, we changed the medical school class at Wayne so it looks like the community it serves. What we’ll now have are physicians who are trained here who stay here.”

“(One) question (I ask) is, ‘If the golden rule is treating people the way you would like to be treated, what is the platinum rule?’” Dr. Grady said. “For the first time in nine years, someone answered that correctly in about six seconds. He said, ‘Oh, it’s simple: Treat people the way they would want to be treated.’”

“My job is to be part of changing how we deliver health care: we deliver it to everyone,” Dr. Grady said. “We do it for the right patient, at the right time, at the right place, at the right price, with a smile. So is that directly from my Catholic upbringing? Darn right, it is. Because if I do it that way, I can maintain my mission, my vision, and my values.”

Learn more about the  Catholic Foundation’s granting funds and a full list of the 2023 grantees by clicking here

GIVE NOW TO THE SPIRIT OF INNOVATION FUND

Create your own Granting Fund:
Contact the Catholic Foundation to learn more: Info@CatholicFoundationMichigan.org

Monsignor James A. Moloney, a beloved figure in the Detroit Catholic community and a tireless servant of the Church, passed away on January 3, 2024. Msgr. Moloney has been a strong supporter of the Catholic Foundation’s mission since its inception, opening its first three endowment funds.

Born on June 18, 1930 in Detroit, he dedicated his life to faith and service. Ordained on June 2, 1956, his journey led him to St. Joan of Arc Parish in St. Clair Shores, and later, to a lifelong mission with the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.

Monsignor Moloney’s passion for mission work was extraordinary. Over six decades, he visited 58 countries, delving into the conditions of those served by the Pope’s Missions. His commitment elevated Detroit as a leading diocese in global mission support, contributing over $200 million to missionary activities worldwide.

His impact extended beyond his credentials, though. Msgr. Moloney tirelessly wrote to supporters, visited parishes, and built relationships, sharing his love for the Church in far-away places. Msgr. Moloney’s life was filled with passion for the missions and love for the people he served. He leaves a legacy that will continue to inspire many.

In this time of mourning, we join together in prayer for the eternal repose of Msgr. Moloney’s soul and express our profound gratitude for his decades of service. His life was a testament to the power of faith and the impact one individual can have on the lives of many around the world. Let us honor his memory by continuing to support the missions and embody the spirit of selfless service that he exemplified.

In lieu of gifts, donations may be made in Msgr James Moloney’s honor to St. Anselm Parish and/or the Msgr. Moloney Endowment Fund for the Benefit of St. Anselm School.

Msgr. James Moloney Obituary

Learn more about Monsignor and his impact:

Detroit Catholic |  After 62 years, Msgr. Moloney passes the torch
Detroit Catholic | Decades after they could have retired two priests never thought of stopping
Catholic Foundation | Educating God’s Children: St. Anselm Catholic School Endowment Fund

St. Margaret of Castello grant will help Divine Child High School serve students with developmental disabilities

By Jamesena Ingram, Director of Instructional Support Services, Divine Child High School

“Inclusion is not bringing people into what already exists, it is making a new space, a better space for everyone.”

We heard this quote while speaking about inclusive education with another Catholic high school, and it sparked an idea. What if Divine Child High School created a new space, a better space for those who have historically not had access to a strong Catholic education?

More than 10 years ago, we developed and launched our Instructional Support Program to offer students with diagnosed learning differences (ADHD, dyslexia, etc.) the opportunity to receive a strong Catholic education, regardless of their learning differences. Today, we have more than 100 students in our program, which has become a destination for these students and their families.

However, the program still had its limitations. While we were equipped to serve most students with learning differences, we were still unable to properly serve those with more significant differences, including students with developmental disabilities such as Down Syndrome and certain levels of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

With the help of the Catholic Foundation of Michigan’s St. Margaret of Castello grant, however, this will no longer be the case. Thanks to this grant, DCHS will open its doors to students with more significant learning differences. Our spark is now on its way to becoming a reality.


Partnering for Potential

The building blocks are already being put in place for our new program. In August, we developed the “Partnering for Potential” program, which equips current DCHS students to partner with students with more significant learning disabilities in order to welcome and immerse them into our student body.

Student leaders enroll in Partnering for Potential to support these students throughout the school day, shadowing partners in an academic class period, modeling age-appropriate academic and social behavior, guiding academic intervention, and promoting improved outcomes in the areas of independence and socialization. This partner support is an evidence-based practice proven effective in increasing opportunities for students with significant learning differences to access general education settings and curricula.

While Partnering for Potential primarily takes place in the classroom, partnership activities may extend to nonacademic settings and after-school activities. Divine Child Principal, Anthony Trudel, said the role of student partners increases engagement in the school community and builds friendships that extend beyond the brick and mortar of the school building. “This groundbreaking program will not only enrich the lives of students with significant learning differences and their families, but it will develop all participating students for lives of responsibility, leadership, and faith in action,” he said.

An Important Mission

Father Bob McCabe with Jim Keyes at the Grant Awards Breakfast 2023.

As we lay the groundwork for this new program, we look forward to what lies ahead. Our new students will ultimately have their own dedicated space and work with a dedicated teacher who is trained and experienced in working with students with significant learning differences. In addition to immersion into the classroom, these students will also learn life skills, receive job coaching, and receive specialized instruction.

Divine Child Pastor Fr. Bob McCabe said he is excited that DCHS will continue to be a guiding light when it comes to inclusive Catholic education, and he is grateful for CFM’s support through the Spirit of Innovation grant.

“We are so thankful for the generosity of the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, the St. Margaret of Castello Fund, and all those who are collaborating with us on this journey,” Fr. McCabe said. “As Pope Francis said, ‘the mission of schools is to develop a sense of truth, of what is good and beautiful.’ This grant, and this program, helps us achieve this important mission.”

Give Today to Support Inclusion Grants 

Learn more about the St. Margaret of Castello Fund 

 

In 1983, Pope John Paul II called for an evangelization that was “new in its ardor, its methods and its expression.” He called for a new evangelization as a way of bringing the Good News to people who had lost their zeal for the faith because the old ways of doing things were not as effective as they once were. And for the past 40 years, the Church around the world has experimented with different ways of making this happen.From this effort came the great pastoral letter Unleash the Gospel (UTG). UTG has guided the missionary efforts here in the Archdiocese of Detroit for seven years now, and it has been read and adopted by several other dioceses around the world as well. It’s a masterpiece of what it means to be a Church on mission.

In 2019, in response to the Archbishop of Detroit’s message in Unleash the Gospel, the Catholic Foundation was called upon to create the Spirit of Innovation granting fund. The Spirit of Innovation Grant called for Catholic parishes, schools, and organizations in the archdiocese to develop, launch, and grow new initiatives, ministries, and approaches that share the Good News with all, forming joyful missionary disciples.

Photo courtesy of Valaurian Waller | Detroit Catholic

The 2023 Spirit of Innovation Grant was awarded to UTG At Work, an apostolate that was started in July of 2023 as an outgrowth of the pastoral letter. Its mission is to help women and men live their faith and witness to Christ and the Gospel in the places where they work.

Deacon Mike Houghton

The workplace is one of the most important areas where the new evangelization can and should take place. UTG at Work aims to help that happen by offering podcasts, articles, videos, workshops, and leadership roundtables to give people the tools and encouragement they need to joyfully and confidently live their faith at work.

“We are very grateful for the Spirit of Innovation Grant that we have received. We will use this grant toward Leadership Roundtable discussions where industry leaders share how they live their faith in their workplaces,” shared Deacon Mike Houghton.

The apostolate’s next Leadership Roundtable will be on January 24, 2024, with Dr. Kevin Grady, President and CEO of Ascension Michigan.

“Sometimes it is hard to be authentically oneself at work, especially when one’s co-workers don’t share one’s faith,” said Houghton, who spent 35 years working a secular career in engineering at General Motors.

“You don’t have to check your faith at the door when you leave church on Sunday and pick it up again next Sunday when you come back. This is important to me because, in some ways, I did leave my faith at church during my time at GM. I didn’t have an option,” Houghton said. “As I got further along and became a deacon, I realized it doesn’t have to be that way. That’s not what God told us to do. When he said, ‘Go and make disciples,’ he didn’t have any clauses in there about ‘not at work.’”

To learn more, visit www.utgatwork.org.

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

GIVE NOW TO A GRANTING FUND

Create your own Granting Fund:
Contact the Catholic Foundation to learn more: Info@CatholicFoundationMichigan.org

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The Catholic Foundation of Michigan joyfully announces the launch of the Capuchin Fraternity Fund.

The Capuchin Fraternity Fund will help sustain the Capuchin friars of the Province of St. Joseph, headquartered in Detroit, and honor their dedicated lives of ministry and service.

The Capuchin Fraternity Fund was established at the Catholic Foundation of Michigan to provide generous donors with the opportunity to ensure the longevity of Capuchin’s life and ministry through a perpetual endowment. “A fund at the Catholic Foundation of Michigan gives our donors an option to see their generosity live on through this legacy endowment,” shared Brother Nicholas Blattner, O.F.M. Cap.

Through 2023, your gift to the Capuchin Fraternity Fund will have double the impact, thanks to a generous $15,000 matching gift. Your contribution will be matched dollar-for-dollar, making your support go even further in ensuring the longevity of the Capuchin mission. Donate today to help the Capuchins unlock a $15,000 new fund match. A gift of any amount can show your encouragement to these faithful men and help them carry out their vital ministry for generations to come.

“I have long admired the work of the Capuchin order. In college and early in my career, I volunteered at the soup kitchen and with Earthworks Urban Farm, noticing the humble example of the brothers. This endowment is the fruit of the gratitude our community has for their mission and life,” said Angela Moloney, President and CEO of the Catholic Foundation.

“The entire team at the Catholic Foundation has been a pleasure to work with. They made setting up a fund at the Foundation a straightforward process. As a bonus, their investment strategy is 100% in line with Catholic Social Teaching, so you do not have to worry about your hard-earned dollars supporting a company engaged in immoral activity,” said Brother Nicholas.

The Capuchin friars have been a vital force for good for over 150 years in our area. Many friars dedicate their entire lives to serving the people of God, and this endowment seeks to support them during their retirement years as they transition from active ministry to a ministry of prayer and presence in the friaries. Additionally, the fund will play a crucial role in covering the medical costs of aging friars. Education is a key focus as well. In a world where the cost of education is steadily rising, this fund ensures that Capuchin friars are well-prepared for their future ministerial roles throughout the Province.

The Capuchin Fraternity Fund is more than a financial endeavor; it is a testament to the enduring spirit of generosity, hope, and service that defines the Capuchin way of life. Together, with the community’s support, the Capuchins embark on a journey to create a lasting impact on the lives of those they serve and the Church they cherish.

“The Capuchin Fraternity Fund not only believes in the good work going on today but believes in the good work that will occur beyond our sight. It is a fund that is founded on hope for the Church. Hope for the future. Hope for the poor and hungry,” shared Brother Nicholas.

We hope you join us and double your gift to the Capuchin Fraternity Fund!

Give via Credit Card to Support the Capuchin Fraternity Fund

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Create a Fund for a Cause You Are Passionate About

Republished with permission from OnTrack Wealth Management.

There is an epidemic of loneliness in the US.  The Surgeon General issued an advisory calling attention to a public health crisis of not only loneliness, but isolation and a lack of connection in our country.  This can lead to mental health challenges with risk for premature death comparable to smoking daily!  We bring this up because health is arguably, if not easily, much more important than wealth.   Afterall, an old adage that I believe in goes like this: a healthy man has a thousand dreams while a sick man has but one.

So, what are we doing to build connectivity in our lives?  Depending on your personality, where you live, and how you live, it may in fact be difficult to find companionship and interpersonal connections.   That said, it is so important to try to stay connected and thwart a sense of loneliness and isolation.  Studies of Blue Zones – places around the world that statistically produce more centenarians – show that purpose in life and social connection are two of the most important elements for living longer and healthier lives.

That brings us to the concept of community.  I think about community a lot.  What it means is up for some interpretation, but I see community as a place of belonging and shared values.  It is not a code word for homogeneity where everyone thinks or looks the same.   Instead, it is a place where people can share space, come together, and interact with others.

When we founded OnTrack Wealth Management, we debated for several months on the subject of having a bricks and mortar office.  We started our business in 2020 in the thick of a worldwide pandemic; at the time it seemed smart to be a virtual organization that can connect with people anywhere, anytime.   And yes, community can be created virtually! However, we decided that community also needed to be face-to-face.  With that in mind we bought a former dental office, gutted it, and purposefully re-built our space with a strong sense of collaboration and community in mind.

A couple of months ago, we met with a friend – a successful individual and family man who saw an opportunity to do something meaningful.  His mission: help children with different learning abilities find educational and social support within Catholic schools. Thus was the beginning of the St. Margaret of Castello Granting Fund to support K-12 special education in Michigan Catholic Schools.

Jacob Goda, the first graduate of SMCC’s inclusion program in Monroe.

This past week, it was our honor to host, at our office, a community of people so that they could learn more about the St. Margaret of Castello fund.  We shared food, drinks, and a discussion about the fund.  We watched a video about a young man with Down syndrome and his classmates who attended a high school community that nurtured and supported his development as a person and a student.  There were a few tears shed within our community that night.  I am confident they were tears of inspiration, not sadness.

The event was a tremendous success.  It was a great example of community taking place with amazing grace.  We would not allow loneliness and isolation to metastasize in a community such as we were experiencing.  We had purpose and meaning. Some might say it was God at work.  If nothing else, it was community at work.

Give to the St. Margaret of Castello Fund

Learn more about the Fund

In a world where simple acts of kindness and generosity can be like beams of God’s light, some people shine especially brightly. Frank Morelli was one of those exceptional individuals, and his light continues to radiate through an annual event that brings together a community of supporters, all in the name of a noble cause – the Frank Morelli Legacy Fund.

On October 3rd 2020, Frank Morelli tragically passed away after a horrible car accident. Gone too soon, family and friends remember him as being a man of strong faith and character, who brought a smile to everyone he met. His warmth, jovial personality, and big heart brought a smile to everyone he met. He worked as a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch and was a committed supporter of St. Vincent de Paul.

In partnership with St. Vincent de Paul, Frank’s business partner and dear friend, Frank  Migliazzo helped launch the Frank Morelli Legacy Fund to support the mission of sending economically disadvantaged youth to St. Vincent de Paul’s Camp Ozanam.

Camp Ozanam, nestled in the heart of nature, provides a safe haven for economically disadvantaged boys and girls. It is a place where they can heal from difficult circumstances and connect with mentors who believe in them, just as Frank believed in everyone he met. The camp embodies the same warmth and jovial spirit that Frank Morelli radiated in his lifetime.

Annually,  friends, family and colleagues come together at the Great Oaks Country Club in Rochester Hills in memory of Frank Morelli. It is a day of unity, remembrance, and joy, where the community gathers to honor Frank’s memory and support the cause he held dear – St. Vincent de Paul’s Camp Ozanam.

The program began with a short address by Janet Morelli. She invited the guests to raise their glasses in a tribute to Frank and expressed her heartfelt thanks on behalf of the Morelli family to everyone in attendance. The short presentation also included remarks from Julia Hohner, the Camp Ozanam director who was accompanied by two campers whose lives had been profoundly touched by the camp’s programs. They shared their experiences and stories, painting a vivid picture of the transformative power of Camp Ozanam, which had been made possible through the Frank Morelli Legacy Fund.

Frank Miglizao, Frank Morelli’s business partner, shared the remarkable progress of this year’s campaign, announcing that nearly $80,000 had been raised, with the goal of reaching the annual goal of $100,000. It was a moment that reflected the tremendous impact of community support in keeping Frank’s legacy alive.

The Catholic Foundation extends its deepest gratitude to the golfers, event sponsors, generous donors, campers, the Morelli family, and all those who come together each year to commemorate Frank’s legacy of compassion and service. Their presence and contributions are a testament to the enduring impact of his work.

As we remember Frank Morelli and honor his legacy, we invite you to join us in supporting the Frank Morelli Legacy Fund. Every dollar raised contributes to sending more underprivileged youth to Camp Ozanam, where they can find healing, mentorship, and the same warmth and spirit that Frank embodied.

Frank Morelli’s legacy lives on, not just in the memories of those who knew him but also in the lives of the young campers whose futures are brighter because of his enduring kindness and generosity. Together, we can ensure that this legacy continues to make a difference for generations to come.

 

SUPPORT THE FRANK MORELLI LEGACY FUND

 

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Author: Dan Meloy
Republished with permission from Detroit Catholic

 

$1.1M in scholarships from generous donors granted to 450 students since 2020 through Catholic Foundation of Michigan

DETROIT — Thanks to the generosity of donors across southeast Michigan, $1.1 million in scholarships have been awarded to 450 students across 46 schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit since 2020.

The St. Anne Scholars and St. Martin de Porres scholarship funds, coupled with the Fehring Family Fund, were established in 2020 as a way for Catholic families to afford a Catholic education amidst the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Angela Moloney, president and CEO of the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, which facilitates the scholarship funds.

“We had some families who came to us and said, ‘We need to make sure our Catholic schools are thriving and are as amazing as they always have been,’” Moloney said Sept. 26 during a scholarship granting ceremony at Holy Redeemer School in Detroit. “They wanted to make sure families who were struggling had the opportunity to go to our schools.”

The Catholic Foundation worked with pastors and principals to identify families in the community who could benefit from the scholarships, the funds for which were given by individuals and families with the intention of supporting Catholic education, Moloney said.

Archbishop Vigneron visited classes at Holy Redeemer School in Detroit after attending a scholarship granting ceremony where 14 students received scholarships.

Several donors were on hand for the celebration, and Archbishop Vigneron addressed the students, asking them to give thanks to God and to the donors who made it possible for them to join the Holy Redeemer School family.

Since 2020, a total of 80 scholarships totaling $160,000 have been awarded to students at Holy Redeemer, a school in Detroit’s Mexicantown neighborhood that today serves a community that’s mostly Hispanic.

Sr. Burbee said the scholarships have allowed the school to make Catholic education more accessible for families part of the Most Holy Redeemer Parish community and with other parishes in the Southwest 2 Family of Parishes, which include neighboring St. Cunegunda and St. Gabriel parishes.

“We have such a growing number of Catholics who are parishioners but don’t have the financial means to come to Holy Redeemer,” Sr. Burbee said. “The scholarships have really allowed us to have new students and to expand our school community, especially among our Family of Parishes. On behalf of the students, I personally want to thank you and thank the foundation for allowing more students to be at Holy Redeemer.”

The Catholic Foundation of Michigan has been organizing scholarship granting ceremonies across the Archdiocese of Detroit, allowing donors to visit with students they are supporting with their philanthropy.

Holy Redeemer students sang for the archbishop and the donors, and sixth-grader Mateo De Jesus Pulido addressed the crowd, thanking the foundation for the scholarships on behalf of his classmates.

“I’m very happy to come to this school, but I’m learning more about Jesus and growing in friendship with Him,” Pulido said. “Being at Holy Redeemer is helping me become a better person and a better Catholic. Since I have been here, I’ve made friends. This work is more challenging, but I find it to be fun. My sisters and I love being at this school to experience new things. I’m grateful for the generosity of the people to give me this opportunity to come to Holy Redeemer and grow in my faith.”

Sr. Burbee said the scholarships have been a blessing for the teachers at Holy Redeemer as well, allowing the school to be a better vehicle for evangelization in southwest Detroit.

“Holy Redeemer has been here since 1882 and really is a landmark in southwest Detroit,” Sr. Burbee said. “We’ve always been a neighborhood school — now serving predominately Hispanic families — and it’s been a blessing how families that are coming to church here are desiring to send their kids to Catholic schools. The students are helping me in growing in my faith because their parents are really raising them in the faith. So it’s been a blessing.”

The Catholic Foundation of Michigan has been organizing similar events at schools throughout the Archdiocese of Detroit, giving donors a chance to see what their philanthropy is supporting, and giving students a chance to thank their benefactors.

Archbishop Vigneron hands a scholarship to a Holy Redeemer student. Holy Redeemer principal Sr. Kateri Burbee, SOLT, said the school has been blessed with these scholarships as an opportunity to reach out to parishioners who want to send their children to Catholic school.

The donors on the scholarship granting committees had to chance to read essays from students on why they wanted to attend a Catholic school, but seeing the students in person makes the connection all the more special, Angela Moloney said.

Donor Helen Vlasic and her husband, Mike, were at Holy Redeemer School to greet the students and applaud the teachers for their work in crafting disciples.

Vlasic expressed the joy she and other supporters had in reading the scholarship essays, saying it reassured them their support of Catholic education went hand in hand with evangelization.

“My husband and I have come to feel like our job as Catholics is to get people to know Jesus more, and we call that evangelization,” Vlasic said.

“We feel like this scholarship program is a way to help evangelization in Detroit. We’re really honored to be part of this program.”

Anyone can make a gift to these existing scholarship funds in any amount and make a difference. Give online below or contact the Foundation staff at 248-548-3020.

Supporters can also create a scholarship fund that is both unique and personal, based on specific goals. Examples could be tuition assistance for students at a particular school, students interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) or the arts. Scholarship funds can be opened with a gift of $25,000 or more.

Your direct support is a helping hand, and more importantly, provides a renewal of hope, faith, and the infinite love and protection of God.

Give now to the St. Anne Scholars Scholarship Fund

Give Now to the St. Martin de Porres Scholarship Fund

Create your own unique scholarship endowment with the Catholic Foundation. 

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