The excerpt below is part of an article titled, “A Heart of Service” written by Kate Lochner and originally published by Unleash the Gospel, a publication of the Archdiocese of Detroit. (2020) 


In recent years, the soup kitchen at St. Moses the Black has typically helped feed 40-50 families a week. But in the spring of 2020, when COVID-19 shook the globe and left no community untouched, that number is increased by 400 percent.

“That first week, cars were lined up from the front of the church and all the way down the street. In the first 10 cars, we had at least six people get out of their cars and come to help us,” Camille {the Christian Service coordinator at St. Moses the Black parish} says. Suddenly Camille and her volunteers, mostly people who live near the church, became frontline workers themselves and were feeding 250 families weekly.

Camille Graces, the Christian Service Coordinator at St. Moses the Black parish in Detroit, Michigan. (Unleash the Gospel, 2020)

With aid from the federal government and local Catholic charities, most notably the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, their soup kitchen was able to meet the needs of the community, allowing them to feed 400 families through most of the summer. Each family received meet, fresh produce, canned goods, cereal, and other groceries. “They drive away from the front of our church with around 50 pounds of groceries,” Camille explains.

When asked about what has struck her the most during this time when the soup kitchen has become a lifeline for so many in the Detroit community, she notes, “We’re still feeding 250 families a week, the line just isn’t going away.” She adds, “It hurts because we get our regulars, our walk-ups, but we also get the recently unemployed, we get people pullin’ up in brand new 2020 vehicles that are now a part of the food insecure. It’s just that combination of people we’re serving and that’s not changing.” Yet a song of hope and gratitude remains, “we get so many thank ‘thank yous’ …people are so appreciative of what we do.”

“We’re still feeding 250 families a week, the line just isn’t going away,” shares Camille Graves, the Christian service coordinator at St. Moses the Black.

For Camille, being a Catholic means giving; it means service. Actively serving her community is integral to her faith and how she carries out her own beliefs. In talking about Jesus’ call for all Christians, Camille says, “He definitely straight up told us to take care of each other,” and for her, it’s as simple as answering that call. Aside from working as Christian service coordinator at St. Moses the Black, she holds the same role at the Most Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Detroit.

Camille Graves (right) with two volunteers from the St. Moses the Black soup kitchen. (Unleash the Gospel, 2020)

“It’s where my heart is, in service,” Camille says. And pulling from the strength from her surrounding communities, she’s humbled by the people, not necessarily all Catholics or parishioners, who come together to make the running of the soup kitchen possible.

“We’re all his children,” she goes on, “Every man-made boundary you’re going to come up with, we’re just going to go right past it and do the Lord’s will. He told us to take care of each other, and that’s what we’re doing.” 

Prior to the pandemic, St. Moses the Black received donations from established relationships throughout Metro Detroit, from St. Anastasia’s in Troy to St. Margaret of Scotland in St. Clair Shores and stores like Forgotten Harvest. But since these programs are almost entirely run by seniors, and the donations came to a screeching halt at the height of the pandemic.

In recent weeks, parish programs have started to slowly come back. Still, it’s soup kitchens like the one at St. Moses the Black that need our help to continue to help feed the growing number of the food insecure in the wake of COVID-19.

 


Last April, as part of the Catholic Faithful Response Fund for COVID-19, the Catholic Foundation of Michigan helped raise over $14,000 to support the St. Moses the Black food pantry. See below for images that were taken during an on-site visit to the location on May 8th, 2020.

Recognizing the need for continuous funding and support to meet the great need in the community, Yvonne and Camille Graves Hill reached out to their friends at the Catholic Foundation in October 2020 to open the St. Vincent de Paul Conference Food Pantry of Catholic Church of St. Moses the Black Fund.  

How does your faith call you to give? If you feel called to donate and support the food pantry, please consider giving below.

Will you experience the joy of philanthropy with us?
Provide hope for families and children in need with a gift of any size.
Join with us in giving today.

SUPPORT THE ST. VINCENT DE PAUL CONFERENCE FOOD PANTRY OF CATHOLIC CHURCH OF ST. MOSES THE BLACK

 

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.

Create an Endowment Fund for an Organization You Are Passionate About

Support the International Samaritan Fund

 

 

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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. The opportunity to make a donation and receive premium items autographed by Coach Beilein is still available.

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.

SUPPORT THE ST. LOUIS CENTER ENDOWMENT FUND

Create a Donor Designated Fund for a Cause You Are Passionate About

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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In 2019, as a direct 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. 

This year’s Spirit of Innovation Grant was awarded to St. Clare of Montefalco Parish School community for their Unity in Diversity project. The focus of the project is to bring various communities that exist within the school and parish together to unite them around acknowledging and celebrating their differences through diversity and inclusion training and intervention.

Learn more about this inspired project by watching the video below. You can also click here to listen to a podcast interview with St. Clare Montefalco Pastor Fr. Andrew and Principal Ann Crowley and Richard Lane, a member of the Foundation Grant and Impact committee, as they talk about the Unity in Diversity grant.

 

In the spirit of Giving Tuesday, the Catholic Foundation distributed over $120,000 in today’s annual community grants celebration. The challenges of COVID have provided the opportunity for our entire community to gather virtually and join in this remarkable, joyful celebration of giving.

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As 2020 comes to a close, year-end charitable contributions are likely on your mind – and the deductions that come along with them. One lesser-known tax-saving strategy is “bunching,” which is the process of taking more than one year’s worth of deductions all in one tax year.

Bunching became more popular with the passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA), which included an increase to the standard deduction – nearly doubling to $12,000 for singles and $24,000 for married couples who file jointly. Before the TCJA of 2017, we know that about 69% of filers claimed the standard deduction. This jumped to about 86% after the TCJA — nearly 30 million more households.

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As the end of the year approaches, many people begin to think about charitable giving to our favorite nonprofit organizations. The Catholic Foundation is here to help make your giving wise, simple, and joy-filled. Many people think the end of the year is the best time to give to charity, but the truth may make you rethink year-end giving:

1. Nonprofits need your donations before year-end, but they don’t necessarily need them at the end of the year. A gift given today is just as effective, if not more, than one in late December. In fact, the possibility of year-end volatility and with all the busyness of processing last-minute donations, an early gift is the best gift!

2. You get the same tax benefits for the year whether you make a gift in November or December. Why not ease the burden on yourself and your financial advisors by giving before the rush?  You’ll be at peace while enjoying your Christmas dinner and New Year’s celebration with the family!

3. If you want to use your IRA required minimum distribution (RMD) for charitable giving, you should decide now, prior to taking your distribution. That way, you get the tax benefits of making a qualified charitable distribution. The best way to guarantee it gets done in the right tax year is to initiate the gift by November, before your IRA custodian gets overwhelmed with year-end requests.

4. There’s no time like the present. The market doesn’t perform according to calendar dates. The market is volatile, especially near the end of the year. If you have an appreciated stock or bond in your account, you cannot accurately predict what its value will be in one day, one week or one month; you only know its value today. While it’s possible the asset will appreciate more, there’s also a chance it will lose value. Speak with your financial advisor to determine the best strategy.

5. There’s no need to wait until you receive your year-end bonus or decide to sell appreciated stock to get the ball rolling on a donor advised fund. You can establish a fund now. Then, transfer your gift into the fund when you’re ready, and start recommending grants! Read up on “bunching” to learn all about the benefits.

Have questions? We can help. Call us at 248.204.0332.

Imagine, for a moment, the implications of being an adult but being unable to read beyond a first grade level. Anxiety, helplessness, and limitations in many spheres would likely be part of your life.

In 2017, Elijah Craft, a high school senior in the Detroit Public School Community District (DPSCD), was in this situation. He had made it all the way through the school system with a first-grade reading level.

85% of students living in vulnerable cities like Detroit are in the “literacy gap”, which means they are more than a grade level behind in reading.

Beyond Basics, a literacy-focused nonprofit organization in Southeast Michigan, believes that the literacy gap is the largest solvable disability in the U.S. Utilizing a proven method, Beyond Basics provides one-on-one reading tutoring and literacy enrichment programs for K-12 students that consistently achieves grade-level movement in six to twelve weeks. The impact of these drastic results  opens participants up to a whole new future.

After Elijah began working with his Beyond Basics tutor, he graduated 25th in his class, went on to university, and his self-confidence improved dramatically. Dr. Nikolai Vitti, DPSCD Superintendent, would like to see Beyond Basics helping every high school student who needs it, and with the help of generous donors, it is possible.

In light of this goal, a donor who was impressed with the services Beyond Basics is offering at Holy Redeemer Catholic School recently opened a designated fund with the Catholic Foundation to support Beyond Basics. In a designated fund, beneficiary organizations can utilize financial support from the fund as it is needed.

“We are called by God to help the oppressed. If we let high school students graduate without the ability to read they are given a life sentence of poverty. It is the moral thing to do, to change the direction of a student’s life,” reflects Pamela Good, Co-Founder and CEO of Beyond Basics.

The Catholic Foundation is proud to partner with Beyond Basics to offer another way for generous donors to help children learn to read, change the course of their lives, and help transform communities burdened by poverty. An investment in literacy immediately delivers a cure to the students it funds, while also breaking a generational cycle of illiteracy.

In addition to tutoring, Beyond Basics also provides many extras for the students it serves, from coats to enrichment activities. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Beyond Basics acted swiftly to implement a new virtual platform to continue providing one-on-one reading tutoring, and so far results have been on par with those seen with in-person tutoring.

Please join the Catholic Foundation in supporting this vital mission by giving to the designated fund. Through literacy education funded by your generous gift, you help change these children’s destinies.

Give today to the Beyond Basics: Literacy is for Everyone Designated Fund.

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