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In 2016, a group of inspired lay-leaders, endorsed by the Archbishop of Detroit, invited passionate Catholics to participate in the launch of the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, forever changing the landscape of Catholic philanthropy in our area.

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In 2005, pro-life student groups from across the state of Michigan gathered together on Michigan State University’s campus to establish a coalition to protect life on college campuses in Michigan. This newly established alliance of pro-life students named their group Protect Life Michigan.

Since then, the organization has grown with a staff of trained professionals to mentor students into exceptional pro-life leaders. Currently the organization serves thirty high school groups, twenty-two college groups, and three regional networks from cities across Michigan.

Their mission to build a new generation of leaders is threefold: to recruit passionate young people and train them for pro-life leadership, to educate youth on life issues and pregnancy resources, and to connect students to strengthen their impact.

Protect Life Michigan is building an army of pro-life defenders in places where the pro-life message is typically silenced. In colleges and high schools around the state, students are being equipped to defend the pro-life position and change the minds of their peers. Their presence on campus shows pro-life students that they are not alone and helps them turn their convictions into effective action to save lives.

Many student activists are transformed by the work and connections made through the training and advocacy provided by Protect Life Michigan. “As long as I have known Protect Life Michigan, I have never felt alone in this movement. Protect Life Michigan has taught me to know, love, and serve the person in front of me,” shared Mary Payne, a student. 

In the 2020-2021 year, Protect Life Michigan reached over 316,543 people with the pro-life message, provided training to 4,135 students, and led 365 hours of outreach.

College students, however, are not the only ones getting involved in Protect Life Michigan’s work. To help sustain Protect Life’s ministry and amplify its growth, an anonymous donor generously created the Protect Life Michigan Endowment Fund.

“The gift of this endowment was made possible through the estates of my father and grandmother. In the midst of a long depressing season, including a miscarriage, other deaths in the family, health concerns, a drastic change in family circumstances, and professional setbacks, I recognized that a portion of the wealth in these estates should be used to help restore a vibrant culture of life.”

The donor wanted to ensure that the pro-life message and the mission of Protect Life Michigan continues for generations to come. “My life began through an unplanned pregnancy in a college town, and the reason I’m alive today is because of pro-life advocates,” the donor shared.

An endowment fund is an investment for the future. The charitable contribution is invested, grows, and each year, Protect Life Michigan can receive a portion of the investment. The remainder is then reinvested to provide ongoing resources for the future.

“Protect Life Michigan is proud to partner with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan to manage our endowment fund and allow us to ensure the pro-life message is brought to campus for years to come,” shared Christen Pollo, Executive Director.

“Having an endowment means that Protect Life Michigan has a steady stream of support for years so it can continue to build a pro-life community in the Mitten. Donors give to the fund through the Catholic Foundation and they, in turn, ensure it is only invested in life-affirming means,”  shared Christen Pollo, Executive Director 

Please join the Catholic Foundation in supporting this vital mission by donating to this life-giving fund. By giving to the Protect Life Michigan Endowment Fund, you’re ensuring that voices for the unborn are raised up for generations.

Support the Protect Life Michigan Endowment Fund

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Brian V. Hill Education Foundation for Marriage and Family Granting Fund

“Every Christmas, our family would watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’,” shares Angela Hill. After losing her husband, Brian, over six years ago, she still gets tears in her eyes talking about this tradition. “He loved the movie and would weep while watching it. Brian felt like George Bailey at different points in his life, and would remember the gift of life we received in 2005 when our oldest daughter received a heart transplant just before Christmas.” 

The year 2014 was the last Christmas that Brian Hill watched this heart-warming movie with his wife and three children, Andri, Ally and Vincent. On March 28, 2015, Brian was diagnosed with cancer in every major organ in his body. Just six weeks later, on May 14, 2015, God called him home.  

“Although everything was progressing so fast, every moment seemed to happen in slow motion as we tried to process what was happening to our family. We made it with our faith, our extended family, and our parish community,” shares Angela. 

As a way to honor Brian, Angela opened the Brian V. Hill Education Fund for Marriage and Family with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan. By opening this granting fund with the Catholic Foundation, Angela hopes to give monetary assistance to Catholic schools, men’s and women’s groups, marriage and marriage prep ministries, and youth ministries who will benefit from the gift of the teachings of John Paul II Theology of the Body. The grants can help fund bible study materials, guest speakers, retreats or any other forums to teach Theology of the Body.

Angela knows Brian would want this fund set up. “Starting this fund in Brian’s name is about celebrating the work that God does and wants to do in broken people. Theology of the Body is about learning how to be human and understanding God’s plan for sexuality and marriage, ” shares Angela.  

“Our children’s children and all children should learn about Theology of the Body. We need to also provide learning opportunities for adults who have never heard about Theology of the Body. To live our greatest life we must know how to be human,” says Angela.

“Despite all the health challenges and trials we faced in our marriage, family life was by far Brian’s greatest gift. He always wanted more for his family, not materially, but foundationally. Don’t we all want that?”

Creating a granting fund with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan gives funders the opportunity to target their contribution to the area most important to them. These funds are broad in scope, yet targeted to meet the persistent needs of the community–in the case of this fund, around education about Theology of the Body. 

After a fund is established, the Foundation’s granting team identifies, evaluates, and awards grants to the most qualified and deserving organizations in the funder’s area of interest. This allows a funder to ensure that the professional management of their fund is aligned with Catholic values, and allows the funder to have peace of mind while the Foundation takes care of fund promotion and visibility, and all administrative aspects of the granting process. 

In the case of the Brian V. Hill Education Fund for marriage and family, the granting fund is also a unique opportunity to remember and honor Brian Hill’s life while making an impact in the community.

Angela’s prayer is that this granting fund will not only honor Brian as one of the original founders of the “Regular Joes Mens’ Prayer Breakfast” at Our Lady of Good Counsel parish in Plymouth, but will also keep his memory alive as he loved to learn and serve. A gift to The Brian V. Hill Education Fund for Marriage and Family will impact young couples preparing for marriage and provide opportunities to bring hope and healing to families that want to understand God’s greatest gift.

“Starting this fund in Brian’s name is about celebrating the work that God does and wants to do in broken people. Theology of the Body is about learning how to be human and understanding God’s plan for sexuality and marriage,” shares Angela Hill.

Support the Brian V. Hill Education Foundation for Marriage and Family

Create a Fund In Honor and Memory of Your Loved One

The Catholic Foundation distributed over $138,500 on December 7th during the annual community grants celebration.

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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. 

The 2021 Spirit of Innovation Grant was awarded to St. Aloysius/Our Lady of the Rosary community in Detroit for their Outreach and Mission Hub project. The focus of the project is to create a space for young adults to grow and flourish through the partnership of Detroit Catholic Campus Ministry and Young Adult events through St. Aloysius Parish.

The grant project hopes to develop an underutilized courtyard space between the church and rectory into a gathering space with seating, bonfire pit, yard games, overhead lighting, and dining tables to create a Mission Hub Outdoor Gathering Space. The goal is for the space to be an attractive, eye-catching place of radical hospitality, a place for friendships to be formed and fostered, and a place of invitation to a relationship with Jesus. Part of this re-envisioned mission is to connect “un-churched” or lapsed Catholic millennials in the area to a life of faith, worship, and community.

In addition, the project hopes to support the senior citizen population served through St. Aloysius Neighborhood Services by offering them a chance to cultivate their passion for gardening and foster intergenerational collaboration through hosting a dinner for seniors, served by young adults, and gardening opportunities for seniors and young adults to work together.

“We are so grateful to the Catholic Foundation of Michigan for awarding us the Spirit of Innovation Grant for our Outdoor Mission Hub at Our Lady of the Rosary church. We will be creating an outdoor space in the courtyard for community gatherings, Bible studies, and a place for our seniors to garden,” shared Fr. Mario Amore, pastor of both St. Aloysius Parish, Detroit and Our Lady of the Rosary Parish.

Learn more about this inspired project by watching the video below.

There are people in our lives that help us to be better versions of ourselves.

People who, because of their words, actions, and convictions we can imagine will actually become a saint. Marisa Petrella was one of those people.

On November 29, 2021, the community lost a dedicated servant leader and woman of great faith. Marisa was a Catholic Foundation Founders’ Circle member, board member, and a dear friend and advocate.

Marisa possessed a strong sense of service, a generous spirit, and completed a considerable amount of pro bono work throughout her career. In 2020, Marisa was honored by the Italian government as the recipient of an award recognizing her exceptional legal work for the Italian Consulate in Detroit. She was given the highest honor possible for a non-Italian citizen: Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia (Knight of the Order of the Italian Star).

Marisa Petrella actively volunteered and was a member of various other community boards of directors, including St. Regis Catholic Church, Mercy High School, Mother and Unborn Baby Care, and Orchestra Sono. Marisa loved God, her daughter and family, her church, her profession, Italian culture, music, and life.

All of us at the Catholic Foundation of Michigan ask you to remember Marisa and her family during this difficult time, as she is welcomed home into joyful, loving arms. Learn more about Marisa and her impact here: Marisa Petrella

In honor of the life-giving spirit of Marisa’s memory, the Sanctity of Life Endowed Grant was established through the generosity of the Catholic Foundation staff and Board of Directors, to provide grant funding to support creative programs that build a holistic reverence for life. 

Support the Sanctity of Life Granting Fund

Create a Fund In Honor and Memory of Your Loved One

Author: Janet Biondo
Republished with permission from Detroit Catholic. 

Donors step up to replace former 30-year-old bus on its last legs, putting field trips in jeopardy for inner-city Catholic school

DETROIT — A bus is not just a bus for the students at Holy Redeemer School in Detroit; it’s a passageway to a world outside the classroom.

The school received a new $70,000 bus Nov. 9 as a gift from donors through the Catholic Foundation of Michigan.

“Our school is very family-oriented,” principal Sr. Kateri Burbee, SOLT, told Detroit Catholic. “The idea (to have a bus) is like a family gathering, a family outing.”

Holy Redeemer students watch the ribbon-cutting while social distancing outside the school on Nov. 9. Sr. Burbee said the new school bus represents a chance for many students to venture outside their school and neighborhood, often for the first time.

Last spring, when the school’s 30-year-old bus was on its last leg, the students went to a state park. At that time, Sr. Burbee said, she questioned how many more trips that bus could take; without it, future outings that are important for the students’ growth would be in jeopardy. For many students, especially from low-income families, field trips are a way to experience the world outside their school and neighborhood.

Sr. Burbee added the state park trip was an “opportunity for them to encounter God the Father and how much He blesses each and every one of us.”

The school’s population is 98 percent bilingual Hispanic, Sr. Burbee said.

Seventh-grader Miranda Lara said she was excited to ride the new bus.

“We are going to be the first class to use the bus tomorrow to see the Parade Company,” she said, explaining that the seventh-grade students would take the bus along with their second-grade buddies.

Second-grader MariaBelen Bermudez-Lara, 7, said she was most excited for the bus “because it is new and I get to ride in it.”

Clark Durant, a Catholic philanthropist and one of the donors behind the project, was at the ribbon-cutting event to share in the joy with the students.

Fr. Dennis Walsh, SOLT, pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish, blesses the new school bus as Holy Redeemer students look on.

“People think of it as a bus, but it’s really part of this community,” Durant said. “This is part of the flourishing of human development.”

Durant spearheaded the gift along with Joe Ricci, Mike Shields and the late William Pulte, whose family foundation recently acquired the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth from the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Overjoyed at the students’ reaction to the new bus, Durant promised them a future trip to the University of Notre Dame, his alma mater.

“What is rich about the Catholic understanding is that every piece of the community, from teachers to books to buses, each come from the love at the center of the Eucharist,” said Durant, who converted to the Catholic faith 16 years ago.

During his address to the students at the ribbon-cutting, Durant reminded them of their role in the Church’s future. Durant challenged students to find him in the future and tell him what they did with their lives, and how Holy Redeemer prepared them.

“Every one of you is being prepared to be a vessel of love, even for strangers,” he explained, encouraging students to pass along their blessings by taking steps to do good for others and not just themselves. “Your lives will change our community from darkness to light.”

Angela Moloney, president and CEO of Catholic Foundation of Michigan, said the organization was honored to facilitate the donors’ generous gift for the benefit of Holy Redeemer students.

“The Catholic Foundation’s mission is to make it easy for individuals, families and groups to be generous on projects such as this,” Moloney said. “It is a joy to steward this gift on behalf of so many generous donors.”


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Author: Jim Dudley
Republished with permission from Detroit Catholic. 

Catholic Foundation of Michigan’s founding CEO says nonprofit has supported $7 million in giving since 2017, and is just getting started

DETROIT — Seated in a booth at a busy Panera Bread one late-September morning, laptop open and coffee in hand, Angela Moloney is fresh from an executive committee meeting with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, where she serves as founding president and CEO.

“Lots of good news this morning,” she says with a smile. “Just this quarter alone, we’ve had 16 new charitable funds established.”

A longtime leader in the Catholic nonprofit community, Moloney is passionate for philanthropy work and fully invested in increasing the impact of Catholic ministries, parishes and schools by inspiring charitable giving and managing assets to grow the Church for generations to come. For 10 years, Moloney served as domestic director of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, a Catholic organization connecting young volunteers with opportunities to serve in marginalized communities.

Angela Moloney, pictured front left (in blue), is seen with others at the newly established Center for the Works of Mercy on Woodward Avenue in Detroit. The center, sponsored by Catholic Charities of Southeast Michigan, helps low-income clients with a variety of material and spiritual needs.

“While I wasn’t trained in the Jesuit tradition through school, I definitely got the entry to Jesuit spirituality through running JVC Midwest in Detroit,” she said. “We eventually merged and became one national organization.”

Her work included cultivating major gifts, leading regional development and fundraising efforts, and acquiring grants to support the program.

“I grew up in Livonia the youngest of 12 kids. My family is Catholic, and my uncle is Msgr. Jim Moloney, the pastor of St. Anselm Parish in Dearborn Heights,” Moloney said. “My dad was with the Jesuits for 10 years but in the end, it wasn’t his calling. We just had that rootedness in our family life. Community has always been one of our core values.”

Despite her Catholic upbringing, Moloney didn’t have the opportunity to attend a Catholic school until college, when she enrolled at Madonna University in Livonia.

“I fell in love with Madonna, and it was because of the sisters there and their commitment to faith, service and justice,” Moloney said. From there, she went on to earn a master’s degree in theology from Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C.

“I was on fire to do good work. My first job out of grad school was as a high school campus minister at a Holy Cross school just outside of D.C. called Bishop McNamara,” Moloney said. “I was responsible for all the community service, planned the retreats and led Masses. During that time, I got married to my husband, Bill, and we fell in love with the places where we took our students to do service work.”

Teens from Nazareth Farm, a Catholic community in rural West Virginia that offers service retreats, are seen in this file photo. Moloney’s experience serving at the farm with her husband, Bill, for three years helped form a lifelong love of charitable service

Foremost among them was Nazareth Farm, a Catholic community in rural West Virginia, whose mission is to transform lives through a service-retreat experience. Nazareth Farm is devoted to living out the Gospel message through community, simplicity, prayer and service.

“Bill and I left what we loved in D.C. and decided to do three years of service work with Nazareth Farm,” Moloney said. “We worked in Appalachia. It was awesome and a pretty unique experience doing it as a married couple. We loved it, and after three years came home to Michigan.”

Moloney said her husband, who is from the Baltimore area, is “still surprised that we’re Michiganders,” along with their two boys, 11 and 13.

The experience of celebrating the richness and people of Appalachia stayed with the couple.

“After Nazareth Farm, we had the ability to identify our values and talk about our core values as a family,” Moloney said. “It also helped deepen my work at JVC. Our kids know our values and our community. It’s about simple living, prayer and our faith, and finally, service.”

Moloney said the family remains committed to service work; Bill leads community engagement efforts for students at the University of Michigan’s Michigan Community Scholars program, and “we’re a pretty service-focused family,” she said.

“We make sure we’re always attentive to doing service. Our work has always come from those values,” Moloney said. “My boys have been known to do service with us, but it’s been a tough year for that.”

Moloney has been bringing her “fire to do good” to the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, which was established in 2016, from its earliest days. The foundation helps connect donors to charitable causes in the Catholic community through planned giving, scholarships and donor-advised funds, among other efforts.

“I love the opportunity to be with individuals and families in particular as they discern what their heart is passionate about,” Moloney said. “We prayerfully discern where and how (funds are dispersed), and where and how we can give service to the community.”

Moloney, second right, is pictured with a group of Livonia-based Felician Sisters. Moloney’s first experience with a Catholic school was her enrollment at the Felician-run Madonna University, which she says instilled in her a love for helping others.

Moloney is passionate about her work, and she’s grateful for that. But her focus never wavers; and she’s always on to the next thing, spotlighting the work of others.

Moloney credits Pat Fehring, president of Level One Bank, with inspiring the creation of the Catholic Foundation of Michigan after arriving in the state and noticing an opportunity.

“He moved here from Ohio in the early 2000s and said, ‘Well, where’s the Catholic Foundation?'” Moloney said. “In Columbus, they have a model where everyone gives through their Catholic Foundation as a stand-alone 501(c)3 lay-led organization.”

The foundation is separate from the Archdiocese of Detroit, but supports the work of the archdiocese by inviting donors to create and give to funds that bolster ministries, parishes and schools throughout southeast Michigan.

“When Pat moved here, he approached other business leaders and said, ‘We need something that’s lay-led and easy to use,'” Moloney said. “He got the blessing of Archbishop Allen Vigneron, and now we have a board of about 30 to 40 business leaders. They are a dynamic group who are so faithful, so committed, so passionate and so generous.”

Moloney would love to continue talking about the mission of the Catholic Foundation, but there’s another meeting to attend, so she begins gathering her computer and things to move to another area of Panera where it’s quieter.

“The Catholic Foundation of Michigan has given about $7 million back to the community since 2017, and that’s not too bad,” Moloney says with a smile. “But there’s still so much more work to be done.”

Join our critical mission today. Your partnership enables the Catholic Foundation to be in a position to continue to preserve and enhance our Catholic values for present and future generations. Contact us at or call (248) 204–0332.

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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 fund to support the mission of sending economically disadvantaged youth to St. Vincent de Paul’s Camp Ozanam.

Frank’s legacy endowment fund will help provide many young campers an opportunity to heal from difficult circumstances and connect with mentors who believe in them and mirror the same warmth and jovial spirit that Frank Morelli embodied.




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