In 2022, the Catholic Foundation of Michigan celebrated a significant milestone, marking five years since a passionate group of visionary leaders established this lay-led Catholic community foundation with the goal to transform lives and proclaim the Gospel through philanthropy.

Through volunteer leadership and extraordinary generosity, our early founders inspired others who have contributed more than $52 million in gifts since the Foundation’s launch in 2017.

The first five years of the Catholic Foundation have had an impact on a scale our founders could never have imagined.

  • 5 years and a combined impact of $16 million granted to our community, changing and saving countless lives
  •  5 years and 330+ faithful students supported through generosity to receive a dynamic Catholic education
  •  5 years and the phenomenal growth of 220 charitable funds that support the short and long-term sustainability of 450+ beloved ministries

As we celebrate, we invite you to read our collective accomplishments and be inspired by the stories of individuals and families who, with Christ as the center, are making a lasting impact in our community through their giving.

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John S. Habib, Ph.D. (1930 – 2020) has a great story to share, one that is international but also uniquely American. 

The late John S. Habib

The youngest of 11 children, John was born in Detroit, Michigan, on July 7, 1930, the last of five boys and six girls, to Sasin Habib El Khoury Hannah and Mary Backus Saad lshaq.  Sasin and Mary immigrated to the United States from remote Lebanese mountain villages in 1900 and 1896, respectively.  They were married in St. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Cathedral in Detroit, in January of 1904, and both became naturalized US citizens later that year.

 “By the time I came along, America was in a full depression and my parents, like many Americans, lost everything they had worked for except their faith in God and in America. Like most Americans they picked themselves up and started over,” John shared. “They taught their children love of country and for each other, and respect for others, and by their example the blessings and rewards of the work ethic. I can still hear my mother’s exhortation, ‘thank God you were born in this country,’ when as kids we got to complaining.”

Sasin & Mary Habib Family, 1942

John benefited from the cumulative sacrifices and love of his parents and ten older siblings. He enjoyed a distinguished career as a US diplomat, national security officer, and professor. Mr. Habib’s deep commitment to education and his desire to honor his family led him to establish a special room marked with a plaque in memory of his parents at St. Jude’s Children Research Hospital. He also recognized his siblings with scholarship endowments at the University of Michigan, and with James Madison College at Michigan State University.

In 2022, Mr. Habib’s Trust opened an endowment fund with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan to support the Capuchin Soup Kitchen’s Rosa Parks Children and Youth Programming events.

I learned of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen and Rosa Parks Youth Program through the Anthony Malcoun Family, of Detroit.  Anthony was one of many of John’s nephews and nieces for whom John had deep admiration.  Education was of primary importance in the life of John.  The Youth Program’s focus on helping kids in need, in John’s home town of Detroit, is something he would want to support,” shared Mark Habib.

Through this endowment, John’s memory will honor his sisters, who from oldest to youngest he described asEva, humorous and compassionate; Agnes, devoted daughter and mother; Bergita, classy and astute; Jemelia, devout and fun-loving; Margaret, innovative and caring;  and Lillian, intuitive and responsible.”

The Rosa Parks Children and Youth Program is a ministry of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen focused on breaking the cycle of poverty through educational opportunities. The program provides art therapy and tutoring in a safe environment that encourages creativity.

“The Capuchin Soup Kitchen is grateful to the family of John S. Habib for their commitment to combating cyclical poverty through educational opportunities provided at the Rosa Parks Children and Youth Program. This vital work promises to plant seeds of hope for the most vulnerable children of poverty-stricken Detroit,” shared Brother Nicholas Blattner, Director of the Solanus Mission Association.

Learn how you can establish a forever legacy today. 

Give to the John S. Habib Educational Fund

CREATE A MEMORIAL FUND IN HONOR OF YOUR LOVED ONE

 We Adore You, O Christ, and we praise You because by Your holy cross, you have redeemed the world.

Lent reminds us that Christ crucified is our hope. But why can it be so difficult to explain to others? Art can be a way to speak to others about Christ when words fail.

The Catholic Church has used paintings and grand architecture to convey throughout history the story of Christ.

Close up of Station Five

In December 2019, a small group of lay faithful optioned the right to purchase an 82-acre parcel in Augusta, Michigan. With one year to raise the funds, seventeen families came together in support of  “The Sanctuary” project and raised $1.25 million dollars to acquire the land.

Through the expression of great art, The Sanctuary, a professionally designed sculpture park and nature preserve, will tell the story of Christ’s journey to Calvary through sixty larger-than-life bronze sculptures depicting the Stations of the Cross and retelling the fourteen encounters Christ had along the path of sorrows known as Via Dolorosa.

Just twenty minutes from Kalamazoo, the location in Augusta, Michigan lies between Chicago and Detroit and a short drive from Grand Rapids, Lansing and Ann Arbor.. Accompanied by an audio tour, visitors will walk the half-mile circuitous footpath, nestled amongst the serene beauty of wooded hills and wildlife. The Sanctuary will tell the story of Christ’s passion and self-sacrificing love for each of us, moving one’s mind from a Bible story on a page to walking with Christ in his final hours.

We found The Sanctuary struck our hearts as a beautiful blend of faith, art, nature, and evangelization. We were so impressed with the skill of the sculptors and the thorough design of the visitor’s experience,”  shared Eric and Sue Jeska. 

There has never been a more immediate time to share the story of Christ than now. According to a 2022 Pew Research survey, America’s fastest-growing category of religious identity is ‘none,’ or people with no religious affiliation. This group could grow as large as 52% in the next 40 years. 

This data reflects what hearts lack; a personal relationship with God. The Sanctuary will be a place where beauty provides a refuge for the most vulnerable among us who do not know of Christ’s love while offering a place of meditation for the faithful who desire to grow deeper in their relationship with God.

Upon completion in the fall of 2024, The Sanctuary will offer refuge to those who seek to know the love of Christ by encountering His passion in the journey to Calvary made real in the true beauty of art and the haven of nature.  The Sanctuary is a $14.5 million venture. To date, over $7 million has been donated. 

“We chose to partner with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan because they have the infrastructure and expertise in place to accommodate major gift donations with the ability to meet a donor’s preferred method of giving. The Foundation has been a trusted partner handling sensitive donor financial information ethically and confidentially,” shared Sue Jeska.

The Sanctuary team welcomes the opportunity to further discuss the project and its exciting progress with you. Please contact the Catholic Foundation of Michigan with your questions or requests for additional information about how your contribution can be a part of this legacy project.  

Most importantly,  especially during this Lent, we ask for your prayers that God blesses the design team with His guidance and moves hearts to be a part of this evangelization project.

Give Now to Support the Sanctuary Stations of the Cross

Create a Fund for a Cause You Are Passionate About

The power of education is undeniable. It has the ability to change lives, create opportunities, and to inspire individuals to be the best versions of themselves. For Karen and Bill Flynn, their Catholic education has been a driving force behind their success and their desire to give back.

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When Jacques Duverna Pierre-Louis moved from Haiti to the USA as a young man with his wife and daughter, he didn’t know much about what his new life would look like. He did know one thing for sure – he wanted his children to receive a rich, well-rounded education. 

As Jacques and his wife adjusted to life in their new country, they chose Catholic schools to educate their children, Chantale and Leslie. He instilled the love of learning in his children and ensured that they were provided with a solid education to better their lives and to be contributors to the betterment of society overall.

Jacques’ passion for education and his dedication to his work led him to develop, design, and invent several cutting-edge engineering systems which were groundbreaking in promoting efficiency in performance in the automotive and defense industries. As a research and Development Engineer for TACOM, Jacques received numerous accolades for his designs of several armored fighting vehicles used for front-line combat and which enabled troops to remain safe while conducting operations.

Inspired by the life of her father, Chantale Stevenson reached out to the Catholic Foundation to establish the Jacques Pierre-Louis STEM Scholarship for Students of Color Endowment, to honor his memory and help inspire others.

“A Catholic education provided me with a love for the arts, science, and mathematics as well as instilling the desire to share and give back to others. Education is a gift that is everlasting,” shared Chantale. 

“The education that I received developed me to be a productive adult. My brother and I are products of a good education centered around the Catholic faith, that developed us emotionally, physically, spiritually, and socially.” When Chantale’s daughter was born, there was no question where she would receive her education – she was enrolled at a Catholic school in order to benefit from the same great education her grandfather had believed in.

Everyone who wants a Catholic education should be able to receive one, but students from low-income communities face unique challenges that often prevent them from benefitting from a Catholic education. The Jacques Pierre-Louis Fund seeks to provide support for students to receive the same rich foundation as their peers.

 “Education is the entire foundation upon which our communities are built and the foundation upon which our country produces those that will keep the economy prosperous,” says Chantale. “Everything we do – all of our potential success – is dependent upon the quality of the education a child receives.”

The Jacques Pierre-Louis fund will specifically support scholarships for students of color who show an interest in mathematics, science, and technology with a desire for service to others. When students are given the opportunity to receive high-quality education along with the strengthening of their faith, the church and community are both strengthened.

To work with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan in setting up a fund in honor of a loved one, click here to learn more or call Angela Moloney at (248) 204-0332, ext. 2.

CLICK HERE TO SUPPORT STEM SCHOLARSHIPS FOR STUDENTS OF COLOR

Create a Fund for a Cause You Are Passionate About

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matthew 25:37-40)

In 1987, an area Catholic family had an encounter that would change the trajectory of their life. Reeling from unexpected diagnoses following the birth of their son, they happened upon a hitchhiker who was presumably en route to Saulte Ste. Marie, but was  350 miles away and headed in the wrong direction Their brief conversation was full of moments that were too unusual to be called coincidences. The young man had recovered from the same heart condition as their son was awaiting surgery. The hope received in that conversation was life-giving. They were reminded in this that their family was seen by God and their son, who had been diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome, was very precious to the Lord.

Their son, now a 35-year-old man, is thriving and brings great joy to all who know him. He is the inspiration for St. Andrew Scholars Fund held at the Catholic Foundation of Michigan. St. Andrew Scholars Fund provides assistance for children with disabilities to attend Catholic school.

“Our great Catholic schools have the desire to be inclusive to students with disabilities, but often lack the funding or training to execute their desire with success,” shared the family. “By providing support for special needs students and inclusive Catholic schools, we’re making a difference in the lives of one student at a time.”

“We have been blessed to have a special needs child.  We wanted him to have a Catholic education.  Unfortunately, we were encouraged to enroll our son in a local public school. Too often, this is the experience of other Catholic families that God has blessed with special children. We aim to change this through the St. Andrew Scholars scholarship fund by both helping families with special children and rewarding those schools that are equipped to welcome them.”

According to the National Catholic Education Association and the Journal of Catholic Education, approximately .5% of Catholic school students have a recognized disability, while [children with disabilities] represent 13% of the overall population.”

When asked why they chose to work with the Catholic Foundation, they said, “The leadership of the Catholic Foundation is inspired and gifted. We were delighted by the people at the Foundation of and inspired by the Foundation’s mission.”

Often, when we are presented with a challenge, the Lord inspires us to create change to make progress toward a solution. The family looks to the Gospel’s example of Jesus reaching out to the edges of society as an example to follow.

“This is our calling; this is what we can do to help people, This is very meaningful to help people achieve a better life.”

Scholarships will be made available for the 2023-24  school year 2023-4 at select area Catholic schools, with plans to expand to include additional schools in the Archdiocese of Detroit as the fund grows. If you are interested in more information on the St. Andrew Scholars Fund,  or to make a donation, please click here.

To chat with us about setting up a fund in honor of a loved one in collaboration with the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, we invite you to call us at (248) 204-0332, ext. 2.

Give to the St. Andrew Scholars Scholarship Fund

Create a Fund for a Cause You Are Passionate About

The Catholic Foundation is honored to provide sustainable income to Catholic parishes, schools and ministries! In 2022 alone, the Catholic Foundation distributed $798K to 23 ministries through our endowment funds. Since its inception, the Foundation has granted $1.85M  in endowment distributions to 63 different parishes, schools, and ministries. Be inspired by the incredible work of these endowed ministries and learn how they are using their endowment distributions by watching the video below!

 

 


The Catholic Foundation of Michigan distributed over $135,300 on December 15th during the annual community grants celebration.

St. Augustine St. Monica Parish Choir, opened and ended the celebration with prayerful songs.

Over 150 community members came together at the Detroit Athletic Club on December 15th, 2022, to celebrate the Foundation’s five-year anniversary and the incredible work supported through its granting partners. One of this year’s grant recipients, St. Augustine St. Monica parish,  opened the celebration with prayerful and inspiring music.

The 32 projects of local parishes, schools and ministries honored in the morning celebration provide signs of hope in a time when hope is desperately needed.

Chris Allen, Angela Moloney and Archbishop Allen Vigneron presenting an award to Foundation Board chair, Pat Fehring for his years of service.

The competitive grant recipients are selected by the Catholic Foundation of Michigan’s Grant and Impact Committee and address grassroots community needs focusing on social outreach, education, and vibrant church life. Grants were awarded to Catholic and non-Catholic projects that will foster collaboration and innovation and expand education, service, or outreach aligned with Catholic values.

This year’s presentation of awards was announced by Beverly Beltramo, a member of the Catholic Foundation of Michigan’s Grant and Impact Committee and board. “Each grant application took my breath away. The amazing work you [the grant recipients] do–usually quietly, under the surface– just good, holy people living the call, to serve Jesus and to serve those around them challenged me–and inspired me,” shared Beverly before thanking the many ministries in the room.

“As a Catholic community foundation, our goal is to listen to the needs of our community and respond accordingly,” shared Foundation President and CEO, Angela Moloney. Angela Moloney also announced the opening of a new granting fund, the Laudato si’ fund, to support creative programs that build reverence and care for creation through environmental projects. Interested organizations can apply for funding in the Spring when the Catholic Foundation’s granting process opens. 

The morning celebration ended with a special award presented to Patrick Fehring, the Catholic Foundation’s Board Chair and Founder, for his 5+ years of inspired vision, dedicated leadership and faithful service.

Over the past five years, the Catholic Foundation has provided more than 640+ grants totaling roughly $16 million from both competitive community grants and donor-directed grants. The Catholic community in our area is living the Gospel in creative, impactful ways; We invite you to join us in amplifying these efforts.

With your support, we can award even more in 2023. When you give through the Catholic Foundation, your contributions are compounded and have an even greater impact. Together we will unleash the giving across southeast Michigan.

GIVE NOW TO A GRANTING FUND

 

Learn more about this year’s grant recipients by watching the video below. 



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.

The 2022 Spirit of Innovation Grant was awarded to St. Suzanne Cody Rouge Community Resource Center in Detroit for their Synergistic Community Resource Centers project. Based on a scalable model in west Detroit, the project will create and support a network of Catholic Community Resource Centers by empowering parishes and vulnerable communities to cooperatively assess needs, utilize excess facility capacity innovatively and establish a sustainable fiscal structure.

The existing parish-based model in the heart of the Cody Rouge neighborhood uses the building of the previously closed St. Suzanne’s Elementary School to rent classrooms and large spaces, host large community events and provide critical services to children, youth, and families alike.

Several representatives of diverse parishes have reached out to St. Suzanne to model this program and some of its innovations and has begun to structure informal networks of like groups. “Thanks to the Catholic Foundation of Michigan’s Spirit of Innovation grant, we will use these funds to further this mission and this model to create a network to share opportunities with other sites to expand this good work,” shared Steve Wasko, the center’s project director.

The Center is an innovative, creative energizer and convener of programs of services that truly connects a vibrant and spiritual parish with the surrounding neighborhood and beyond, serving as the epicenter of programs for children, families and youth across all aspects of the community. And it does so with guiding principles unique in inner-city ministry: sustainability, partnerships, synergy, green infrastructure and care for creation, holism, and empowerment.

“Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron’s pastoral letter, Unleash the Gospel, calls on all of us to not only participate in The New Pentecost, but to witness and proclaim the signs and wonders great and small around us, signs that convince people that Jesus Christ is truly alive. A true example of engaging new bands of joyful missionary disciples across the boundaries of parishes, schools, neighborhoods and communities, and beyond those boundaries is the start-up mission work being undertaken at the St. Suzanne Cody Rouge Community Resource Center.”

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

Sanctity of Life Granting Fund – In Memory of Marisa Petrella

In honor of the life-giving spirit of Marisa Petrella, a devoted Catholic Foundation of Michigan board member, the Sanctity of Life Endowed Granting Fund was established through the generosity of the Catholic Foundation staff and Board of Directors. The fund is dedicated to supporting creative programs that nurture a holistic reverence for life. This emphasis stems from the belief that every person is created in the image and likeness of God. 

Named in memory of Marisa, the Sanctity of Life Fund is a communal fund, open to gifts from anyone; it allows for gifts of any size to be compiled and increase the impact of these annual pro-life grants, for years to come. “It was my complete joy to know Marisa as a woman of faith, a leader and friend,” said Angela Moloney, President and CEO of the Catholic Foundation. “It is my prayer that through this gift of generosity that supports the seamless garment of life, the community will, ‘rejoice always… and give thanks’ for her life and ministry.”

The Sanctity of Life granting fund made two grant awards in 2022 to the following organizations:

  1.  The Lennon Pregnancy Center
    • Project Name: Buckle up for Safety
    • Project Purpose: Buckle up for Safety will instruct parents on properly installing a car seat into a private vehicle. After completing the safety class, clients receive a new car seat. According the Center, there are no other state-funded organizations where moms in need from the area can receive a new car seat.
    • Award Amount: $5,000
  2.  Selah’s Center of Hope
    • Project Name: Sanctitas Vitae
    • Project Purpose: Sanctitas Vitae project will help educate clients on Biblical values and fetal development and create discipleship opportunities for Church leadership. Utilizing the One Accord/Making Life Disciples program, the project will mobilize members to establish a team that can walk alongside women and men facing pregnancy decisions.
    • Award Amount:$2,500

Learn more about  the Buckle up for Safety project by watching the video below.

 

“We are estimating that the funds can help us provide car seats for 50 to 60 families that are registered with us,” shared Mariann Bolton, the director of the Lennon Pregnancy Center in Dearborn Heights. “We are so very grateful for this opportunity and would like to heartfully thank the Catholic Foundation for assisting our mission to protect the lives of our clients, their children and their unborn child.”

Our community is one that seeks to uphold all life, and you can join in these shared efforts by making a gift to The Sanctity of Life fund, in honor of Marisa, who championed life. You can also create a new fund in honor or memory of a loved one.

“It’s clear the Spirit is at work in what we’re doing, and you can’t hold the Spirit back! The Catholic Foundation of Michigan will exceed our expectations because God is working through us.”

Marisa Petrella, 2018 Article

 

Support the Sanctity of Life Granting Fund

Create a Fund In Honor and Memory of Your Loved One