Provides a one-time tuition assistance award to two incoming freshmen students at Gabriel Richard Catholic High School in Riverview, Michigan.

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This  fund provides literacy and math support at Most Holy Trinity Grade School in Detroit, Michigan.

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This  fund will support the St. Anastasia Music Ministry at St. Anastasia Troy, Michigan.

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This fund will provide general operations support and long-term sustainability at Most Holy Redeemer Parish in Detroit, Michigan.

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This fund will provide general operations support and long-term sustainability at Holy Redeemer Grade School in Detroit, Michigan.

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Written by Mary Wilkerson
Inspired by Joey Wilkerson

 

Growing up as a cradle Catholic of Polish and Irish descent, I am not sure I ever thought twice about the Sacred images surrounding me in Church. The vast majority of images reflected back at me saints and holy men and women who looked like me. 

As one of the great miracles of my life, after much prayer, the Lord led me to my husband Aaron. Aaron is an African American convert to our faith. We fell in love, got married, and had our first child within two years of meeting. In the Lord’s complete undeserved generosity, Aaron and I were blessed with 5 children in the first 6.5 years of marriage. These beautiful children, three sons and two daughters- perfect images of God’s goodness. Looking at my children is always amazing because they are all different shades. Not even one of our skin tones matches and through this, I get a front-row view of the beauty of diversity within the Body of Christ.

The Wilkerson Family Photo By Kindred Spirits Photography

As many people know, children can teach us in profound ways. When my children were toddlers and into the first years of school, I could see how important it was for them to have images of holiness that matched them. Representation of all shades took on a whole new meaning when I, as one of the two primary catechists of our children, saw how important it was for our kids to see images of holiness. I would notice my sons’ ears perk up when saint stories featured men and women of color. It was then I began to see how very important representation of people of color is within our Sacred spaces. 

One of my children, Joseph (Joey) often talks about feeling called to be a priest. I am not sure where God will end up leading him, but his insights into the faith stun me. When we found out about the Sacred Cultural Art Fund through the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, our Joey knew it was something he wanted to be involved with. Joey shared on social media about the importance of him seeing men/women who lived lives of holiness, and also looked like him. He shared how as a young boy of faith, seeing people of color within the church allows him to more easily picture himself as belonging to the family of God. Joseph, in his wisdom talked about vocations, and how as an African American young boy, he wants other African American men and women to know they belong in the fold of the Catholic Church. 

Joey asked our little community, our sphere of influence, to consider donating to this fund, and wouldn’t you know, our community responded. Our little community was able to raise thousands of dollars in just under a week to be donated to the Sacred Cultural Art Fund.

As a white mother of five beautiful African American children, so much of the racial dialogue of our time has been difficult to witness. Our family maneuvers our way through divisive sound bites on every side of the political spectrum. And yet, we know… Myself, my husband Aaron, and our children, Aaron, Joseph, John Paul, Malia and Julia- we know the true possibility of racial healing in this country. A healing that will only come from a deeper understanding of our loving God, the God who desires unity and peace, without sacrificing the beautiful diversity within His Body. A friend pointed out that whenever our Lady visits different countries through her apparitions, she always chooses to appear in the image of the culture she is appearing to. Our Lady, I like to think, values the importance of Sacred Cultural Images.

I will be forever grateful to the Catholic Foundation of Michigan for promoting and sponsoring the Sacred Cultural Art Fund. I deeply pray and hope men and women continue to donate to this fund, so that as my children grow, as children of the Archdiocese of Detroit, they will continue to see images that reflect back the beauty of diversity found in our church. Through the Catholic Foundation of Michigan, our children will be able to experience and see holy men and women of color, living their faith in vibrant ways. This is a blessing and a grace I will remember in years to come.

Support the Sacred Cultural Artwork Fund

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Twelve depictions were revealed at St. Suzanne/Our Lady Gate of Heaven Parish on Nov. 21 as part of a traveling exhibit meant to promote Black Catholic representation in sacred art. (Photos by Dan Meloy | Detroit Catholic)

To learn more about the collaborative efforts of the Catholic Foundation, the College of Creative Studies and the Archdiocese of Detroit’s Cultural Ministries and Evangelical Charity, click here.

This fund provides tuition at Shrine Grade School in Royal Oak, Michigan.

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This fund supports educational programs in honor of Miss Pryor’s years of service at St. Thecla Catholic School, Clinton Township

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Sharing the joy of generosity through impactful investment is at the heart of the Catholic Foundation, and that joy is clear in the addition of the four new appointments to the Foundation’s Board of Directions for 2022. 

Learn more about each board member’s unique set of experiences and skills, and passion for building up the Church below.


Aaron Wilkerson is the Manager of Data at Learning Care Group, a child care provider based out of Novi. Aaron has over 15 years of experience in data & analytics and has specialized in building and driving data strategies that help companies leverage their data assets.

Aaron first learned about the Foundation five years ago, when it was in its early infancy. Intrigued by the Foundation’s mission, Aaron served as a committee member on the Marketing and Fund Development Committee. After doing committee work for the past few years, Aaron grew interested in serving the Foundation in a different capacity by joining the board.

“I’m inspired by the forward thinking and strategic vision of the Foundation. The Church has called younger Catholics like me to step up and be at the forefront of helping to shape what the future of the Church will look like. Philanthropy is a core pillar of our Catholic community that we need to continue to grow.”

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Maria Scott studied at the University of Michigan, Flint, where she earned her BBA in Marketing. For graduate education, she attended Lawrence Technological University, earned her MBA in Information Systems, and also worked at Electronic Data Systems as a systems engineer. Maria currently sits on the Capuchin Soup Kitchen’s cabinet committee in Detroit.

Maria first learned about the Catholic Foundation through a friend who invited her to attend the Foundation’s annual grant celebration and was later invited to sit on the Foundation’s Grant and Impact Committee.

“What inspires me most about the Catholic Foundation is that it brings together gifts of generous people and turns those gifts into opportunities in the community, from supporting a child’s education to supporting Catholic organizations who in turn are able to reach further into their communities. My hope in the leadership role is to be able to help the Foundation grow in its efforts to be able to aid and give hope to the community it serves,” she shares.

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Nicole Franzen Kuklewski has spent the last 15 years transforming corporate real estate and workplace environments through strategy and design. Prior to joining Haworth, a Michigan headquartered commercial furniture manufacturer, she worked in Sydney, Honolulu and Detroit in commercial development, construction and architecture.

Prior to joining the Foundation board, Nicole reflected deeply on what giving back to the Catholic community could like. In 2021, she picked up the phone and connected with Angela at the Foundation to see how she could lend her talent to serve. She is incredibly eager to give back as she feels immensely blessed by the gifts she received in her Catholic education and faith formation in her hometown church St. Joseph’s (Maybee) while attending St. Patrick’s Grade School (Carleton) and St. Mary’s Catholic Central Highschool (Monroe) and now as a parishioner at St. Patrick’s in Brighton.

As a mother of two, she wants to ensure her children not only hear but see how we take care of our community through the talents and gifts that God has bestowed upon us to share.

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Scott Bennett
is a Senior Vice President at Peninsula Private Wealth of Raymond James in Birmingham. His key areas of focus include estate planning, retirement planning and business succession planning.

Scott first learned about The Catholic Foundation when it was introduced to his parish, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, and instantly felt a connection to the mission of the foundation and a nudge from the Holy Spirit to get involved.

 “Philanthropy is in the DNA of the planning we do with clients and what our team does personally. The foundation is an exciting way for Catholics to create a legacy to support important Catholic activities and organizations both now and for the future,”  he shared.

 


 

The spirit of generosity that called these individuals to deeper service to their Catholic communities was also driven by confidence in the impact and fruitfulness of the Catholic Foundation of Michigan. President and CEO Angela Moloney is excited about the growth of the Foundation’s participation, asset size, and community awareness.

“As the Catholic Foundation continues to grow, I am pleased to welcome the highly talented leadership of our new board members. I am grateful for the dynamic and unique perspectives that each of them will bring to our community,” she says.

You, too, can approach your own call to generosity with confidence when you create a fund for the charitable organization you long to support!

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Your steadfast support during another unpredictable year fills us with gratitude. Our Catholic community of compassionate donors and dedicated partners continues to grow, and we are honored to serve as your trusted steward.

 

In 2021, the Catholic Foundation created meaningful lasting Catholic legacies. Together with our 200+ fund holders, the Foundation granted over $3.4 million to nearly 400 organizations, helping our parishes, schools and ministries thrive today and forever. We were especially honored to support individuals, families, and organizations in establishing 14 memorial and tribute funds to honor faithful individuals whose legacy will live on for eternity.

 

Our Catholic values and faith set us apart. We exist to develop possibilities for faithful people to address the needs and enhance the lives of people throughout our area. The Foundation provides the opportunity to make a forever-impact, to leave a Catholic legacy.

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