Loretto Special Needs Committee Awards 11 Grants, Spring 2018
By Sue Rogers
The Loretto Special Needs Committee awarded 11 social change grants to diverse groups who share in Loretto’s commitment to build a culture of peace and justice and serve its struggling neighbors. The committee met by Zoom March 17. Committee members responsible for making decisions about grant awards are Martha Alderson, Angela Bianco, Janet Rabideau, Ruth Routten and Barbara Schulte.
Grants awarded were these:
- Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty. This group, based in Kansas City, Mo., has a long and dedicated history of organizing opposition to the death penalty in a highly pro-death penalty state. The grant of $5,000 will help them focus on grassroots mobilization of communities of color with education and outreach surrounding the justice issues of the death penalty and will work to effect policy change. Mary Swain wrote the letter of support for this group. Martha Fly, a long-standing member of the group, has been Loretto’s connection for many years.
- The Catholic Committee on Appalachia, based out of Spenser, W.Va., was awarded a grant of $5,000 to provide start-up support for an intentional community of chronically underhoused transgender young adults living in Appalachia. The proposal was supported by Maureen O’Connell.
- St. Vincent Mission in David, Ky., requested and received $3,000 to support its ongoing home repair program serving the area poor. The mission will use Special Needs funding to purchase needed materials. Volunteers will provide the labor. Pat Frueh, who volunteered with St. Vincent’s while living in David, provided the group’s letter of support.
- El Paso Villa Maria, a residence for single women on the border who are struggling to overcome homelessness, received a grant of $7,500 to provide case management services for residents. The case management services contribute to the outstanding success of Villa Maria’s program by connecting residents to needed services and supports in the El Paso community. Mary Margaret Murphy is on the staff, and Liz Deines recommended funding of the grant.
- Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Program in El Paso was supported by Buffy Boesen. The program’s grant of $7,500 was funded in part by Special Needs ($2,500), with the remainder ($5,000) coming from the Immigrant and Refugee Fund. The grant will support the agency’s Removal Defense Project, which provides legal services solely to low-income immigrants facing deportation.
- EarthLinks Inc. in Denver was awarded a grant of $6,000 to support a micro-employment workshop program providing services to homeless and low-income persons, including those with mental-illness issues. The program is uniquely earth-centered, using material from the EarthLinks garden to create craft items that are sold. Income generated is returned to participants. Cathy Mueller, EarthLinks co-founder, wrote the letter of support.
- Centre Street Food Pantry, located in Newton Center, Mass., received a grant of $3,600 to provide women’s sanitary supplies to its food bank customers. Increasingly, food banks are working with their clients to meet basic hygiene needs as women struggle to feed their children and meet their own basic needs. Mary Lou Pierron endorsed funding for this project.
- The Sisters of the Holy Family, Loretto’s Sister Community in Guatemala received a grant of $3,600 to support three sisters in Honduras who are starting a program of visitation and accompaniment in a strife-ridden area. Support for this grant originated from a recent visit by Loretto Community members to Guatemala to be with the Holy Family Sisters. Mary Ann McGivern and Pat Geier supported the project and helped with translations.
- United Congregations of Metro East (UCM), based out of Cahokia, Ill., received a grant of $6,000 to support community organizing in East St. Louis, Ill., one of the most economically devastated areas surrounding St. Louis. UCM is a coalition of local churches bringing communities together to address issues that include schools, transportation, employment, racial issues and law enforcement. Denise Ann Clifford recommended funding this project.
- The Haiti Committee, Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, in Arlington, Va., received a grant of $7,500 to support three Chapel Schools in the rural areas surrounding Midor, Haiti. The parish has an active twinning program with the Midor parish. The schools serve extremely poor children who walk barefoot for as many as several miles to get to the schools and would not have access to education without the Chapel Schools. Donna Day, who has met with the Haiti Committee, wrote the letter of support.
- New Foundations-Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP), located in Denver, received a grant for $2,400 to provide Alternatives to Violence workshops in a variety of venues in the Denver area, including a women’s detention center. The workshops are conducted by trained volunteers, and the grant was supported by Anna Koop.
Each of these groups is required to submit a report on the use of Loretto Special Needs Funds within one year.