Loretto Thanks God for All Peoples, Shares Bounty Through Special Needs Fund
“As we stand with Mary at the foot of the cross, we strive to bring the healing Spirit of God into our world and we commit ourselves to improving the conditions of those who suffer from injustice, oppression and deprivation of dignity.”“I Am the Way,” Loretto’s Constitutions, # 33
As one way of expressing the above stated commitment, the Loretto Community regularly gives to those in need through its Special Needs Fund. Established by the Loretto General Assembly of 1973, the fund has been used to actively promote Loretto’s mission for 47 years. The Special Needs Fund provides grants to help effect social change and to address emergency needs of Loretto’s economically disadvantaged neighbors in times of crisis.
Loretto’s Special Needs Committee oversees the selection and distribution of the fund’s grants to individuals experiencing dire circumstances and non-profit organizations that assist persons with particular needs. A percentage of Loretto’s general fund budget is allocated to the Special Needs Fund. Thus, a small portion of every contribution made to Loretto will become part of the Special Needs Fund.
To obtain a Special Needs grant, a Loretto Community member writes a letter of support for a non-profit organization requesting a grant or for an individual family in need. An application includes data about the need. It is important for a Loretto member to have a relationship with the person making the request, whether from direct service with the applicant or from other personal knowledge of the need.
Particular attention goes to groups working for women’s rights and migrants. For this year’s most recent grant cycle, $42,000 was granted to 10 organizations. The grants were awarded to, among others, a school in Haiti that supports community development in very poor areas, for computers and software to a school in Pakistan, to a child care center in Kentucky needing a refrigerator, to a migrant community action project in Missouri, and to an English as a Second Language Program for adult immigrant women in Kentucky. Click here for a complete list of grant recipients.
The Special Needs Committee meets twice a year (virtually this year) to review the grant requests. While committee members are grateful that Loretto can provide assistance to some in need, they are sad when there are insufficient funds to grant each request. The intention is always to bring the healing Spirit of God, if not to the whole world, at least to places Loretto can touch in this way.
This week, as we celebrate Thanksgiving Day Thursday, Nov. 26, we particularly wish to thank God for all the peoples of the world, indigenous and immigrant, of every culture, color, creed and gender. We acknowledge them in gratitude and pray in a spirit of thanksgiving that peace and justice will come to all.
Our Special Needs Fund provides Loretto with one means to share the many blessings God has bestowed on the Community. This week, be sure to visit Loretto’s Facebook page, where we will highlight some of the admirable organizations chosen as fund recipients for 2020. Through efforts like our Special Needs Fund, we provide the yeast.
“This is what we are about: We plant seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds that are already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects beyond our capabilities.”
— Archbishop Oscar Romero