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Organizations Receive Non-Emergency Loretto Special Needs Grants

Posted on February 1, 2020, by Marlene Spero SL

The Loretto Special Needs Committee has concluded its 2019 distribution of funds for long-range social change projects. Grants are solicited twice a calendar year, on Feb. 15 and Oct. 15, with the committee meeting in March and November to analyze and evaluate each request and recommend funding according to grant guidelines.

Combining both the February and October cycles, the committee received a total of 32 grant applications from the states of Colorado, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, and Washington, D.C., Bolivia and Pakistan. A Loretto member familiar with the work done by the submitting organization recommended each grant.

For the Oct. 15 cycle, 11 grant requests were received and funds were allocated as follows:


Spellbinders a network of volunteer senior adults who partner with local schools to build an intergenerational community through storytelling. Stories acknowledge the gifts of cultural diversity, enlighten youth about significant historical events and promote peace while enhancing imagination and listening skills and encouraging character development. Recommended by Kathy Santopietro.


United Congregations of Metro Eastan interfaith, multi-racial organization seeking to organize and empower members of marginalized Illinois Metro-East communities to advocate for issues ranging from child advocacy to disrupt the school to prison pipeline, environmental justice, economic justice and diversity in education. Recommended by Denise Ann Clifford.


Passionist Earth and Spirit Center  —  an organization with the mission to cultivate a community of transformative learning and service, committed to spiritual development, social compassion and care for Earth. Recommended by Mary Swain.

Kentucky Coalition Inc. a statewide organization committed to equality, democracy and non-violent change with the goals of achieving fair political, economic and social systems. Recommended by Maureen O’Connell. 

CrossRoads Ministry a retreat ministry in the heart of West Louisville that offers urban retreat experiences aimed at transforming the lives of young people through prayer, dialogue and intentional relationship building with people who are marginalized. Recommended by Mary Swain.

The Caring Place Inc. an organization committed to promoting and sustaining an ongoing community-based program of safe housing, education, prevention, crisis intervention, advocacy and support and to offering alternatives to victims of domestic violence. Recommended by Marie Ego.


Migrant and Immigrant Community Action Project (MICA)a community organization committed to working with low-income immigrants to overcome barriers to justice by providing legal services, organization, advocacy and education. Recommended by Rita Bruegenhagen. 

Saint Louis Crisis Nursery’s Latino Outreach Program a group of bilingual professionals offering individual and group therapy, case management services, crisis intervention and parenting curriculum to families in crisis struggling with poverty, domestic violence and mental health concerns.  Recommended by Barbara Roche.

Special Needs Committee members:  Martha Alderson, Angela Bianco, Janet Rabideau, Ruth Routten, Barbara Schulte and Marlene Spero 


Marlene Spero SL

Marlene, who in 2019 is celebrating her 60th year as a Sister of Loretto, co-directed and developed a master of arts in teaching program for Webster College in Kansas City, Mo., was a chemistry instructor and program director of humanities and sciences at Loretto Heights College in Denver, and served as bookkeeper and co-coordinator at the Denver Loretto Center and in elected leadership for the Loretto Community. She now resides at Loretto Motherhouse.
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