Churches, schools, nonprofits benefit from local grants

By: Kristyne E. Demske | Metro | Published December 17, 2021

 Catholic Foundation of Michigan Board Member Chris Allen, CEO Angela Moloney and Anthony Schena, chair of the Grant and Impact Committee, pose at the Dec. 7 awards breakfast held at the Detroit Athletic Club.

Catholic Foundation of Michigan Board Member Chris Allen, CEO Angela Moloney and Anthony Schena, chair of the Grant and Impact Committee, pose at the Dec. 7 awards breakfast held at the Detroit Athletic Club.

Photo provided by Angela Moloney

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METRO DETROIT — Four years after its founding, the Catholic Foundation of Michigan is making a difference to more than 30 local charities with its annual grant awards.

The foundation granted $138,500 to 34 churches, schools and nonprofit organizations at its fourth annual grant awards breakfast Dec. 7 at the Detroit Athletic Club.

“We’re a Catholic community foundation,” said Angela Moloney, of Ypsilanti, president and CEO of the foundation. “The mission is really to engage and inform and inspire Catholic, as well as nonprofit ministries, to build a stronger and more hopeful, vibrant community.”

The organization is separate from the Archdiocese of Detroit, or AOD. It receives funding from different community members, as well as from the AOD, to grant in-line with donor intent and passions, she said.

This year, the Catholic Foundation of Michigan grants given out Dec. 7 fell into three different categories: vibrant parish life, social outreach, and Catholic education and formation.

Anthony Schena, of Grosse Pointe Woods, the chairperson of the 11-member Grant and Impact Committee, said each application was read by several of the committee members to make sure all perspectives are taken into account when deciding which organization to award with grant money so that they “make sure that we chose the applicants that are going to be the most impactful.”

“What the celebration is about is just really a way to celebrate and rejoice in the generosity of all of these incredible people who are supporting the needs of the most vulnerable in our neighborhoods,” he said. “We just want to highlight the contributions to society that these organizations are making.”

Among the local grantees are: Our Lady Star of the Sea’s Seeing in the Light of Day grief support group in Grosse Pointe Woods; Lighthouse’s Emergency Food Response with a location in Lathrup Village; St. Lucy Catholic Church’s Encountering Jesus Through Art in St. Clair Shores; and Warren De La Salle Collegiate and Regina High School’s efforts to lower the costs of their retreat program.

Moloney said they try to promote collaboration with their grants to make sure the money has a bigger impact. A partnership between the Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Christ the King Service Corps and Mercy Volunteers was seeking to collaborate to focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.

The groups are being awarded “one collaborative grant that says they want to work toward building a real, true understanding of their volunteers” who come from across the country to do service work in Detroit, she explained.

The Catholic Foundation of Michigan was launched in 2017.

“As we grow, our granting funds grow,” Moloney said.

The organization began with just a few granting funds and — with the addition of the Sanctity of Life Granting Fund in memory of a late board member, Marisa Petrella — will have nine granting funds as of 2022.

“There are so many incredible people who have generous hearts and they don’t know where to turn. That’s the beautiful part of what we do, is being able to connect those people to those organizations, and we make it very easy,” Schena said.

Those looking to help make an impact should visit the organization’s website, CatholicFoundationMichigan.org, Schena said.

“We’re trying to make a long-term impact on the Catholic Church and provide philanthropic resources and tools for people to just be generous and support the Catholic Church and all these amazing ministries for the future by building something that will continue the legacy for the future,” he said.

“As we prepare for Christmas, recognizing that this has been a challenging year, our hope is the work of the Catholic Foundation (will) really lift people’s spirits and help them see the incredible goodness that’s going on in the community,” Moloney said. “They’ll be part of that positive impact.”

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