Lisa Louis (Executive Director) presents check to Cindy Zelanek (Teacher), Sr. Katherine Horan, OSB (Principal), Reese Wilczynski, Kaleena Huber, and Edward Terrizzi (students) of Blessed Sacrament School in Erie.
Lisa Louis (Executive Director) presents check to Cindy Zelanek (Teacher), Sr. Katherine Horan, OSB (Principal), Reese Wilczynski, Kaleena Huber, and Edward Terrizzi (students) of Blessed Sacrament School in Erie.

The Catholic Foundation of Northwest Pennsylvania is pleased to announce that eleven grants totaling $53,150 were awarded to support ten projects during our 2023 Fall Education competitive grant cycle. The Catholic Foundation attracts, professionally manages, and invests gifts to support the current and long-term financial needs of parishes, schools, and ministries. Through the stewardship and growth of these endowment funds, grants are made to support the Catholic ministries serving the community of northwest Pennsylvania. Funded by the Foundation's Education Endowment as well as funds established by individuals to carry out their charitable goals, these grants will support a wide range of projects in multiple geographic areas.

Blessed Sacrament School in Erie, seeking to implement a Financial Literacy pilot program for middle school students, turned to the Catholic Foundation for support and was awarded a $7,000 grant for the program. This program will benefit middle school students at both Blessed Sacrament School and Saint James School and will be offered in collaboration with the Youth Literacy Project and B&T Erie. This advanced level program is intended to enhance the student's financial experience by learning and adopting the necessary financial knowledge and best practices that are essential for success. The program's teaching professionals have been trained to emphasize the importance of financial education, decision making skills, how to locate, create and utilize financial resources and other soft skills necessary to succeed in all areas of a participant's financial life cycle.

Holy Redeemer Parish in Warren was awarded two grants. The first will help fund the creation of an outdoor seating space, including a concrete pad, a large fire pit, and furniture for seating. This area can be used for faith formation, youth groups, and other group prayer activities. “This project will benefit all generations from both parishes in our community. A space such as this is relevant, welcoming, and fun,” Jennifer Wortman, Director of Faith Formation, explained in her grant application. The second grant awarded to Holy Redeemer will fund the purchase of Hallow app subscriptions for catechists of Warren Catholic Community Faith Formation and teachers at Saint Joseph Catholic School. When commenting on the potential impact of this resource, Jennifer said, "We believe it is so important to take advantage of new and innovative resources. The Hallow App full subscription will provide spiritual nourishment to our school teachers and catechists. It will also allow for the use of new, creative, colorful, educational and prayer filled lessons to supplement our religion curriculums. It will give inspiration and ideas to leaders as they educate and ignite many generations in the faith and teachings of the Church."

RSZ Saint Michael School check
Lisa Louis (Executive Director) and Roberta Leonard (Catholic Foundation board member) present check to Emily Mahoney (Teacher), Emily Zgonc (Principal), Jackson Ribley, Kolt McAfoose, Mia Wisnyai, Erika Quinn, and Cabella Fry (students) of Saint Michael School in Greenville.

Technology upgrades continue to be an ever-present need in our parishes and Catholic schools. The Saint Marys Interparish Faith Formation program in Saint Marys received a grant to purchase a new laptop for the Confirmation Coordinator. The newer computer will have the ability to use Zoom and hook up to a larger screen, providing an improved experience for the Confirmation class of over 85 students. Saint Michael School in Greenville received a $7,000 grant to purchase laptops for their teachers, as well as six document cameras. “Our project is of utmost importance for our teachers to function effectively in our classrooms,” Emily Zgonc, principal of Saint Michael School, wrote in her grant application. “Document cameras greatly enhance the learning experience of our students, allowing them to see their teacher model excellent work as well as learn to appreciate beautiful art.” Saint Joseph Parish in Force received a grant to support the purchase of upgraded technology for their faith formation classrooms, and to provide a Formed subscription for the parish. “Technology can bring the faith to Catholics in new and exciting ways,” Fr. Mark Mastrian, pastor of Saint Joseph Parish, wrote in his grant application. “Our goal is to provide faith formation students and the parish community as a whole the resources to more fully engage with and become educated in our faith.”

RSZ Our Lady of Mercy School check
Lisa Louis (Executive Director) presents a check to Fr. Matt Kujawinski (Pastor) and Irene Lucas (Director of Lifelong Faith Formation) of Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Harborcreek.

Two parishes were awarded grants to provide unique spiritual opportunities to their parishioners and staff. Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Harborcreek received a $3,500 grant to support a three day parish mission, which will include presentations by Tricia O’Mahony Hoyt as well as professional and spiritual development for the parish staff. Irene Lucas, Director of Lifelong Faith Formation, wrote in her grant application “this parish program will create a space in which participants can be aware of God, who is always present…Through a look at the spirituality of current social issues, those who encounter God and grow in divine love will be challenged to go forth to build the Kingdom of God.” Saint Joseph Parish in Warren received a $4,000 grant to fund a concert and presentation by Fr. Ricky Manolo, a composer of liturgical music. “This is a unique opportunity for hundreds in the Warren Catholic community to deepen their love for the Catholic faith, music, and the Eucharist,” Betsy Williams, pastoral associate and advancement director, wrote in her grant application. This opportunity was partially funded by a grant from the Foundation's Michael C. McCloskey Memorial Endowment.

Two school systems received grants to purchase SMARTboards and other technology to enhance their classrooms. Venango Region Catholic School received a $10,000 grant to purchase six SMARTboards with carts and laptops for students in grades 1 through 6 at Saint Stephen Elementary School. Gregory Knox, Director of Technology, wrote in his grant application, “In our existing programs, some content needs to be tangible or available to bring in the classroom. SMART allows us to bring concepts to students in new ways. Students will work with interactive charts, diagrams, websites, and numerous other tools that will deepen all students’ understanding of content.”

DuBois Central Catholic School received a $12,000 grant to fund the purchase of two SMARTboards, teacher laptops, a laptop charging cart, two digital microscopes, and lab materials for science classes. “Technology is critical for the successful execution of new and existing curricula in the modern classroom,” Sandra Sherry, avancement and admissions assistant, wrote in her grant application. “A solid, faith-centered, technology-forward education sets our students up to be future leaders in a wide variety of career and life paths.”

Click the link below for a complete list of grantees.

We are pleased to announce the Catholic Foundation's 2024 grant cycles.

Spring Education Grant applications will be accepted February 5, 2024 through March 18, 2024.

Faith Formation Grant applications will be accepted February 19, 2024 through April 1, 2024.

Catholic Social Ministry applications will be accepted June 17, 2024 through July 29, 2024.

Fall Education Grant applications will be accepted August 19, 2024 through September 30, 2024.

Be the Spark to light the fire of faith in others!

Catholic Foundation Education competitive grants awarded during this cycle were made possible through the Education Endowment and Michael C. McCloskey Memorial Endowment. Donations in any amount designated for these endowments increase our capacity to award grants for impactful faith formation and education programs and projects throughout northwest Pennsylvania lighting the flame of faith today and for future generations.

More News & Updates