Lisa Louis (Executive Director) presents grant awards to Susannah Faulkner (Neighborhood Network), John Collins and Samantha Stump (St. James Haven), Shelby Folga (St. Patrick's Haven) and Sr. Carol Morehouse, SSJ
Lisa Louis (Executive Director) presents grant awards to Susannah Faulkner (Neighborhood Network), John Collins and Samantha Stump (St. James Haven), Shelby Folga (St. Patrick's Haven) and Sr. Carol Morehouse, SSJ

The Catholic Foundation of Northwest Pennsylvania is pleased to announce eleven grants totaling $66,343 were awarded to support nine projects during its 2023 Catholic Social Ministry Grant cycle. Grants are awarded in this area to ministries and projects that embrace and align with Catholic social teaching and are answering the Gospel call to respond to needs within the community.

In 2023, the Foundation expanded the list of organizations eligible for Catholic Social Ministry grants. As a result, the ministries of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania are newly eligible organizations for the Foundation’s Catholic Social Ministry grant. Three Sisters of Saint Joseph affiliated ministries received grants totaling $19,507. The Neighborhood Network in Erie has a three-pronged project which will expand current programs already in place: providing funds for small home repairs, improving community gardens, and providing additional market match funds at their farmer’s market. Applicant Susannah Faulkner said, “each of these projects has been underway for at least 10 years, making Little Italy a defined ‘place’ with increasing neighborhood pride” but “increased costs have created barriers to continue expansion.” This grant will knock down some of those barriers.

St. James Haven in Meadville and St. Patrick’s Haven in Erie, both Sisters of Saint Joseph ministries, provide homeless men with a nightly refuge. St. James Haven will use their grant funds to purchase food and supplies needed for community dinners. St. Patrick’s Haven will use their grant to update their outdoor location and security signage on the property. Funds will also be used to purchase free-standing trays and durable, break-resistant plates and bowls so every resident can have a nourishing and dignified meal.

2023 CSM Maria House
Lisa Louis presents grant check to Robert Boeh (board president) and Joe Tarquinio (Executive Director) of Maria House Project

Maria House Project in Erie was grateful for this new grant opportunity. Maria House Project is a drug and alcohol counseling and recovery facility for men. They also house men released from correctional facilities that are in need of a new way of life. They provide care for not only the residents’ physical needs but also their spiritual needs. Maria House was awarded a grant that will support the residents’ spiritual development. Funds will be used to expand the program’s library and spiritual resources and will also be used to provide the men with a personalized religious medal upon completion of the program. Remaining funds will support staff training and updating and replenishing drug testing equipment to ensure residents are maintaining their sobriety. Joe Tarquinio, Maria House Director, expressed gratitude for these grant funds. “May God continue to bless the Catholic Foundation. We appreciate the opportunity to submit a grant application.”

2023 CSM Sacred Heart
Lisa Louis presents grant check to (l to r) Debbi Tarasovich and Tom Husdon, co-coordinators of Kinship Ministry, and Jessie Hubert, Director of Parish Community Engagemnet at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish

The Kinship Ministry of Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Erie helps prepare new homes for refugees who come to Erie. They received a grant to purchase supplies to make first aid kits, a federal requirement for refugee households, as well as a meal for the volunteers who assemble the kits. Applicant Jessie Hubert, Director of Parish Community Engagement at Sacred Heart Parish, shared that any federally required items not donated to the houses must be purchased by the family through their modest start-up budget. “Every donation we make, such as first aid kits, puts more money in their pockets.”

Prince of Peace Center in Farrell has a mission to strengthen families, build community, and reduce poverty. Their grant funds will support their Hope and Faith programs, which help clients in crisis learn strategies that help prevent reoccurring emergency situations. Saint Martin Center in Erie similarly helps those in crisis through a variety of programs. The grant funds received will provide mortgage assistance to those in immediate need. Both Prince of Peace Center and Saint Martin Center received grants from the Foundation’s Robert M. Gallivan Charitable Endowment to support these projects.

2023 CSM Rural House of Mercy
Lisa Louis presents grant check to Sr. Trish Tyler and Sr. Margaret Park of Rural House of Mercy

Rural House of Mercy in DuBois, a first-time grantee, is a traveling ministry sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas that serves rural people in the area with spiritual and material needs. They were awarded a grant which will impact their community in multiple ways. By partnering with people of Bethany Evangelical Covenant Church, parishioners from the DuBois Catholic Community, The Salvation Army, and local businesses, the sisters work together to provide a healthy, balanced meal twice a month for people in need, many of whom are elderly and poor. Grant funds will be used to purchase earth-friendly containers and food for these outreach dinners. Funds will also be used to purchase food cards which will be used for children with special dietary needs to supplement an already existing community backpack program. Collaboration with the local Methodist community will benefit from the grant in the form of the purchase of discounted clothing for those in the local area who are under the poverty level.

2023 CSM Catholic Rural Ministry
Lisa Louis with Sr. Tina Geiger and Sr. Marian Wehler of Catholic Rural Ministry

Finally, the Diocese of Erie Office for Women Religious received a $13,850 grant to support the work of Catholic Rural Ministry in Oil City. This project specifically will provide funds for families who are in immediate crisis and need assistance with rent, utilities, medical treatment, or transportation. Applicant Justine Geiger, RSM, said the aid provided will stabilize families. Their “financial crisis will be alleviated, and the family will have a plan of action for future self-sufficiency.”

“The community impact of our Catholic Foundation is expanding through collaboration with these new and diverse grantees,” comments Lisa Louis, executive director of the Foundation. “We welcome these new partners who help us to steward these endowed funds as donors intended, doing the work of the Gospel by reaching people in need.”

Click the link below to read a complete list of grantees.

These Catholic Foundation competitive grants are made possible through our Catholic Social Ministry Endowment and the Robert M. Gallivan Charitable Endowment. Donations in any amount designated for these endowments increase our capacity to award grants for impactful Catholic social ministry initiatives throughout northwest Pennsylvania today and for future generations.

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