l to r: Tom Hoffman (Foundation board member) and Lisa Louis (Executive Director) present grant check to Erie Catholic School System representatives Nicole Reitzell (Vice President of Advancement) and John Blakeslee (Board Member)
l to r: Tom Hoffman (Foundation board member) and Lisa Louis (Executive Director) present grant check to Erie Catholic School System representatives Nicole Reitzell (Vice President of Advancement) and John Blakeslee (Board Member)

The Catholic Foundation of Northwest Pennsylvania is pleased to announce that 22 grants totaling $71,365 were awarded to support 20 projects during our 2024 spring grant cycle. Funded by the Foundation’s Education Endowment and Faith Formation Endowment as well as endowments established by individuals to carry out their charitable goals, these grants will support a wide range of projects and needs and will have impact throughout the thirteen counties of the Diocese of Erie.

Erie Catholic School System in Erie received a $15,000 Education grant to hire a consultant to develop a strategic plan for the future of Catholic schools in the Erie Catholic School System, as well as send staff to the Partners in Mission 2024 Summer Institute Conference. “With more than 1,800 students relying on our schools to provide an academically rigorous faith-based education, strategic, data-driven planning is critical,” Nicole Reitzell, Vice President of Advancement, wrote in her application.

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Vince Assetta (Foundation board member) presents grant checks to Saint Mary Parish. (l to r) Fr. Tom Curry (Pastor), Hannah Cheatle (Middle School Faith Formation Coordinator), Vince Assetta, and Mary Lynn Carnovale (Faith Formation Administrator)

Three parishes received multiple grants for upcoming spiritual experiences and programs. Our Lady of Peace Parish (OLP) in Erie received three Education grants totaling $9,000. These funds will support spiritual direction training of an OLP parishioner, parish leadership team attendance at this summer’s Amazing Parish training summit, and a pilgrimage around the Diocese of Erie and surrounding area for 16 parish youth. “We will grow in the understanding that the Diocese is bigger than our parish,” Sarah Beaver, Coordinator of Youth Ministry wrote in her application. Saint Mary Parish in St. Marys received two grants: a Faith Formation grant to purchase a Vacation Bible School kit and other supplies for the experience, and an Education grant to send Faith Formation students to Catholic Heart Workcamp in New Castle, PA. Saint George Parish in Erie also received two grants. A Faith Formation grant will help to send three staff members and their pastor to the Life Teen Catholic Youth Ministry Convention, and an Education grant which will support the purchase of a new sound system for the school cafeteria. This technology upgrade will enhance many parish and school activities and events at Saint George.

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Lisa Louis (Executive Director) and Mike Bova (Foundation board secretary, far right) present a grant check to Blessed Sacrament Parish. (l to r) Father Phil Pinczewski (Pastor) and Jennifer Durney (Director of Religious Education)

Saint Tobias Parish in Brockway received a grant supporting their Music & Mission Summer Kick-Off. This evening included music from the duo The Scally Brothers. Tara Starr, Director of Religious Education, wrote in her application that, while the event was for the whole parish to enjoy, youth were especially on their minds as they selected their entertainment. “All praise and worship opportunities are important to keep a parish vibrant and informed. We are looking for ways to keep the excitement of finding life in Christ ongoing. What better opportunity than bringing a young musically talented group to our rural church?” Epiphany of the Lord Parish in Meadville, a first-time grant recipient, received a grant to support their 2025 parish mission featuring presenter Father James Sichko.

Both Blessed Sacrament Parish in Erie, also a first-time grant recipient, and Saint Boniface Parish in Kersey received Faith Formation grants to update their religious education experiences. Blessed Sacrament Parish will use their funds to create a space for their middle school faith formation students with room dividers and new furniture. “We are looking to give our young people a physical space at Blessed Sacrament to match the progress we have made in religious education that allows them to explore their questions, dreams, and concerns in a less formal environment,” Jennifer Durney, Director of Religious Education, wrote in her application. Saint Boniface Parish will purchase faith formation curriculum books and RCIA handbooks.

Finally, several parishes received grants for a variety of technology improvements including first-time grant recipients Saint Joseph Parish in Sharon, Saint John Parish in Tidioute, and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Parish in Smethport. All will use their grant funds to upgrade and enhance their Faith Formation technology. Saint Gregory Thaumaturgus Parish in North East will use their grant to purchase a new sound system for their church family room where many faith formation activities are held, and Saint Thomas the Apostle Parish in Corry will use their grant funds to continue an in-progress upgrade to their technology for Faith Formation classes.

Click below to read a full list of grantees.

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Lisa Louis (Executive Director, far left) presents grant check to Epiphany of the Lord Parish. (l to r) Father Jeffrey Lucas (Pastor) and Amy Mosbacher (Director of Adult Evangelization and Faith Formation)
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Lisa Louis (Executive Director, far right) and Bill Steger (Foundation board treasurer, far left) present grant check to Saint George Parish pastor Father Brian Vossler.
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Lisa Louis (Executive Director, 2nd from left) presents grant check to Our Lady of Peace Parish. (l to r) Father Richard Toohey (Pastor), Mary Beth Whitman (Business Manager), and Sarah Beaver (Coordinator of Youth Ministry)
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Lisa Louis (Executive Director, far right) present grant check to Saint Joseph Parish in Sharon. (l to r) Father James Power (Pastor) and Melissa Joseph (Edge Program Director)
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Ken Kane (Foundation board vice chair, far right) presents grant check to Saint Boniface Parish in Kersey. (l to r) Father Kevin Holland (Pastor) and Irene Holjencin (Faith Formation Director)

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

The Catholic Foundation has been blessed by generous donors who give with their heart in support of the mission of the Catholic Church now and forever. Thanks to these committed Catholics, the Foundation manages over 100 funds that provide grants and distributions to parishes, schools, and Catholic ministries in northwest Pennsylvania. Education grants are made possible specifically through donations designated for the Education Endowment and Faith Formation grants are made possible through donations designated for the Faith Formation Endowment. Donations in any amount designated for these funds increase our capacity to award grants for impactful projects today and for future generations.

Parishes and Catholic Schools are invited to apply!

The 2024 Fall Education grant cycle will open August 19, 2024. Review the guidelines and criteria and consider applying. Online applications will be accepted through September 30, 2024.

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