Lisa Louis (Executive Director, left) and Vince Assetta (Foundation board member, far right) present grant check to Saint Mary Parish staff members Samantha Nedzinski, Bonnie Pearson, Mary Lynn Carnovale, & Ann Marie Pfoutz.
Lisa Louis (Executive Director, left) and Vince Assetta (Foundation board member, far right) present grant check to Saint Mary Parish staff members Samantha Nedzinski, Bonnie Pearson, Mary Lynn Carnovale, & Ann Marie Pfoutz.

The Catholic Foundation of Northwest Pennsylvania is pleased to announce that during its spring grant cycle thirteen grants totaling $56,817 were awarded to support nine projects. 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.

This grant cycle included a grant awarded to Saint Mary Parish in St. Mary’s, a first-time recipient. They received a grant to assist with parish staff attendance at the Defending the Faith Conference at Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH. There is already a tradition at Saint Mary Parish to offer spiritual formation opportunities to their staff members. In her grant application, Bonnie Pearson commented that “faith building will strengthen relationships and help us to be a more effective evangelizing force for the parish and faith formation department.” Our Lady of Peace Parish, Erie, received a grant to support a parish-wide faith formation program focused on increasing understanding and appreciation of the Mass. This program is part of their Eucharistic Revival efforts.

EDIT WEB Shenango Valley Check Photo IMG 4599
(l to r) Lisa Louis (Executive Director) and Roberta Leonard (Foundation board member) present grant check to Angela Surano (school board member) and Karen Ionta (President) of Shenango Valley Catholic School System.

Multiple schools benefited from grants during this cycle as well. DuBois Central Catholic, DuBois, was awarded a grant to fund school-wide student retreats, pilgrimages, and guest speakers. These funds will enhance an already vibrant theology program at the school. Venango Region Catholic School, Oil City, received a grant to support the purchase of competition robotics for the 4th, 5th, and 6th grade STEM robotic program. Applicant Greg Knox wrote in the grant application that “we want to equip our students with the skills to meet an ever-changing world. Through learning about robotics and coding with VEX IQ, we can put our students on that path to success.” This grant complements several previous technology grants that have been awarded to Venango Region Catholic School from the Foundation.

Shenango Valley Catholic School System, Hermitage, was the recipient of two grants supporting their theology program. The first grant will fund updated theology textbooks, teacher manuals, and starter kits. The second grant will support the purchase of children’s bibles for kindergarten through sixth grade students at Saint John Paul II Elementary School. Referencing the goals of the theology program at the school, grant applicant Angela Surano commented that “our hope is that our students learn and appreciate the teachings of Christ and that they carry this with them into adulthood. We also hope that they share these teachings within their own families and communities in order to spread God's Word.” These resources funded by a Foundation grant will support these goals.

2023 FF Grant Check Photo
Lisa Louis (Executive Director, left) presents grant check to the staff of the Diocese Faith Formation Office: Danielle Schoenfeldt, Mary Hickin, Deacon Steve Washek (Executive Director), Kate Wilson, Jillian Zaczyk

More bibles will reach the hands of Catholic school students through a grant to Saint Joseph Catholic School, Warren. They will use the grant funds they received to purchase bibles for every student. Carrie Pearson, principal, wrote in her grant application that teachers will be better able to incorporate scripture into their lessons when each student has access to their own bible and students will be able to follow along with the daily scripture readings that begin every school day.

Every Confirmation student in the diocese will be the beneficiary of a grant awarded to the Diocese of Erie Faith Formation Office. Mary Hickin, Director of Faith Formation for Catechesis and Sacraments in the Diocese of Erie, explains that “this diocesan-wide Confirmation retreat is the capstone event for the new faith formation process for grades 6 through 12 and the first of its kind in our diocese.” The goal of this retreat is to provide a faith-filled, spiritual experience for students to become closer to God, to give them an encounter with Christ. She explains, “We expect the students to come away with a better understanding of what it means to be a fully initiated and responsible member of the Catholic faith, and to have a better prayer life and closeness to God.”

“It’s wonderful to see these endowments funding impactful projects throughout our regional Catholic community,” says Bob Crowley, Chair of the Catholic Foundation board of directors. “As steward of these endowed funds the Catholic Foundation is carrying out the wishes of faithful Catholic donors who came before us. We celebrate them along with the good works made possible by these grants.”

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

2023 Venango ED grant check photo
Lisa Louis (Executive Director, far left) presents grant check to Venango Region Catholic School. (l to r) Greg Knox (Director of Technology), Jonas Pacior, Evelynne Lineman, George Pacior (students), and Katherine Chandley (Principal), St. John Paul II Elementary
2023 Du Bois Check Photo for Web
Lisa Louis (Executive Director, far right) presents grant check to DuBois Central Catholic School. (l to r) Fr. Ben Daghir, Msgr. Richard Siefer, Jack Roy, Anna Roy, Lili Roy, Jase Roy (DCC students), Amber Winkler (DCC Admissions Director); Brady Snyder (DCC student); Becky Dutra (DCC Theology & Faith Instructor)
2023 St Joseph ED grant photo
Grant check presentation to Saint Joseph Catholic School: (l to r) Father Rick Tomasone (Pastor), Bob Crowley (Foundation board chair), Carrie Pearson (Principal), Kalee Curtis & Claire Fanelli (teachers), (front) Adley Curtis, Braylon Curtis, Grace Fanelli, & Laura Fanelli (students)

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 2023 Fall Education grant cycle will open August 21, 2023. Review the guidelines and criteria and consider applying. Online applications will be accepted through September 29, 2023.

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