Through the generosity of our donors, the Foundation is able to distribute numerous grants throughout the year to worthy organizations, including schools, churches and nonprofit institutions in the Catholic community and beyond. Each grant submitted is unique and provides more than just a dollar amount to the community and the individuals who call that community their home. Below are some of those stories.
Keeping students engaged and equipped for future success
Grants support arts and science enrichment programs in Diocese schools
At Catholic schools across Dallas, students are participating in arts and science enrichment activities, thanks to the generous donors of The Catholic Foundation. Now more than ever, schools are fighting to keep students engaged and equipped for future success.
The Catholic Foundation has provided $196,400 in grants to Big Thought since 2001 and $89,900 in grants to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science and its predecessor (Museum of Nature and Science) since 2006. With these funds, teachers and administrators choose arts and science programs they would like to offer their students in alignment with academic areas.
Big Thought serves Catholic schools through its ArtsPartners program, which gives students access to the wide variety of educational opportunities offered by the city’s cultural organizations and helps educators build these learning experiences into their standard curriculum. The program includes a searchable online database of nearly 1,000 arts and cultural programs, and has been shown to positively impact students’ academic development in core subjects and attitude about school, decrease dropout rates and increase motivation.
At St. Augustine Catholic School, 5th-8th grade students are currently making class videos, taking on the entire process including planning, writing, acting and editing. Other classes are introduced to pottery, glass painting, musical performances and sewing.
“Generally these students don’t have exposure to these types of activities. Because of these programs, many students discover a hidden talent, and they help with self-esteem and confidence,” said Lisa Mandac, a 2nd-3rd-grade teacher.
Perot Museum of Nature and Science
The Perot Museum of Nature and Science, whose mission is to inspire minds through nature and science, has brought science programming to more than 8,000 students served by The Catholic Foundation grant since the 2006-2007 school year. The programming helps students in Pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade connect with scientific concepts and principles, inspiring them to improve their understanding of science while discovering a passion for pursuing these areas of study with an offering of 24 different classroom and lab-based programs that span the fields of Earth, Physical, Life and Applied sciences.
Kim Nguyen, a 3rd-grade teacher at St. Joseph Catholic School in Richardson, has used the grant for “in-school” field trips, where the Museum comes to her classroom three times a year for hands-on enrichment activities, like a recent program on the three types of matter.
“The school has limited funding for field trips, so this grant basically provides an opportunity for my students to experience the excitement and wonder of science in action. It teaches them concepts they can apply to their own lives,” said Nguyen.
St. Augustine Catholic School received a visit from the Museum’s mobile planetarium, which Diane Eaker, a 5th-8th grade science teacher, said the kids loved. She also said the kids are still talking about the cow’s eyeball they dissected last year.
“Our students would never have access to these phenomenal programs if not for the grant,” said Eaker.
To see a list of schools that have benefitted from Big Thought and/or Perot Museum of Nature and Science enrichment programming thanks to The Catholic Foundation click here for full release.
Hidden Gems of Dallas Catholic Community Supported by the Foundation
Catholic Foundation donors help provide support to local religious
All religious organizations in our community have a lifeline to local, generous donors that understand the importance of their continued ministry in North Texas. The Catholic Foundation is committed to supporting the work of the local religious, such as The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity and Mount Carmel Center, who provide an invaluable service to the community.
Grants like those given to Mount Carmel Center and The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity are made possible because of generous donors who give to The Catholic Foundation through various means.Meeting a Need
The Sisters of Our Lady of Charity utilize their buildings and grounds as part of their ministry. They prayed about their needs and ultimately approached The Catholic Foundation about the chapel. An unstable, leaking roof made it unsafe for all the events held there each day. Patching was no longer an option, as the roof leaked directly above the main altar, and was replaced in December 2012 with the help of a $60,000 grant from The Catholic Foundation.
“The new roof has given us great confidence in having all the ceremonies and celebrations with the different groups that utilize it. Thanks to God and to The Catholic Foundation, we feel safe and secure during our Eucharistic Celebration. Now we know that even in rainy days we are secure there,” said Sister Yolanda Martinez.
Debbie Mantalone, Chair of the Mount Carmel Center Development Committee, says the role of the committee is to free the Friars to do ministry by handling certain administrative duties, like renovations. The committee has a wish list of renovations, but noticed that the humble Friars did not want to ask for help for their own living quarters, where they lacked a working heating system.
However, the Committee submitted a request for a new heating system in the cloister to The Catholic Foundation, which responded with a $35,000 grant.
“Every dollar of support that the Foundation gives frees the fathers to do what they need to do – be out ministering,” said Mantalone. “This is the first grant that we’ve focused on the needs of the Friars. The Carmelites spend a lot of time in cloister – where they read and pray and study. They were quietly suffering.”
“We’re very grateful,” said Father Stephen Sanchez. “It’s a huge relief to know that the Foundation is there, that there is a group looking to help. There’s a great need. The air conditioning is a huge burden relieved, and especially in this unstable economy – this is a huge blessing.”
“The Catholic Foundation – they are such an asset,” said Mantalone. “They are an important bridge in helping people who want to donate, and they make it easy to give. They work hard to make sure that money is well spent, and it makes so much of our ministry possible.”
Learn more about both organizations and read the full press release here.
Renovations uplift a community and introduce a new generation to worship
Catholic Foundation donors help east Dallas Church with much needed renovations
With asbestos in the floor and an equally worn interior to match, the old sanctuary at St. Philip the Apostle Church wasn't reflective of the Church's healthy and vibrant spiritual community. The parish today has much to be thankful for as they gather for Mass on Sundays in a completely renovated sanctuary thanks to donations from collections and The Catholic Foundation.
The church was recently outfitted with a new tile floor, pews, freshly painted walls and altar furniture, and congregants now also enjoy the redesigned acoustics that are accompanied by a new piano. A Catholic Foundation grant of $50,000 allowed St. Philip's to purchase new pews for the sanctuary renovations.
"This grant was essential to helping the Church revitalize the sanctuary," Deacon Dave Obergfell said. "Our new pews are a deeply appreciated gift that will allow us to continue growing our Church family, and we were delighted to be able to help a fellow parish by donating the previous ones."
Since 1954, St. Philip's has served the southeast Dallas area through a variety of ministries that impact the spiritual development of kids, adults and seniors. Ministries include St. Vincent De Paul, religious education for parishioners with special needs, as well as Boy Scout and Cub Scout chapters among others.
"At St. Philip's we are committed to sharing the Gospel with our neighbors and will continue to concentrate our leadership on this worthy endeavor," Obergfell said. "With continued support from local companies, organizations like The Catholic Foundation and parishioners, we've been blessed to share our abundant gifts with the community."
Catholic Foundation donors answer prayers at St. Augustine parish
A long awaited new parking lot at St. Augustine parish kick-off the school year in a positive light
A new parking lot to most is just a new parking lot. But when it brings a community closer together, a new parking lot is reason to celebrate!
After years of complaints, a parking lot that was an eye sore and a danger was transformed as St. Augustine School and parish as they roll into carpool lane in a new parking lot. It makes carpool a safe and easy task for parents and teachers and it creates a safe place for church parishioners to park on the weekend.
The community came together to make it happen with a $40,000 grant from The Catholic Foundation, a $10,000 donation of rebar and volunteers who helped throughout the process. The leader of this initiative was a parishioner Danny Chavez who has been a St. Augustine parishioner for 25 years, and has a grandson who attends St. Augustine Catholic School. Though he coordinated the entire process, including the grant request to The Catholic Foundation, Chavez is humble about taking credit.
"With the help of The Catholic Foundation, other donors and people from the community, we got it accomplished. I talk to our parishioners about being owners of the parish. Once everyone takes ownership, they become a part of everything we do. Alone we can't accomplish big projects, but together we can," said Chavez.
It also was important to Principal Marian Davis that this project be completed. "Having their kids here at St. Augustine gives these families hope for the future. Our working parents want their children to have a good Catholic education and spiritual direction," she said.
Davis said that parents of her students are committed to their children's education and to the school, and she feels it is important that their wishes are heard.
Demolition of the old parking lot began on the very last day of school. The entire project was completed by early August, with plenty of time before the new 2012-2013 school year began.
The new parking lot benefits more than the school. The parking lot is used by the entire parish, which serves approximately 10,570 parishioners and 2,000 families. Weekly Mass attendance averages 4,300, and the majority of the Masses are held in Spanish.
St. Augustine's new parking lot is just one of the many projects The Catholic Foundation has supported at this parish. Because of donor commitment to the Foundation's mission, the Foundation has invested more than $645,000 into St. Augustine Catholic Church and School since 1989, providing funds to help with computers, building repairs, tuition assistance, science equipment, a new roof, new flooring, new curriculum and more.
Davis feels that The Catholic Foundation has helped keep the school alive, and Chavez agrees. "I can't see us surviving without The Catholic Foundation," said Chavez. "At St. Augustine, there are so many things we would never have been able to do without the Foundation's support. When I speak to the parishioners about the Foundation helping our parish, it just motivates them. If someone from the outside is helping us, why can't we help ourselves? We need to do our part. And they always step up."
Feeding thousands of hungry families just got a little easier
The Catholic Foundation allows St. Bernard's Society of St. Vincent de Paul Conference to meet more needs with $35,000 grant
According to the North Texas Food Bank, food distributions are up 20 percent as compared to last year. Families in need can be found in many of our Dallas parishes. The need is apparent at the food pantry at St. Bernard of Clairvaux Catholic Church, an outreach of the St. Bernard Society of St. Vincent de Paul Conference. In June alone, the East Dallas food pantry served approximately 450 families or about 2,000 people.
On a Wednesday evening in July, we arrived to a scene of eager families and energized volunteers as more than 5,000 lbs. of food was organized and ready for distribution. A new truck was curbside – palates stacked and empty as evidence of a full truck load of fresh fruit, vegetables and other food essentials that had just been delivered and ready to supply food to over 50 families on a Wednesday night.
The Catholic Foundation gave a $35,000 grant to the St. Bernard Society of St. Vincent de Paul Conference to purchase this truck for the food pantry. Part of the funds came from the Osborne Family Fund and the R. Cardis & Grace Delee Stubbs Foundation Fund at The Catholic Foundation, which were set up by donors with specific philanthropic goals in mind and in this case it was to assist a parish food pantry. In order to meet the growing needs of the hungry in its community, St. Bernard utilizes the North Texas Food Bank as a resource. Transporting the food became a problem when borrowing a truck was no longer a viable option, and renting trucks was expensive. A reliable truck was needed to pick up food from the North Texas Food Bank and deliver to St. Bernard's food pantry approximately three times a week.
"The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Conference at St. Bernard does an amazing job at serving the needy among them," said Ed Schaffler, president and CEO of The Catholic Foundation. "The grant request to help them continue and expand their ministry was extremely worthy of funding, and we look forward to hearing how this grant continues to impact lives."
After a prayer of thanksgiving and the blessing of the new truck, grateful families lined up with shopping carts counting out enough food items needed to feed their families, and in some cases additional families. The food pantry organizer and St. Bernard parishioner, Barry Reno, shared that the increased volume of food, available through the new transportation, helps ensure families will have enough meals to last at least until the next paycheck or until Saturday morning when the food pantry opens again.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has 32 Conferences and 13 food pantries throughout the Diocese of Dallas, including the one at St. Bernard's parish that will celebrate its third anniversary in November. St. Bernard's food pantry is open on Wednesdays from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon.
The St. Bernard Society of St. Vincent de Paul Conference is projected to serve more than 7,000 families or approximately 28,500 people at its food pantry in 2012. Those estimates were made before the new truck was purchased with The Catholic Foundation grant, which will allow St. Bernard's parishioners to expand their ministry even further. Currently, families are taking 50 to 75 lbs. of food each visit, and St. Bernard leadership expects that to grow to 100 to 150 lbs. each visit. In addition, they will open the pantry to target certain Sunday Masses.
"As members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul we are charged with the responsibility to go out and find those in need. Getting the truck will have a huge impact on our ministry in East Dallas. We expect the volume of food to double overnight, but there will be no shortage of clients since we are just barely scratching the surface. The Catholic Foundation is providing us a unique opportunity to feed a whole lot of people," said Reno.
Reno encourages anyone to help by volunteering or making donations and also notes that consistency is key because people are hungry every day.