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A Letter From Sister Joan Cook, SC, President of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

For Immediate Release  |  December 3, 2018

Delhi Township, Ohio – The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati are reaching out today to the stakeholders of SC Ministry Foundation to announce that we have formulated a new direction for the Foundation. As we look at the changing realities in our world and in our own Congregation, we have been asking ourselves what changes we need to make, in order to simplify and reorganize where appropriate. We have been praying, studying and discerning the best next steps to position our ministries for the future.

The Sisters of Charity will be repositioning the Foundation to absorb the operations within the Congregation, which will eventually result in moving operations from the current location at Mount St. Joseph University to the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse campus. This repositioning will be effective January 1, 2019.

The Foundation Corporation will remain intact, but the Foundation will be directly operated by the Congregation. It will operationally function much more simply as part of the Congregation, in a manner similar to the Sisters of Charity Seton Enablement Loan Fund. We anticipate an ongoing, robust level of granting capacity and grant awards.

With this new, simplified structure the current Foundation Board of Directors and Board Committees are being immediately dissolved, and will be replaced by a small internal Board of Directors. The current Foundation staff will not be retained beyond December 31, 2018. Amelia, Donna Jo and Michael have been committed and effective in operating the Foundation during our period of discernment and we are grateful for their dedicated service to our mission.

We will be communicating additional information in the coming weeks as we transition into the new structure, including updated contact information.

We want to assure those organizations with current grants that our commitments will be honored. Also, it will be business as usual for those organizations with grant applications in process this cycle. In the very near future we will be sharing with you the status of your application. As we transition to our new structure, we will also be providing information to you regarding the next grant submission cycle.

We are grateful to all of you as our partners in ministry and look forward to working together to risk a caring response.

Sister Joan Cook, SC
President, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

 

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“Violence is Not the Cure for Our Broken World”

Featured“Violence is Not the Cure for Our Broken World”

The staff of SC Ministry Foundation, along with Sisters of Charity and their affiliates active in peace and justice ministry were blessed to meet with two members of Pax Christi International and hear about the revolutionary work they are doing to promote nonviolence and just peace.

Secretary General Greet Vanaershot, from Belgium, and Senior Communications Officer Johnny Zokovitch, who splits his time between Belgium and Washington, D.C., were hosted at the Motherhouse where they thanked the Foundation and the Sisters of Charity for supporting their groundbreaking work.

Bringing Great Minds Together

The Foundation first supported Pax Christi International in 2016 with a grant for the Nonviolence and Just Peace conference they co-sponsored with several other organizations interested in promoting nonviolence. The conference, held in April, 2016, in Rome, Italy, brought together 80 theologians and peace leaders/practitioners from around the world – including places of extreme violence such as Iraq, South Sudan, Colombia, and the Philippines – to discuss and articulate a new understanding of nonviolence within the Catholic Church. Out of this meeting came the document, An Appeal to the Catholic Church to Recommit to the Centrality of Gospel Nonviolence, which has been endorsed by more than 2,000 individuals and organizations.

This unprecedented gathering also gave birth to the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative – a project of Pax Christi International – which is focused on affirming the vision and practice of active nonviolence at the heart of the Catholic Church. The Initiative strives to help the Catholic Church deter the world from perpetual violence and war through an expanded investment of its intellectual, pastoral, academic, diplomatic, and financial resources to promote active nonviolence as a practical and effective tool for building peace within families, communities, and countries across the globe. They have created a platform for the best minds to articulate their experience of using nonviolent strategies in different contexts and to share that experience with peers, Church leaders, and government officials.

Preparing for the Next Nonviolence and Just Peace Conference

Catholic Nonviolence Initiative works closely with the Vatican in hopes that Pope Francis will write his next encyclical on the subject of nonviolence and just peace. This hope was fueled when their proposed theme and the substantial background materials they provided were used by the Pope in his 2017 World Day of Peace message, Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace.

The Initiative has spent the last two years building on the success of the conference and working to replace simplistic ideas about nonviolent action with more accurate, expanded, and evidence-based information about effective nonviolent tools that could help humanity actually build a more peaceful world. Academics, moral theologians, activists, and the most creative, experienced peace-workers in the world have been reflecting in (virtual) round table conversations on multiple nonviolence-related themes. The outcome of these conversations will form the basis for a second conference on nonviolence and just peace in Rome in early 2019, which will again be supported, in part, by SC Ministry Foundation.

The conference will bring 80 – 100 participants together, many from war zones and violent situations. Other participants will be invited for their ability to influence the Vatican and international Catholic organizations to integrate Gospel nonviolence explicitly into the life and work of the Church through dioceses, parishes, agencies, schools, universities, seminaries, religious orders, voluntary associations, and others.

Professor Jeanette Rodriguez, PhD, is a member of one of the five international roundtables that have been meeting monthly via Skype for the past year. A celebrated faculty-scholar, Dr. Rodriguez has taught at Seattle University for 27 years. And for many years she’s been involved with Catholic peace reform movements. “Nonviolence is not just a concept or a methodology – it’s a tool, a way of being,” she says. “You can’t wake up from one day to the next and say, ‘I want to be nonviolent.’ You need to have a spiritual practice; habits that help form your character in a way that will help stop you from reacting violently, not just physical violence but the way we talk to one another. It involves the choices we make, the way we treat people.”

 

The Vital Role of Immigrants in Ohio

FeaturedThe Vital Role of Immigrants in Ohio

A new report, Our Pathway to a Brighter Future: Ohio’s New Americans, has revealed evidence that immigrants play a crucial role in Ohio’s economy and that further investments in services for immigrants would expand positive outcomes. The report is the result of the collaboration from SC Ministry Foundation and several Ohio funders, which sought to understand Ohio’s underserved immigrant populations and their contributions to our communities.

“Immigrants and their children represent the majority of projected labor-force growth in the United States over the next four decades,” said Richey Piiparinen, director of The Center for Population Dynamics at Cleveland State University and the report’s author. “By making investments in supportive services here in Ohio, particularly for our newest immigrants, we can expedite their ability to positively contribute to Ohio’s economy.”

While many of Ohio’s immigrants have achieved conventional markers of success, including rates of educational attainment 15.4 percentage points higher than native-born Ohioans (42.1 percent of Ohio’s immigrants hold a four-year degree or higher compared to 26.7 percent of native-born Ohioans), immigrants have higher poverty rates than the native-born population (18.7 percent to 14.4 percent). This reality is a function of the time it takes to acclimate to a new country and its customs, and can be lessened with improved access to three types of services:

  • adult English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services and Spanish GED services throughout the state;
  • legal services that are affordable and available regardless of legal status;
  • a full-range of healthcare services that are available regardless of legal status and that address physical, mental, and oral health.

Supporting immigrants creates benefits for native-born Ohioans. Immigrants are more likely to fill physically demanding and emotionally draining jobs in high-demand fields such as home health care, catapulting native-born Ohioans into more skilled labor. As Ohio’s population ages, immigrants will play an important role in filling jobs for the estimated 1.1 million personal and home health care providers needed in the United States by 2026.

Additional findings in the report include:

  • Ohio’s immigrants have higher rates of family formation than native-born Ohio households, with 62.2 percent of immigrant households comprised of married couples with children compared to 56.4 percent of native-born.
  • While Ohio’s population growth is almost stagnant, growing at only 0.15 percent since 1998, immigrants help to stabilize Ohio’s population and are a source of growth.
  • Still, only 4.4 percent of Ohio’s population is composed of immigrants compared to 13.6 percent of the U.S. population. This is the largest divide between Ohio and the nation in modern history, and ranks Ohio in the bottom five nationally.

“Ohio’s immigrants drive cultural, economic, and social dynamism,” Piiparinen said. “By improving language, legal, and healthcare services, we can help immigrants contribute to Ohio’s economy and our communities more quickly. We must begin to imagine immigrant support services as a launchpad, not a safety net.”

Click to download the full report.

About the report

Our Pathway to a Brighter Future: Ohio’s New Americans is the result of a collaboration of funders coordinated through Philanthropy Ohio. It was funded through the generous support of The George Gund Foundation, The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio, Needmor Fund, Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation, Open Society Foundations and SC Ministry Foundation.

Living Gospel Values: 2017 Annual Report

FeaturedLiving Gospel Values: 2017 Annual Report

At the heart of the mission of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati is the promise to “strive to live Gospel values” – to live as Jesus did, according to the examples recorded for us in the Gospels. The peaceful words, loving actions and wise counsel that Jesus shared with his followers during his time on Earth provide a needed respite from the harsh, critical words and violent actions that are gripping our world today.

How can we be like Jesus for others?

Pope Francis wrote in his encyclical, The Joy of the Gospel: “The evils of our world – and those of the Church – must not be excuses for diminishing our commitment and our fervor. With the eyes of faith, we can see the light which the Holy Spirit always radiates in the midst of darkness, never forgetting that ‘where sin increased, grace has abounded all the more.’ (Rom 5:20)”

We are thankful for the organizations who continue to look with eyes of faith and serve those in need through the example of Jesus. It is through these organizations that children receive the light of knowledge, and the vulnerable and oppressed receive peace and safety and feel the joy of inclusion.

We thank all Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati who continue to live out their mission with passion and vigor, providing motivational role models for all of us to
emulate. May God continue to bless our efforts to strive to live our lives by the example of Jesus.

With gratitude,

Amelia J. Riedel, Interim Executive Director

 

Additional highlights from the Annual Report:

Learn how St. Lawrence School shares The Light of the Gospel

Discover how EarthLinks helps the homeless to Live Gospel Joy

 

Read the entire 2017 Annual Report here:

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National Recognition for Cincinnati’s Latino Outreach Program

National Recognition for Cincinnati’s Latino Outreach Program

Since its inception in 2011, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Latino Outreach for Catholic Schools Program has supported the efforts to increase enrollment of Latino students in the Catholic schools of Cincinnati. Latinos are the nation’s fastest growing school-age population and minority, with 1 in 5 children in the United States being of Latino origin. However, a study conducted by Notre Dame University in 2009 revealed that only 3% of students in Catholic schools were Latino.

To challenge the perception in the Latino culture that private schools are exclusively for the wealthy, the program engages families to learn about financial assistance which makes Catholic education affordable. The program also addresses language and cultural barriers by establishing volunteer translators within the schools and working with school administrators to adapt more inclusive and welcoming practices.

Through the leadership of program coordinator Mayra Alza Wilson, the Latino population has increased from 4.5% to 18.8% in the ten targeted elementary schools in Cincinnati, including the five Price Hill Catholic schools. Reports have revealed that once enrolled, Latino students usually persist in their studies in the Catholic schools, as evidenced by a 98% retention rate for the 2015-16 school year.

Mayra Alza Wilson (center) received the Catherine T at the 2018 NCEA Convention. Celebrating her recognition were (left) Susan Gibbons, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, and (right) Amelia Riedel, Interim Executive Director for SC Ministry Foundation.

The success of this program led to recognition from the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). Last spring when the NCEA held its annual convention in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Catherine T. McNamee, CSJ President’s Award was presented to Mayra for promoting a vision of Catholic education that welcomes and serves cultural and economic diversity.

SC Ministry Foundation has supported the Latino Outreach Program for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati since its inception in 2011. While the program initially focused on welcoming Latino students into Catholic elementary schools, in 2016 the program expanded to provide support to ten targeted Catholic high schools in Cincinnati, including Sister of Charity sponsored Seton High School and DePaul Cristo Rey High School. This year the high school with the highest enrollment of Latino students out of the ten targeted schools is DePaul Cristo Rey, where 13% of the student population are Latino.

This national recognition exemplifies how the Sister of Charity commitment to Catholic education continues to thrive through the programs supported by the SC Ministry Foundation.

The Light of the Gospel

The Light of the Gospel

The Light of the Gospel

St. Lawrence School  |  Cincinnati, OH

You are the light of the world. Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.
– Matthew 5: 14-16

Children at St. Lawrence School in Cincinnati’s Price Hill neighborhood are faced with numerous obstacles to learning due to the high rate of poverty in their neighborhood. Many children face issues such as difficult family relationships, exposure to violence and crime, and food and housing instability which lead to high absenteeism and low academic performance.

St. Lawrence eighth grader, Yendy, (far right) and her family meet with Melissa, St. Lawrence counselor, and Mayra, Latino Outreach Coordinator from the Archdiocese, to discuss her options for high school.

To overcome the social and mental health issues these students face, St. Lawrence School provides support through a counselor/social worker program. Since 2001, the SC Ministry Foundation has supported the counselor/social worker program at St. Lawrence School, as well as three other Price Hill Catholic Elementary Schools: Holy Family, Resurrection, and St. William. The programs vary by school, yet each provides students with individual and group counseling, classroom guidance, and essential interventions that identify and address academic issues to prevent larger problems in the future. Additional support is provided for bilingual students and families through a partnership with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Latino Outreach Program.

Second grader Eli meets with Erica, one of the school social workers.

The success of the counselor/social worker program has been documented through improved academic proficiency scores, improved attendance, and fewer
behavioral disruptions in classrooms.

Approximately 85% of St. Lawrence School graduates have enrolled in Catholic high schools over the past four years.

Above all, the compassionate care provided by the St. Lawrence counselor and social workers fosters a loving environment that eighth grader, Yendy, described as
“family.” May all who share in the education of children at St. Lawrence and schools everywhere continue to share the light of Christ.

 

 

Living Gospel Joy

Living Gospel Joy

Living Gospel Joy

EarthLinks  |  Denver, CO

Do not be afraid; for behold I proclaim to you good news of great joy
that will be for all the people. – Luke 2:10

Hidden in an industrialized neighborhood in Denver, Colorado, is a niche of color with flourishing gardens, beehives, and worm farms. This earth-friendly place that defies its bleak surroundings is EarthLinks – an organization that brings hope and joy to an increasing number of chronically homeless people in Denver.

EarthLinks remains firmly planted in this struggling neighborhood, providing those who are homeless and impoverished with an opportunity to earn an income through meaningful work in a safe environment. Participants build relationships and learn new skills by contributing to EarthLinks’ line of sustainable products which include soap, cards, vases, jewelry, birdhouses and bee boxes. EarthLinks’ programs focus on the strengths of each person, while also helping them to step out of isolation and re-enter community. As one participant shared, “I am no longer a loser – I am a beekeeper.”

EarthLinks has shown that participants with a stronger connection to community report a higher self-esteem.

Since 2007, the SC Ministry Foundation has supported EarthLinks, where Sister Jacqueline “Jackie” Leech, S.C., serves on the advisory board. “The special moments at EarthLinks are when I watch the participants and staff laughing together while producing beautiful items to be sold. I hear someone’s story of being homeless and the wonderful things EarthLinks has done for them,” shared Sister Jackie.

EarthLinks program director Kelly Shinn (left) and Sister Jackie Leech, SC (right) gather in the Peace Garden where spring seeds are sprouting.

SC Ministry Foundation recognizes EarthLinks for their efforts to spread Gospel joy while helping the homeless care for each other and care for our Earth.