This year marks the 20th anniversary of SC Ministry Foundation as a public grant-making organization. This important milestone recognizes the generous and socially-conscious spirit of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, who founded our organization to promote their mission of living Gospel values, acting justly, building loving relationships, caring for all creation and sharing resources with those in need.
Over the past twenty years, SC Ministry Foundation has supported nearly 1,000 nonprofit organizations locally, nationally and internationally. Our collective investment of more than $158 million in grants for these nonprofits supports the services that align with the mission of the Sisters of Charity in promoting social justice, addressing the root causes of poverty, and advocating for better lives for all people through improvements in education, income, and health, while minimizing inequity and racism.
Working to Strengthen Communities
Within our local community, SC Ministry Foundation has been an integral part of Greater Cincinnati through collaborative efforts, collective impact initiatives and grant-making. The foundation has supported nearly 200 nonprofits within the City of Cincinnati, with significant investments dedicated to holistic community development in Cincinnati’s Price Hill neighborhoods. With the establishment of ministries such as Seton High School and Santa Maria Community Services more than 100 years ago, the Sisters of Charity share a long history with Price Hill, and the area’s revitalization has been a focus of the foundation since its inception. The current reality that 32% of Price Hill families live in poverty, according to the 2013 American Community Survey, continues to direct the foundation’s attention there.
“The Sisters were foundational in getting our organization started,” explained H.A. Musser, president/CEO of Santa Maria Community Services. “Next year will be our 120th anniversary. Sisters Blandina and Justina Segale were our founders and were Sisters of Charity. Our services have increased during the last couple decades because of the investment of the foundation. There is investment in early childhood education and kindergarten readiness, in lead prevention, healthy children, with our income and workforce areas, housing, and, in a broader context, the commitment that they’ve made to support the whole Price Hill community.”
The support for the community of Price Hill and for the people of Cincinnati was recognized by Cincinnati’s Mayor John Cranley on June 23. In a room filled with representatives from local nonprofits, funding partners and Sisters of Charity, Mayor Cranley shared, “I can tell you without any hesitation that SC Ministry Foundation has made a huge difference in the life of this community, in the life of our city and in the lives of people who don’t always have people fighting for them.” Mayor Cranley, who was taught by Sisters of Charity at St. William’s school in Price Hill, proclaimed June 23 as “SC Ministry Foundation Day” in the City of Cincinnati.
Supporting Catholic Education
Following in the footsteps of St. Elizabeth Seton, SC Ministry Foundation has diligently invested in Catholic Schools and in programs to make Catholic education accessible. While the support has been spread to many areas where Sisters have ministered from Colorado to Michigan, a significant investment has been made through the Archdiocese of Cincinnati where SC Ministry Foundation has directly supported 34 Catholic schools, including three Sisters of Charity sponsored ministries: Seton High School, DePaul Cristo Rey High School and Mount St. Joseph University.
“SC Ministry Foundation was critical to the launching of this school,” shared Sister Jeanne Bessette, OSF, president of DePaul Cristo Rey High School, which opened in 2011. “This was really the brainchild of the Sisters of Charity, who wanted to extend their mission and saw education as a natural way to do that. And when they thought about education as their next project, I think they went back to their roots and decided to educate some of the people most in need of it, and those were the kids that society kind of forgets.”
Fearless Advocates for Social Justice
In a letter congratulating SC Ministry Foundation on 20 years of service, Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr, Archbishop of Cincinnati wrote: “As we all know, issues of poverty and social injustice are immense and pervasive. Yet, our Catholic faith calls us to never tire from spreading the love of God through word and deed to the ends of the Earth, especially in those places where suffering is greatest. SC Ministry has provided the financial backbone for nonprofit organizations to more effectively tackle the social concerns of poverty, education, health, immigration and racism. These efforts of solidarity boldly evoke for us the enduring spirit of the Sisters of Charity’s foundress, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and her prophetic compassion for the poor and vulnerable.”
Catholic Charities agencies locally and nationally, including three in Colorado, have received support from SC Ministry Foundation, as well as other organizations dedicated to changing systems and policies to make steady progress with enormous issues such as immigration reform, racism and inequity.
“SC Ministry Foundation has been a fearless supporter of Ohio Justice and Policy Center, even when some would say that our work is controversial,” shared Stephen Johnson-Grove, program director for Ohio Justice and Policy Center (OJPC). “Going to the margins seems to be in their DNA and that speaks to their mission… Both OJPC and SC Ministry believe so deeply in the possibility of redemption.”
Faithful Stewards of God’s Resources
Sister Roslyn Hafertepe, SC served as the foundation’s first chairperson of the board of directors. She recalls, “I always thought the Charities responded to the call Stay true to your charism. ‘Stay true to your roots.’ And so sisters were responding to that and identifying new ministries, new ways of serving… A number of these new ministries required funding. It was in that kind of environment that the concept of the foundation emerged.”
“I think the SC Ministry Foundation is a perfect expression of the charism of the Sisters of Charity, and allows our influence and outreach to be made available to many other places that the sisters themselves, at this point in history, cannot be physically present,” remarked Sister Judith Metz, SC, historian for the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.
Twenty years and nearly 1,000 organizations later, SC Ministry Foundation continues to be a vehicle through which the mission of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati influences many lives.
“We can talk about the number of grants and the dollars that have been awarded over the past 20 years. And $158 million is significant,” reflects Sister Sally Duffy, SC, president and executive director of SC Ministry Foundation. “But it’s really the people who were taken down from their crosses that are important. Whether it’s the cross of poverty, oppression, marginalization, systemic injustice or racism, these people now have the ability to experience their God-given dignity and shared membership in our society. So I really want to thank the organizations that we have partnered with and collaborated with over the past 20 years, as well as our past and present board members, our staff and all Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati.”
Sister Sally adds, “We give thanks to God, for truly these resources are God’s resources, not ours. We ask for God’s continuing grace and guidance as we work to bring about the reign of God.”