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 $159 million in grants for these nonprofits supports the services that align with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati 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.
A few highlights of our partnerships through the past five years are featured below. We are grateful to all the organizations that have partnered with the foundation in our mission, all past and present members of our board and staff, and all Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. Above all, we thank God for the resources with which we have been blessed, and we ask for God’s continuing grace and guidance as we work to bring about the reign of God.
100% College Acceptance Earned by DePaul Cristo Rey High School Graduates
The inaugural classes of DePaul Cristo Rey graduated in 2015 and 2016, collectively earning $6.7 million in scholarships.
New Orleans Catholic Sisters’ Film Shared Worldwide
The documentary, “We Shall Not Be Moved: The Catholic Sisters of New Orleans,” produced by SC Ministry Foundation, shared the story of the Sisters’ resilience post-Hurricane Katrina with U.S. audiences through ABC, Catholic TV, WLAE, NET, and EWTN, which also broadcast internationally. The film earned the 2013 Gabriel Award for best religious TV program and the 2014 Gold Aurora Award for a cultural documentary.
Hundreds of Volunteers Deliver Quality Care and Hope for Uninsured Adults
In the five years since the Good Samaritan Free Health Center opened in Price Hill, 23,000+ patient visits have occurred through 33,000+ volunteer hours from physicians, dentists, nurses and therapists – placing the center as the largest urban free health clinic in Ohio.
Small Grant Makes a Big Difference
Since its inception in 2014, the Sister Elise Grant has helped Sisters of Charity assist their associated nonprofits with various needs including bus tokens, books, iPads and piano recitals. A total of 77 grants, each ranging from $500 to $3,000, have been awarded to 66 nonprofit organizations.
It Takes a Community to Grow One
Cincinnati, Ohio has been nationally recognized for leading Collective Impact initiatives – through which organizations and funders collaborate on change with a common agenda and shared measurements. One example is the Local Initiatives Support Corporation’s Place Matters program which focuses on the revitalization of five Cincinnati neighborhoods, including Price Hill. For every $1 that SC Ministry Foundation invested in Place Matters, $150 were leveraged for Price Hill.
Year of Mercy Pilgrimage: Crossing the Threshold of the Holy Door
SC Ministry Foundation board and staff members traveled to Baltimore and Emmitsburg, Maryland last spring to experience the spirit of St. Elizabeth Seton through the sites of her early ministries. The group toured St. Elizabeth’s first school in Baltimore, and her homes in Emmitsburg at the National Shrine of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, which served as an official pilgrimage site during the Jubilee of Mercy.
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.”
In honor of the SC Ministry Foundation’s 20 years of service to the local community, Cincinnati’s Mayor John Cranley recognized the accomplishments of the foundation and the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati during the event hosted in June.
Mayor Cranley shared, “It is absolutely the case that I was raised by the Sisters of Charity. My grandfather was a surgeon at Good Samaritan Hospital with the Sisters of Charity. My father was educated by the Sisters of Charity at St. Williams Parish in the 1950’s and I was educated by the Sisters at St. Williams in the 1980s.”
“The best of what the Catholic Church has done in this country has come from the Sisters, and the Sisters of Charity have been a great example for me. It’s been a great impact on my life in developing my commitment to social justice and public service,” he added.
Mayor Cranley shared that during his terms as a city council member and as mayor, “We have worked to put an enormous amount of focus on Price Hill, where I grew up and my parents still live. The investment from SC Ministry Foundation over the years to support the various efforts in Price Hill has made a huge difference for our city.”
“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 proclaimed June 23, 2016 as “SC Ministry Foundation Day” in the City of Cincinnati. The announcement triggered enthusiastic applause from foundation guests, including Sisters of Charity, members of grantee organizations and community partners.
The complete text of the City of Cincinnati proclamation is provided below:
WHEREAS: The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati established SC Ministry Foundation twenty years ago in Cincinnati, Ohio, as a public grant-making organization to fulfill their mission of sharing resources with those in need, with the purpose of promoting social justice and addressing the root causes of poverty; and,
WHEREAS: SC Ministry Foundation has been an integral part of the Greater Cincinnati community through collaborative efforts, collective impact initiatives and grant-making, investing millions of dollars over the past twenty years with nearly 200 nonprofits in the City of Cincinnati, with significant investments dedicated to holistic community development in Price Hill; and,
WHEREAS: SC Ministry Foundation has served as a trusted, valued partner in collaboration with other funders and organizations which advocate for better lives for all people through improvements in education, income, and health while minimizing inequity and racism; and,
WHEREAS: SC Ministry Foundation fosters professional development and opportunities for nonprofits to build capacity through sponsorship of workshops, educational programs and convenings; and,
WHEREAS: SC Ministry Foundation promotes the Sisters of Charity mission within the global community with leadership and influence to address issues of environmental stewardship, immigration reform, ending the death penalty, and ending human trafficking; and,
WHEREAS: SC Ministry Foundation will continue to serve as a dedicated community partner, promoting the mission and ministry of the Sisters of Charity for generations to come;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, John Cranley, Mayor of the City of Cincinnati, declare June 23, 2016 as SC Ministry Foundation Day in Cincinnati, Ohio.
In June 2015, Pope Francis issued an Encyclical document titled Laudato Si, or “Praise Be,” an exclamation from St. Francis of Assisi’s Canticle of the Creatures. The Holy Father issued an urgent call to “every person living on this planet” to better care for our common home. Pope Francis challenges all of us to be aware that, “The climate is a common good, belonging to all and meant for all.” (23)
The message from Pope Francis resonates with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, whose mission of “caring for all creation,” is further illustrated in their Public Statement on the Earth which states:
We affirm our Sisters of Charity Vision statement to choose to live simply in a complex world committed to the healing of our global home. We believe that God continues to create the universe in the present moment and calls us to be life-giving and creative participants in the ongoing life of Earth. We believe Earth is our Teacher. We believe in safeguarding Earth’s regenerative capacities.
We are called: ….In humility to reverence the beauty and gifts of Earth. …In simplicity to recognize our kinship with Earth. …In charity to sustainably protect and restore the Integrity of Earth’s ecological systems.
Mindful of Pope Francis’ message and the Sisters of Charity mission, the Board of Directors of the SC Ministry Foundation chose to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the foundation with one-time grants to the Sisters of Charity congregation and their five sponsored ministries: Seton High School, St. Joseph Home, Mount St. Joseph University, Bayley, and DePaul Cristo Rey High School.
The grants may be utilized to enhance each institution’s efforts to care for creation and serve as strong stewards of the Earth’s resources.
Many organizations and dedicated people have journeyed with the SC Ministry Foundation to help us fulfill our mission over the past 20 years. A few of the people who have partnered with us gave us the gift of sharing their story of the impact the foundation has had with their work, which is presented in the video below.
What led to the establishment of SC Ministry Foundation more than twenty years ago? Two Sisters of Charity share their insights below, beginning with Sister Judith Metz, SC, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati Historian, who shares the history of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and their mission that paved the way for the foundation.
“St. Elizabeth Ann Seton founded the Sisters of Charity here in the United States in 1809 and she was really carrying on the charism of charity that had been founded by St. Vincent de Paul. Within just a couple of years after her death, in 1829, the Sisters were invited to come to Cincinnati to start a girls school and a girls orphanage here. We started with seven sisters and very quickly began to grow and as more sisters came we were able to take on more missions or ministries,” shared Sister Judith.
“From the very beginning our constitution always said the sisters should always be able to respond to whatever the requests were, whatever the needs of society were. St. Vincent de Paul at one point told the sisters back in France, “go where you are needed, do what needs to be done.” And that’s been our way of responding to the various requests that we have received,” she added.
“The main work of the community has historically been in health care and education. But we were always involved in other types of work as well. We sponsored a number of hospitals, we also had a number of orphanages, boarding academies, and then as we moved into the 20th century we began to have a series of foreign missions,” Sister Judith explained.
The legacy that the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati had forged in health care ultimately led to the creation of SC Ministry Foundation.
In 1979 all Sister of Charity sponsored health care institutions were brought together in the Sisters of Charity Health Care Systems under the leadership of Sister Grace Marie Hiltz, SC. This became one of the largest Catholic health care systems in the United States until it joined with other systems to form Catholic Health Initiative in the 1990s.
Sister Grace Marie had ministered as a nurse and later served as administrator of St Mary-Corwin Hospital in Pueblo, Colorado and Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, Ohio. She served on many boards of trustees and chaired the Catholic Health Association and Ohio Hospital Association Boards. She earned the title “Amazing Grace” through her involvement in many civic as well as health care endeavors.
The Sisters of Charity as well as the broader community suffered a tremendous loss with the untimely death of Sister Grace Marie in 1985. But the legacy of “Amazing Grace” continued to grow since the proceeds of her insurance policies were used to begin the Sisters of Charity Health Care Foundation, which later became SC Ministry Foundation.
Sister Roslyn Hafertepe, SC, served as the first chairperson of the first board of directors for SC Ministry Foundation. She recently reflected on the early days of the foundation.
“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, new people who needed to be administered to. A number of these new ministries required funding,” recalled Sister Roslyn.
“It was in that kind of environment that the concept of the foundation emerged. Because the foundation then appeared to be a vehicle that we could use to help create and encourage new thinking, and to help stabilize some of the sustaining ministries, which were equally important,” explained Sister Roslyn. “We also had a strong commitment to systemic change. Looking at not only what caused poverty, but what could we do to prevent it.”
While serving as the treasurer for the Sisters of Charity congregation, Sister Roslyn was asked to chair the first formally constructed foundation board. “But there were so many important people that helped make this implementation plan a reality. I think particularly of Celestia Koebel, who was president of the Sisters of Charity Health Care Systems at the time,” recalled Sister Roslyn. “Maryanna Coyle was on congregational leadership at the time and she always brought her unique dimension. And then, ultimately Maryanna became the first president of the foundation. And we all look back and see how the foundation was launched with creativity and the direction that it took.”
Sister Roslyn added, “It was an exciting time, really exciting time. There was so much change in the wind and a lot of challenges, and a lot of opportunity for creative thinking – that was the part I thought was so exciting.”
When asked if she would have advice for Sisters facing challenges today, Sister Roslyn advised them to, “Have no fear. It’s amazing to me some of the things that emerged that we never dreamed of. But it was what meant to be for us. What’s so exciting for me is I see it today in our Sisters around us – all of these creative ideas popping up. And it just gives you all kinds of energy.”
“When we think of some of the things we have embraced as a community, it’s the hand of God in it all,” Sister Roslyn added with a smile. “And we say Alleluia… I think that’s where we are in celebrating the 20 years of the success stories of our foundation. Amen.”