Wisdom Grant Fund
Historically the Daughters of Wisdom have always focused on major areas of injustice in our nation and worldwide, especially as they impact women, children, the marginalized and the environment. With a long history of ministries in education, healthcare, social justice, environmental conservation, pastoral and spiritual care, the Daughters have gone from the early years of establishing institutions and staffing them to working in unison with dedicated partners, colleagues and collaborators in local or state-wide organizations.
Established in October 2012
In October 2012 the Daughters of Wisdom Mission Grant was established at a Provincial Chapter meeting. Through a vote of the membership it was decided that a yearly fund would be to set aside and granted to applicants for projects that are consistent with the mission of the Daughters of Wisdom. Since then, grants have been awarded to a variety of compatible groups and organizations that provide community services that keep alive and continue the rich legacy of the Daughters' 300 years of mission in the United States and abroad. Past grants have been awarded to fund a home health care initiative, to educate adolescent girls about human trafficking, to run a parent/child learning program for families experiencing difficult socio-economic situations, to support a day drop-in center that provides a safe place that supports and empowers women, to an organization that works for more just immigration policies, and to seed the development of independent businesses started by women in an effort to work their way out of poverty.
Grant Pre-Application Period
Pre-Applications accepted March - May
The Wisdom Grant Fund awards up to $15,000 and allows for two consecutive years of funding for collaborative ministries that are consistent with the objectives of addressing injustice, violence, poverty and oppression, especially among women and children. The application period begins in March, closes in May, and grants are awarded in the fall by the Provincial Council. To be eligible, applicants must be working in ministry with a Sister or have the endorsement of a Daughter of Wisdom.
Applying for a Daughters of Wisdom Grant is a two-step process consisting of a pre-grant application followed by a formal grant application.
The pre-application period for 2019 grants begins in March and closes in May.
Advocacy, Community Integration, Education and the Arts were all covered in this year's Mission Grants. Congratulations to the recipients: St. Mary Gate of Heaven Academy, Ozone Park, NY, The Book Fairies, Freeport, NY, L’Arche Long Island, NY, Virginia Alternative to the Death Penalty, Richmond, VA, Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants, Chicago, IL, The Opening Word Program, Wyandanch, NY, Mary and Elizabeth Center, Oceanside, NY and The Center for Wisdom’s Women, Lewiston, ME.
St. Mary Gate of Heaven Catholic Academy, Ozone Park, NY
Founded in 1904 by the Daughters of Wisdom and Montfort Fathers, Ozone Park, NY, St. Mary Gate of Heaven Catholic Academy is known for its strong reputation among Catholic and public schools and is currently home to over 300 students of diverse ethnic backgrounds ranging from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade. The grant will be used to reach out to the Hispanic community and provide those who are economically disadvantaged and would not otherwise be able to attend this school with tuition assistance. To learn more about St. Mary Gate of Heaven Catholic Academy visit ww.smgh.org
The Book Fairies, Freeport, NY
The Book Fairies founded by Amy Zaslansky is a Long Island-based non-profit organization that collects donations of new and gently used books and redistributes them to individuals, libraries, schools, and organizations in need throughout the New York metropolitan area.
Grant money will be used to fund the Community Book Fair Project which will establish a monthly donation of 12,000 – 14,000 books to educators and nonprofits with the intention of starting and building school libraries, supporting grade-level curriculum, and instilling the love of reading through high-interest books. Grant money will help to support 6 Book Fairs and impact an estimated 90,000 readers. To learn more about The Book Fairies visit www.thebookfairies.org
L’Arche Long Island, Riverhead, NY
L’Arche is a faith-based, not-for-profit international federation dedicated to the creation and growth of homes, apartments, programs, and support networks for people with disabilities to integrate within the larger society. The agency will use grant money to support and boost its community Integration, Education and Outreach Initiative. The goal is to showcase its new Community Center in Suffolk County, NY. The Center will serve as a meeting place for both the residents and general public, available for community gatherings, prayer, and celebration; and for education through a variety of skill-building classes. With community life and spiritual development at the heart of the identity of L’Arche, the Center will be a place of welcoming new friends through relationships that cross social boundaries. To find out more about L’Arche Long Island, go to http://www.larchelongisland.org/
Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (VADP), Richmond, VA
Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty (VADP) is a statewide citizens’ organization dedicated to educating the public about alternatives to the death penalty. Grant money will be used to target legislative districts in the Commonwealth of Virginia and provide them with grassroots education on the death penalty. With VADP’s goal of abolishing the death penalty by the 2020 session of the Virginia General Assembly, this project will reach out to local religious, civic, and business leaders and seek their support for legislative reform and abolition of capital punishment.
VADP has been a part of the Justice Ministry in the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia since 1991 and has also been a part of the Criminal Justice Reform advocacy efforts of the Sowers of Justice, Tidewater, VA. To find out more visit https://www.vadp.org
Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants, Chicago, Illinois
Based in Chicago, Illinois the Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants is one of the few places in the country equipped to receive women and children and guide them through the adjustments to life in their new country. Grant money will be used to support a woman and her child for a year with housing, care and case management. ICDI a non-profit faith-based organization, works toward providing those experiencing poverty and oppression in an unjust immigration policy by basic material needs, pastoral care and accompaniment in their journey. Providing six programs through a volunteer staff of 300, ICDI reaches out to 17 faith traditions through private funds, grants and individual donations. To find out more about ICDI visit www.icdichicago.org
The Opening Word Program, Wyandanch, NY
Founded in 1991 by Sr. Mary Ryan, OP, the Opening Word Program addresses the interconnection between literacy, economic selfsufficiency and self-esteem. Simply stated, language ability provides a key to personal empowerment and success in the workforce. And such has been the case with the immigrant women who participate in this program. Grant money will be used for additional skill building through The Bridge Program and to support a computer literacy instructor. The Bridge Program is for upper-level students who have sufficient English language skills to either continue their education or enter the workforce. The computer literacy instructor will train participants in the use of today’s technology and commonly used computer programs; and assist in resume writing, job searching, and the interview process.
Opening Word’s teaching staff of 140 Sisters and lay volunteers hold multiple degrees, many in education and administration. Volunteers, many of whom are retired teachers, work with a teaching staff of nine, two caseworkers, and a Post Secondary Transition Program (PSTP) teacher. For more information about the Opening Word, visit openingword.org
The Mary and Elizabeth Center, Oceanside, NY
Following the example of Mary of Nazareth and her cousin Elizabeth, who made themselves available when each was in need, The Mary and Elizabeth Center, an outreach program of Tabor Retreat Center in Oceanside, NY, supports, educates and empowers women facing a personal or economic crisis. Grant money will be used to further develop the Center’s Servant Leadership project which is designed to equip women with skills to assume leadership positions in their families, communities or within groups at the Center. A new initiative launched in cooperation with Safe Center LI will focus on a concern of program participants and educate Servant Leaders to identify, prevent and report sexual abuse, child abuse, elder abuse, and date rape. To find out more about the Mary and Elizabeth Center, visit http://taborretreatcenter.net/mary--elizabeth-center.html
The Center for Wisdom’s Women, Lewiston, Maine
There will be a grand celebration in the fall of 2019 with the opening of Sophia’s House, a shared, supportive living community designed to empower women who are survivors of addiction, trafficking and incarceration, and the celebration of 20th anniversary of the founding of The Center for Wisdom’s Women. Grant money will be used to continue two very important offerings previously funded through donation, private gifts and grants. The Center will be able to continue offering The Art Van and Morning Glory Art Therapy programs. Both are geared toward trauma recovery, empowerment, self-reverence, and joy through creative expression. Grant money will also enable the center to increase ongoing private counseling for women without insurance. For more information visit www.wisdomswomen.org
The Daughters of Wisdom’s Mission Grant Committee chaired by Sr. Lucy Clynes, DW, includes committee members Sr. Ann Gray, DW, Sr. Patricia Pelletier, DW, Sr. Marie Sopr, DW and Sr. Edith Menengus, OSU. The Wisdom Grant Fund awards up to $15,000 and allows for two consecutive years of funding for ministries that are consistent with the objectives of addressing injustice, violence, poverty, and oppression, especially among women and children. The application period begins in March, closes in May, and grants are awarded in the fall by the Provincial Council. To be eligible for grants, applicants must be working in ministry with a Sister or have the endorsement of a Daughter of Wisdom.
Daughters of Wisdom Award $86,000 in 2017 Mission Fund Grants
The funding of Mission Grants was established through a decision of the US Provincial Chapter in 2012 to keep the mission of the congregation alive by funding projects that are consistent with the ministries of the Daughters of Wisdom. Organizations that address injustice, violence, poverty, and oppression, especially among women and children, are candidates for annual grants. The fund awards annual grants up to $15,000 and allows for two consecutive years of funding. This year, 8 organizations partner with the Daughters of Wisdom in their outreach ministries.
Since 2014 over $370,000 has been awarded through Mission Grants. The committee is chaired by Sr. Lucy Clynes, and members include Sr. Ann Gray, Sr. Patricia Pelletier, Sr. Marie Sopr and Sr. Edith Menegus, O.S.U. This year the Provincial Council granted eight organizations a total of $99,528. They include The Center for Wisdom’s Women, Lewiston, Maine, Salvadoran Enterprises for Women (S.E.W.), Silver Spring, Maryland, Oblate Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer, New York, NY, Long Island Federally Qualified Health Center, Westbury, NY, New Opportunities, Inc., Torrington, Connecticut, St. Mary Gate of Heaven Catholic Academy, Ozone Park, NY, The Book Fairies, Freeport, NY and the De La Salle School, Freeport, NY.
Here’s how grant recipients will put their money to use:
The Center for Wisdom’s Women, Lewiston, Maine
In 1999 the Daughters of Wisdom opened Wisdom’s Center in Lewiston, Maine. Nine years later, in the spirit of Louis de Montfort and Marie Louise Trichet, they handed the program over to local leadership. It has been operated privately since then as The Center for Wisdom’s Women, under the fiscal sponsorship of Trinity Episcopal Church. In April 2017 it received independent non-profit status from the IRS. Klara Tammany, the Center's Executive Director, is an Associate of Wisdom.
The Center for Wisdom’s Women continues to build upon the foundations established by the Daughters of Wisdom and in recent years has greatly expanded on them. The movement from “a drop in center” in 1999 to the current project of Sophia’s House, a two-year residential community and recovery program for women survivors of prostitution, prison and addiction; and Herban Works, a work readiness training program providing a small income, are indicative of such growth.
It is a time of great transition and growth for CWW which logs in over 400 visits monthly and registers 1200 women. CWW will use the grant money to continue work on Sophia House, a 2-year housing program for women survivors of trauma. The program is modeled on other successful programs such as Magdalene Houses and Thistle Farms. CWW’s proposal addresses the need for a project manager, operational expenses, and renovations.
Identifying one root cause of why so many women are homeless or sex trafficked in Maine, Klara Tammany traces its source to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). With a shortage of recovery houses and programs in Maine, and the recovery needs of women being distinct from those of men, more comprehensive services for women are needed which the grant money will help to address.
The targeted date for residency at Sophia’s House is late fall 2019. It will be a grand celebration as that is also the 20 year anniversary of the founding of the Center by the Daughters of Wisdom. For more information on The Center, Herban Works, and Sophia’s House see www.wisdomswomen.org
Salvadoran Enterprises for Women (SEW), Silver Spring, Maryland
Since 2003, Sew has been engaged in microenterprise development in El Salvador to enable women to start businesses, earn a little money, and care for their children with dignity.
And those fifteen years of empowerment of women through education in business practices and marketing has resulted in many women working their way out of poverty in rural El Salvador. SEW will use grant money for the expansion of this project into the future through articulating, formulating and systematizing training procedures, thus completing with pride the cycle from empowerment to entrepreneurship. SEW’s Executive Director, Sr. Anne Marie Gardiner, SSND and Sr. Marie Chiodo, DW have been working in a collaborative ministry over the years to support the future independence of SEW. To find out more about Salvadoran Enterprises for Women visit www.sewinc.org
Oblate Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer, New York, NY
The Mission of the Oblate Sisters is to work with women caught in the web of human trafficking. They currently serve immigrants from Africa and Latin America in the age ranges of 18-40. This grant, now in its second year, has assisted in discovering the appropriate interventions that meet the needs of women victims of Human Trafficking. Sr Emily Baylon, OSR, case manager, declares that the best outcome is to take every means possible to uphold the dignity and self-worth of the women who come to their mission and to encourage in them a sense of self-care bringing them eventually to healing and recovery. To learn more about the Oblate Sisters of the Most Holy Redeemer visit www.oblatesistersnewyork.org
Long Island Federally Qualified Health Center, Nassau County, NY
The mission of LIFQHC is to improve the health status of the community and to increase access to comprehensive primary and preventive health care in a financially responsible manner, especially for the underserved and vulnerable. This Grant will address measures needed to be taken to improve the quality of health in underserved communities in Nassau County. “Cooking Made Simple,” a project for learning how to budget and create simple, nutritious meals, while helping to combat obesity, will be offered to young women in the community. In an eight week series of cooking demonstrations, young mothers will amass useful recipes developed by cooking experts. To learn more about LIFQHC visit www.lifqhc.org
New Opportunities, Inc.
Offering a variety of social services programs designed to eliminate poverty and assist people in need by providing necessary resources, New Opportunities Inc. is a Connecticut community action agency serving Waterbury, Meriden, Torrington and 27 surrounding communities.
The Director, Maria Gonzales, has two goals in mind for the grant money. One is to work for the advancement of Latina women through programs designed to promote learning leadership and life skills. And the other is to serve as a mentor to oversee culturally appropriate dance instruction for middle and high school Latina girls. The grant now in its second year, “provides a network of support and encourages my Latina girls to stick with finishing high school, and with confidence go on for higher education,” affirms Ms. Gonzales. To learn more about New Opportunities Inc. visit www.newoppinc.org
St. Mary Gate of Heaven Catholic Academy, Ozone Park, NY
Founded in 1904 by the Daughters of Wisdom and Montfort Fathers, Ozone Park, NY’s St. Mary Gate of Heaven Catholic Academy is home to 249 students of diverse ethnic backgrounds ranging from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade. Known for its strong reputation among Catholic and public schools, the school will use the grant to supplement the cost of educating students who are economically disadvantaged and who without tuition assistance would not be able to attend this school. To learn more about St. Mary Gate of Heaven Catholic Academy visit ww.smgh.org
The Book Fairies, Freeport, NY
The Book Fairies was founded by Amy Zaslansky, a busy mom, who wanted to share her love of books as well as her over-flowing home library with less fortunate children. She discovered that it was difficult to place her used books with the children who would most benefit from them. Fueled by her desire to make a difference in her community, she created The Book Fairies, a Long Island-based non-profit organization. The organization accepts donations of new and gently used books and connects them with libraries, schools, and organizations in need throughout the New York metropolitan area.
Zaslansky’s organization has provided over 500,000 upcycled materials to people in homeless shelters, correctional facilities, and in high poverty areas of Long Island. The grant money will be used to reach out to people with low literacy levels in the Roosevelt Union Free School District through a program called Roosevelt Reads. To learn more about The Book Fairies visit www.thebookfairies.org
The De La Salle School, Freeport, NY
“Education breaks the cycle of poverty,” declares Jeanne Mulry, Director of Development for whom the desired outcome of this grant would be to transform economically disadvantaged students into academically and socially advantaged youth ready to experience the American Dream.
This non-tuition driven Catholic middle school promotes a quality education for boys from economically disadvantaged situations. The school serves 64 young men in grades 5 thru 8 and their families. Almost all of the students are either immigrant, with Latinos compromising 75% of the population and African ancestry 20%. The young men have been transferred from area schools high in crime, drugs and gang activity. The Grant will support resources and materials for SAT preparation. The emphasis on the future is noteworthy with many graduates attending Catholic High Schools, continuing the high caliber of education. To learn more about The De La Salle School visit www.DeLaSalleSchool.org
The pre-application period for grant proposals begins in March and ends in May of each year.