The Saint Joan of Arc Justice Fund Spring 2014 round of awards totaled $42,000! Here are more details regarding the Justice Fund and the SJA Outreach Fund. Saint Joan of Arc parishioners are enthusiastically involved as volunteers and leaders in these organizations! It is an honor to partner with our people and with these projects.
Advocates for Human Rights: www.theadvocatesforhumanrights.org $4500 for the Refugee and Immigrant Program, which provides quality, free legal representation to low-income refugees seeking asylum because they fear violence and persecution in their home countries. Parishioner letters of support from Alison Griffith and Kathy Moccio.
What we learned: Over half the asylum seekers represented by The Advocates are victims of torture.
East Side Learning Center: www.eastsidelearningcenter.org $4500 to help provide more than 225 trained volunteers and 30 part-time educators who meet with over 220 children daily (half being kindergartners) for literacy tutoring. Parishioner letters of support from Sr. Adaire Lassonde, SSND, Neysa Housley, Nan Fergen and Mark Ceilley.
What we learned: According to the Nat’l Research Council, academic success can be predicted with reasonable accuracy by reading skills at the end of 3rd grade. 75% of ESLC’s 3rd graders reached their reading goals.
Assistive Technology Center of the Minneapolis Public Schools: $2000 to purchase supplies that volunteer woodworkers use to build specialized equipment for children with disabilities. Parishioner letters of support from Bob Bonde and Jane Bromaghim.
What we learned: This program has logged over 30,000 hours of service and has saved the school district over half a million dollars.
Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative: www.beaconinterfaith.org $5000 to strengthen Beacon’s Advocacy program, which recruited over 1500 people of faith from more than 60 congregations to help secure this year’s incredible legislative commitment of $100 million toward affordable housing in Minnesota. Parishioner letters of support from Braden O’Connor, Greer Lichtenberg, John Song and Kieran Maneely. These SJA youth and their leaders signed up more than 200 SJA parishioners as fellow advocates.
What we learned: Wilder Research reports that in 2012 there were 10,214 homeless adults, youth and children in Minnesota – a 30% increase since 2006. Nearly half of those counted were age 21 or younger.
Bridging: www.bridging.org $4000 to provide more than 4000 low income families with quality furniture and household goods this year, at no cost. Parishioner letters of suport from Dick Brozic and Mary Ahler.
What we learned: Bridging kept 10 million pounds of goods from the landfill last year by re-using them.
Feed My Starving Children MarketPlace Project: www.fmsc.org $5000 to expand a partnership with Hope Again Women in Uganda, which provides fair wages, dignified work and a marketplace for 145 women artisans, many of whom live with HIV/AIDS. Parishioner letters from Meghan Howard and Matthew Howard.
What we learned: In 2013, FMSC engaged and educated 779,000 volunteers on issues related to global hunger.
Sponsor A Family Minnesota: www.sponsorafamilymn.org $3000 to support a holiday program that matches donors with more than 2500 individuals. Parishioner letters of support from Meghan Howard and Martha Burnett Pettee.
What we learned: After 30+ years as a program of Catholic Charities, this program is now totally run by volunteer leaders committed to serving low income families from around the Twin Cities.
Alliance Housing Incorporated: www.alliancehousinginc.org $3000 to help subsidize rents for poor and formerly homeless single adults and families, and provide supportive services to those who need them. Parishioner letters of support from Ben Olk and Mary Ann Andreason.
What we learned: A minimum wage worker would have to work 91 hours per week at minimum wage to afford an average 2 bedroom apartment at market rate.
White Dove Girls’ School: www.whitedovefoundation.org $3000 to provide Rwandan girls who otherwise could not afford it a career-preparatory education in computer science. Letters of support from parishioners Rita and Ben Olk and Steve and Mary O’Rourke.
What we learned: This is the only all-girl school in Rwanda to offer a computer science curriculum and also offers health care, food and textbooks. The Rwandan genocide 20 years ago resulted in the deaths of approximately 800,000 people, and orphaned 300,000 children. It is estimated that roughly 1/3 of Rwandan schools were destroyed and 3,000 or more primary school teachers were lost.
Theresa Living Center: www.theresalivingcenter.org $4000 to provide a home and support services for homeless women and children. Letters of support from Sheri Ahl and Mary Maher.
What we learned: As federal government subsidies shift to a focus on permanent housing, the School Sisters of Notre Dame continue their mission providing critical transitional housing for women and families to prepare them for permanent stability in housing and employment.
Protect Minnesota: www.protectmn.org $4000 to help bring people together to free our communities from gun violence. Letters of support from Ann Mongoven and Sarah Gleason.
What we learned: In 2013, 1500 gun related bills were introduced at the state level across the country, and 109 became law. More than 60% of those laws actually loosened existing gun restrictions and increased access to guns at a time when more than 32,000 people die of gun violence in the U.S. each year.
Our thanks to the SJA Justice Fund Committee - Barb Schubring, Judy Saumweber, Mary Jo Malecha, Rita Benak, Ryan Schultz, Louise Eidsmoe and LouAnne Sexton, for their thoughtful discernment and to all who contribute to the SJA Outreach Fund and make this holy work possible.