FIF awards over $900,000 in grants

Foundations in Faith has had incredible year. In just the first half of 2023, FIF launched its own bespoke grant management system, or GMS as it’s called by staff, and saw the number of applications for the St. John Paul II Fund for Religious Education and Faith Formation soar to a record 33 applications.

Ultimately, $119,300.00 was awarded to 24 applicants including diocesan organizations like the Institute for Catholic Formation, the Diocesan Young Adult Council and 20 parishes across the diocese.

These grants, ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, will fund all aspects of faith formation, from entirely new catechism curricula, to retreats, technology, sacred music education, and a summer local mission program, among many others.

Grantees were quick to express their gratitude for the impact of a Foundations in Faith grant. “We are humbled and grateful for this Foundation in Faith grant. As you know, our parish is constantly striving to serve our community, especially through our dedicated youth. This grant will be very helpful in assisting us to reach our current goals. On behalf of everyone at St. Philip, especially our youth, please accept our sincere gratitude for this funding” said Jennifer Boccanfuso, Youth Minister at St. Philip Church in Norwalk.

The grants were approved by Foundations in Faith Board of Trustees in its annual meeting on June 21 and are scheduled for release to grantees by the end July. Four other FIF funds also saw its grants approved on the June 21 meeting: the St. Therese Fund for Evangelization awarded $107,000 in grants, the St. John Bosco Fund for Special Needs in Catholic Schools awarded $43,000, the St. Catherine Center Fund awarded $23,000 and the Lourdes Fund for Catholic Nursing Homes awarded $27,000 in grants.

The St. Therese Fund for Evangelization awards went to six diocesan organizations including the well-established ChristLife Fairfield (a 21-week program to encounter Jesus, who he is, why we need to know him ever deeper, how we follow him and how can we share him with others), the widely popular Veritas Catholic Radio’s Let Me Be Frank show, the vibrant Guild of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and newcomer CREW – Leaders for Mary, Inc. (a high school leadership program focused on forming disciples through Mary).

Likewise, these grantees also welcomed the much appreciated financial support as Sharon Fisher, director of ChristLife expressed “God bless you all abundantly. These funds will enable us to continue bringing souls to the Lord by helping them develop a closer relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

The Board had previously approved $377,300 in grants in its March meeting via the St. Charles Borromeo Fund for Vocations and Seminarians, the St. John Vianney Fund for Retired Priests, and the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Fund for Catholic Schools. And for the first time, all applications were reviewed by an all-volunteer team of grant reviewers using the GMS.

In July, Foundations is Faith also approved a $200,000 award to The Cathedral Parish of Bridgeport for the installation of its geothermal heating and cooling system—the second and final award of a $400,000 grant approved in 2022 by the St. Francis Xavier Fund.

Altogether, in 2023, Foundations in Faith total grants awarded exceeds $900,000. While the total amount awarded is down from 2022, Foundations in Faith is encouraged by the expanded reach of the Foundation in 2023–not only will it reach more parishes and diocesan organizations this year, but also fund a deeper and richer variety of faith formation and pastoral care programming throughout the Diocese of Bridgeport.