A Catholic Comeback! FIF sees a Dramatic Increase of Applicants

According to Carol Incarnacao-Schirm, Grants Manager, “The Foundation saw a 50% increase in applications for the St. John Paul II Fund for Faith Formation this year.” This is very exciting as we witness a resurgence of Parishes responding to the needs of their Parishioners in offering engaging Faith Formation programs.

We would love to fund all of these applications yet we simply do not have the resourses to do that. Our process is to engage our grant review team to evaluate the applications. The grant review process ensures that every application is looked at by 3-4 individuals. It is done online and reviewers are screened for conflicts of interest. We are looking for innovative approaches to Faith Formation and take into consideration the financial needs and spiritual needs of the Parishes which apply. We “lean into” the initiatives that have impact and momentum, especially as it relates to youth and young adults. Staff and grant reviewers are ‘wowed’ and energized by the evident momentum in our post-pandemic Catholic “come back”. The Bishop’s vision for “The One” has been a driving force for community, innovation, and discipleship and the applications mirror Bishop Caggiano’s theme of ‘planting seeds’.

According to Kelly Weldon, Foundations in Faith Director, “We have also seen an increase in the St. Therese Fund for Evangelization Applications.” Some of the applications are targeting evangelization efforts for specific age groups such as young children or recently married couples. Diocesan-wide, projects are casting nets in shallow and in deep waters to evangelize. A great example is Veritas Catholic Networks’ “Let Me Be Frank” weekly podcast/radio show featuring our own Bishop Frank Caggiano and his robust guest list. Listeners from the tri-state area tune in Wednesday at noon while podcast proponents from across the world listen to Bishop whenever they choose. The foundation embraces a strategy of targeted and broad efforts in a simultaneous and creative way. This is how we fund projects that plant seeds to grow disciples. In the words of our applicants, we too want to see evangelization as “inclusive” and reaching out to connect with those on “the fringe”.

Carol and Kelly will be working hard this month to consolidate the grant reviews and to build a recommended slate of grant awards for the Foundations in Faith Board of Directors to consider at the June Annual Meeting. Grant letters will go out to all applicants whether they receive funding or not in July. Funds related to grant awards will be transferred end of July.

Kelly is grateful to Carol, the new Grants Manager. “Carol brings so much to the process and has proven to be a real leader.” Both Kelly and Carol are hugely appreciative of the Grant Review team and the new Grant Management Systems that has automated the FIF Grant process. Weldon remembers when she started at the foundation in 2019, “I had one fund and $120,000 to distribute. Now Carol and I have nine funds and in fiscal year 2022-23, the foundation has distributed over $1,600,000.00. This too signals a dramatic increase and that has so much to do with the Board leadership and donors’ interest in a Catholic comeback! Game On.