FADICA Awards the St. Mary Magdalene Medal of Service to Gabriela Smith 

Pictured from left to right: FADICA Board Chair Michael Wolohan, honoree Gabriela Smith, FADICA President Alexia Kelley, and Bishop Evelio Menjivar-Ayala

FADICA – Catholic Philanthropy Network was thrilled to convey the St. Mary Magdalene Medal of Service to Gabriela Smith—a FADICA member, board member, and the founder and executive chair of the Crimsonbridge Foundation—at a FADICA Advent gathering in Washington, DC, on December 12, 2023. 

St. Mary Magdalene was one of the primary funders of Jesus’ ministry. Along with Joanna, Susanna, Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea, she was an active participant in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Her faithful witness throughout the Gospels serves as a model of how active philanthropy can be an authentic manifestation of discipleship. St. Mary Magdalene served Jesus with her time and talent, much like Gabriela Smith, who serves the mission of the Church with active engagement, innovation, embodying the values of FADICA. 

“Gabriela Smith brings a deep faith, love of the Church, and an entrepreneurial vision to her philanthropy,” said Alexia Kelley, FADICA President and CEO. “This unique combination, alongside a spirit of engagement, echo the example of St. Mary Magdalene who supported Jesus’ ministry as an active disciple and from her own resources.” 

Gabriela Smith is the founder and executive chair of the Crimsonbridge Foundation, which is one of only 2.3% Hispanic-led foundations in the United States, and works to improve educational quality, access, and graduation rates for all students in the nation. Her commitment to education and Catholic philanthropy spans decades, going back to her early career overseeing education projects at the World Bank and as a social worker for Catholic Charities in Los Angeles.  

In the education sector, Gabriela has launched partnerships and nationwide initiatives designed to improve outreach and services to students and families. She is one of the founders of the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning and the St. Jane de Chantal Salesian Center in Washington, DC. Gabriela has been an active partner in higher education boards and causes, serving as a member of the Dean’s Council of the Harvard Kennedy School—her alma mater—as well as the Georgetown University Board of Regents, the Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School Board, and the Georgetown Scholarship Program Advisory Board. She served as President of the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders Washington DC Chapter and is a lay consultant to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. 

We extend our congratulations to Gabriela Smith for her dedicated and entrepreneurial work in education and Catholic philanthropy, and for this recognition of active discipleship with the St. Mary Magdalene Medal of Service.