Eleven Catholic School Principals Selected for National Mentor Program
Year-long Pilot Program to Provide Ongoing Coaching and Mentoring

Washington, D.C. (November 6, 2019) Catholic elementary school principals who demonstrate strong, transformational leadership were nominated by superintendents from all regions of the country to participate in a new National Catholic School Mentor Program. The program kicked off in August with a three-day Leadership Institute where the principals analyzed their current strategies for curriculum development, funding models, and enrollment management to identify areas of improvement.

The National Catholic School Mentor Program was developed in correlation with the 2016 research on parental perceptions of Catholic schools, The Catholic School Choice: Understanding the Perspectives of Parents and Opportunities for More Engagement. The program intends to equip principals with the skills and resources needed to apply the research and positively impact enrollment and retention in their respective schools.

The program’s sponsors, FADICA, (Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities) and the National Catholic Educational Association selected the professional consultants at Meitler to lead the initiative. As experts in Catholic school planning and operational strategy, Meitler coordinated the Leadership Institute and will continue to provide ongoing mentoring and coaching to the principals throughout the 2019-2020 school year. All of these benefits are provided at no cost to the participant or the diocese, due to the generous support of project donors.

Although the program is national in scale, it is designed to impact real change at the local level in each principal’s community and school. To alleviate the isolation that principals often experience, the program utilizes a cohort model offering regular opportunities throughout the school year for principals to engage and support each other. 

The benefit from peer support was immediately observed by the eleven principals who gathered at the Carmelite Spiritual Center in Darien, Illinois for the Leadership Institute in August. As one participant shared, the workshop provided “ample opportunity to collaborate with others. Because we were from such varied parts of the country, I felt comfortable being frank about the challenges my school faces.”

The eleven principals who are participating in the National Catholic School Mentor Program include:  

  • Sister Marie Isaac Staub, O.P., St. Dominic Catholic School, Diocese of Joliet, IL;
  • Teresa Matetich, St. Joseph’s School, Diocese of Duluth, MN;
  • Jennifer Crombie, St. Katherine Drexel School, Diocese of Milwaukee, WI;
  • Michael Kosar, Holy Spirit School, Diocese of Albany, NY;
  • Jessica Walters, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School, Diocese of Providence, RI;
  • Sandy Pizzolato, Ascension Catholic Diocesan Regional School, Diocese of Baton Rouge, LA;
  • Lee Sayago, St. John Paul II, Diocese of St. Petersburg, FL;
  • Mazi McCoy, Corpus Christi School, Diocese of Galveston/Houston, TX;
  • Lilly Samaniego, Ss. Cyril and Methodius School, Diocese of Corpus Christi, TX;
  • Paul Richardson, Butte Central Schools, Diocese of Great Falls/Helena, MT; and
  • Patricia Provo, St. Kieran Catholic School, Diocese of San Diego, CA.



Since its establishment in 1976, FADICA (Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities) has become the leading philanthropic peer network which serves as a catalyst for a vital Catholic Church, Catholic ministries, and the common good. The organization promotes the growth and effectiveness of Catholic philanthropy inspired by the joy of the Gospel and the Catholic social tradition.


About NCEA

The National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) is the largest, private professional education association in the world. NCEA works with Catholic educators to support ongoing faith formation and the teaching mission of the Catholic Church. Their membership includes more than 150,000 educators serving 1.8 million students in Catholic education.


About Meitler

Meitler was founded in 1971 to respond to the needs of faith-based institutions for professional planning. Nearly 50 years later, Meitler has consulted with more than 2,000 Catholic schools, parishes, dioceses, and religious congregations across the United States to create transformational strategies driven by data and fueled by faith.



B.J. Cassin, Innovative Catholic Education Philanthropist, Receives FADICA’s 2019 St. Katharine Drexel Award

Washington, D.C. (January 25, 2019) – Foundations and Donors Interested in Activities (FADICA), the leading network of Catholic philanthropists in the U.S., has chosen B.J. Cassin (of Los Altos) as the 2019 recipient of its St. Katharine Drexel Award for exemplary contributions to Catholic philanthropy.

Cassin’s philanthropy has been instrumental in making Catholic education across the U.S. more accessible, especially through the innovative Cristo Rey Network model. The announcement comes as Catholic schools throughout the nation celebrate National Catholic Schools Week Jan. 27 through Feb. 2.

The St. Katharine Drexel Award is named after foundress of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and patron saint of philanthropy. St. Katharine inherited her wealth, which she spent her lifetime giving away, particularly to build schools and support access to quality education for African Americans and Native Americans.

B.J. Cassin founded and chaired the Cassin Educational Initiative Foundation (CEIF), launched in 2000 to establish private, college preparatory middle and high schools in economically-challenged communities throughout the U.S. CEIF provided start-up funds for 18 Cristo Rey High Schools and 37 Nativity Miguel Middle Schools.

Most recently, B.J. co-founded The Drexel Fund (named after St. Katharine Drexel), a national fund providing start-up capital and advisory support for new, high-quality, financially sustainable faith-based and private schools like Cristo Rey Network schools.

The Cristo Rey model is an innovative and proven Catholic middle and high school model for low-income students. The model provides rigorous academics and a corporate work study program that equips students with corporate employment skills and the means to fund their education. Cristo Rey graduates are three times more likely to complete a bachelor's degree by age 24 than their peers in the same socio-economic situation.

“B.J. carries St. Katharine Drexel’s philanthropic spirit and legacy forward in our time,” says Alexia Kelley, President and CEO of FADICA. “B.J. invited multiple partners, including corporate employers, to participate in Cristo Rey’s innovative model – all to help students reach their potential. He invested in the network early and brought the model to scale across the country, spreading its effectiveness and impact.”

Cassin’s investment in the Cristo Rey Network that helped establish 35 schools was a pivotal milestone for the Cristo Rey Network, says Fr. John Foley, S.J., Chair Emeritus and Chief Mission Officer of the Cristo Rey Network in Chicago, Ill. “The investments of the Cassin Educational Initiative Foundation altered the history and projection of the Cristo Rey Network,” he says.

“B.J. along with his wife Bebe have always been in favor of ‘leveling the playing field’ in education. They have a passion for providing educational opportunities to young people who often get denied the chance to use and maximize their gifts in the world. B.J. does not hesitate when there is an opportunity to provide young people a chance.”

Cassin is a longtime FADICA member and an emeritus board member. Cassin supported the launch of FADICA’s Philanthropy Leadership Intern Program at FADICA, and has supported a Cristo Rey high school intern to serve on the FADICA team for the past six years.

Cassin is also emeritus board member of the National Leadership Roundtable for Church Management and member of the California Jesuit Province Investment Committee.

Cassin is the second honoree of the St. Katharine Drexel Award, established in 2017 when it was awarded to Sr. Sally Duffy, SC. Cassin will receive the award at FADICA’s annual meeting Feb. 8 in Santa Monica, Cali.

More information about the award and the life of St. Katharine Drexel can be found on the FADICA website.




New FADICA study showcases Catholic Social Innovation in action across the globe

Washington, DC (April 10, 2018): The largest humanitarian crisis on record is underway today – more people are displaced now than at any time in our history, with nearly 20 people displaced every minute. And while there is no permanent resolution on the horizon, Catholic social innovators around the globe have created viable, compassionate, and entrepreneurial solutions to help displaced men, women, and children.

Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities (FADICA), the leading Catholic philanthropic network in the United States, has just completed a global study examining the innovative Catholic response to this crisis – a crisis that has forcibly displaced 65-million people worldwide, including 22.5 million refugees.

“The global refugee crisis is extensive and complex – it’s not going to be solved imminently,” says Alexia Kelley, President and CEO of FADICA. “But the projects spotlighted in our study represent effective and sustainable solutions that Catholic social innovators and organizations are leading globally.”

The report comes as Pope Francis continues to advocate for refugees and migrants.

The study was completed in partnership with Boston College’s Center for Social Innovation and identified 64 uniquely Catholic, innovative, high-impact ministries that are helping refugees and migrants around the world. The study was inspired by the recognition that Catholic priests, sisters, and lay people are among leading social innovators, yet their faith-based innovation is not well known. Among the ways Catholic social innovation is at work:

  • Stone House – Catholic nuns who converted their own home into a shelter in Pennsylvania
  • Common Earth Gardens – a nonprofit enterprise of Catholic Charities teaching farming skills to refugees resettled in Kentucky
  • Supporting Refugee Children with Disabilities – a Lebanese-based partnership of Catholic Relief Services helping Syrian and Iraqi refugee children with disabilities
  • Good Shepherd Sisters – job training programs preventing migration by successfully securing Bolivian women jobs in their home country
  • No Strings Partnership – a puppet company and nonprofit partnering to help displaced children in the Middle East deal with trauma after fleeing war and violence

The report also outlines 12 funding principles and practices for effectively supporting Catholic social innovation in the refugee crisis. For example, with emerging social enterprises, the report recommends openness to utilizing for-profit dollars as well as philanthropic grants to help confront the crisis. In addition, the report recommends a commitment to partnership with grantees, as well as to subsidiarity, through support for solutions from those closest to the challenge.

“Philanthropists and nonprofits seeking impactful and innovative solutions in refugee work specifically and Catholic humanitarian work generally will find exciting models in FADICA’s report,” says Dr. Maria Robinson, Board Chair of FADICA and member of the Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities. “As philanthropists, we must seek ways to most effectively help refugees and migrants, and this report gives us tools that will be helpful to any investor.”Many of the projects featured in the FADICA report respond to Pope Francis’ call to welcome, to protect, to promote, and to integrate displaced families, men, women, and children. These models of economic self-sufficiency and innovation are responding to and supporting the needs of refugees and migrants across continents.

“Social innovation doesn’t always have to mean doing something new. It might be a new response to social problems that have traditionally been difficult to solve, or – as we found repeatedly in our study – social innovation can be the repurposing of existing resources to solve a new problem.” says Professor Tiziana Dearing, co-director of Boston College’s Center for Social Innovation and the research lead. She adds that Catholic social innovation is “faith in action,” combining an ancient faith and centuries-old Catholic social tradition with modern innovations and agile entrepreneurialism.

“The projects highlighted in our report exemplify exactly what our faith and the Holy Father have called on us to do: to practice holiness ‘in a practical way for our own time, with all its risks, challenges and opportunities,’” says Alexia Kelley. “This is what Catholic innovators do, and in some instances, have done for centuries.”

Catholic sisters, priests, and lay people have launched and led networks of Catholic schools, hospitals, and social enterprises to help communities flourish and serve people on the margins, Kelley notes. “Catholic innovators have identified unaddressed needs or injustices, developed approaches to address them effectively and sustainably, and often creatively disrupted the conditions that led to a challenge in the first place.”

For additional information, a copy of the report, or to speak with FADICA’s Alexia Kelley or some of the programs highlighted, please call (202) 223-3550.



February 11, 2017

FADICA Honors Three Catholic Philanthropists with Awards: McCarthy Kostlan, Smith, and Duffy to Receive Recognition for Exemplary Contribution to the Church

Santa Monica, CA – Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities (FADICA) recognized three Catholic philanthropists with distinguished awards at its 2017 Annual Membership Meeting and Symposium in Santa Monica February 9 – 11.

The honorees include Kathleen McCarthy Kostlan of the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation (Los Angeles) and Robert A. Smith, III of the Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation (Los Angeles) who received the Charles Carroll Award in Catholic Philanthropy, and Sr. Sally Duffy, SC of SC Ministry Foundation (Cincinnati) who received the inaugural St. Katharine Drexel Award. The awards recognize outstanding and exemplary contributions to Catholic philanthropy and the Church.

“FADICA is thrilled to recognize these esteemed Catholic philanthropists and celebrate their acts of charity and justice. Through their generosity and philanthropic leadership, they have supported a vital Church and promoted the common good. We are filled with gratitude and inspiration as we honor these innovative, creative, and generous Catholic philanthropic leaders at our 2017 annual meeting,” said FADICA’s incoming board chair, Dr. Maria “Mona” Robinson of the Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities.

Named for the only Roman Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, the Charles Carroll Award is conferred upon individuals or organizations that demonstrate moral integrity, spiritual commitment to Catholic values and principles, and extraordinary service through charitable giving and who, like Carroll, has contributed greatly to the nation and the Church.

Kathleen McCarthy Kostlan is the Chair of the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation based in Los Angeles, and a leading Catholic philanthropist. Kathleen has played a vital role in Los Angeles, and her Catholic philanthropic leadership is significant in California and beyond. Kathleen has carried forward her parent’s legacy through the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation, significantly impacting and sustaining Catholic organizations for a vital Church and the common good, including educational and medical institutions, especially in southern California. McCarthy Kostlan serves as a trustee of the University of Southern California and several community and charitable boards.

Robert A. Smith, III is the President of the Carrie Estelle Doheny Foundation and a longtime FADICA member. Under his leadership, the Doheny Foundation has advanced community-based initiatives to help low-income families. Smith serves on the Board of Directors of Homeboy Industries, which empowers at-risk and former gang-involved youth to become contributing community members. Smith also serves on the Board of Proyecto Pastoral at Dolores Mission serving the East Los Angeles Community and on the Board of the Catholic Education Foundation serving Los Angeles’ inner city Catholic Schools. Smith’s leadership support to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and Church ministries, both as a funder and a board member, is cherished in the Los Angeles region.

FADICA presented the inaugural St. Katharine Drexel Award, named after only the second recognized American-born saint and patron saint of philanthropy, in honor of a Catholic philanthropist for exemplary and outstanding contributions to philanthropy on behalf of the Church and the common good. St. Katharine Drexel was especially dedicated to the material and spiritual well-being of African Americans and Native Americans, and devoted her life and a fortune of 20 million dollars to the service of the oppressed.

Sr. Sally Duffy, SC is president and executive director of SC Ministry Foundation, a public grantmaking organization that promotes the mission and ministry of the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati and is based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Sr. Sally is a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati. Like St. Katharine Drexel, Sr. Sally has dedicated all of her professional career to bringing not only financial resources but her own personal involvement and leadership to support a vital Catholic Church and social justice. A beacon of leadership and generosity in Cincinnati and the national level, including as chair of the Board of FADICA over the last four years, Sr. Sally has provided strategic guidance and spiritual leadership to critical initiatives serving the most vulnerable, including immigrants and children in poverty.

The three awardees were recognized at FADICA’s Annual Membership Meeting and Symposium, a gathering of over 100 national Catholic philanthropists and leaders. The symposium’s theme is focused on a vital Church, Catholic social entrepreneurism, and the next generation in Catholic philanthropy.