Press Releases

Oglala Sioux Leader, Maka Black Elk, Selected for FADICA's 2021 Catholic Leadership Award

Thursday July 29, 2021

(Washington, DC) –

Maka Akan Najin Black Elk, a leader in Native American and Catholic education for truth, healing and reconciliation, has been unanimously selected by the FADICA Board of Directors as the recipient of the organization’s 2021 Distinguished Catholic Leadership Award. The Distinguished Catholic Leadership Award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding initiative, a spirit of service and visionary leadership in contributing to the renewal and vitality of the Catholic Church.   

In selecting Maka Black Elk for this award, FADICA identified Black Elk’s courageous leadership to address historical trauma and racial justice through the significant truth and healing process at Red Cloud Indian School, a Jesuit institution on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota; his faith-filled and inclusive approach to healing and reconciliation; and his leadership in the American Indian Catholic Schools Network and the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition. With this recognition, Black Elk joins past award recipients who inspire greater leadership and service among Catholics for the Church and the common good.

“Maka Akan Najin Black Elk is a person of deep faith, who is putting Catholic values into action to build a future of hope and healing,” said Alexia Kelley, President and CEO of FADICA, the leading philanthropic peer network serving as a catalyst for a vital Catholic Church and the common good. “Mr. Black Elk is leading ground-breaking and critical work at the local and national level for truth and reconciliation in our Church and our country,” said Kelley.

Black Elk graduated from the University of San Francisco and then earned a Master’s degree in Peace and Human Rights Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College, as well as a Master’s in Educational Leadership from the University of Notre Dame. 

He is a citizen of Oglala Lakota Nation in South Dakota, a descendent of boarding school survivors, and a graduate of Red Cloud Indian School.  Black Elk later served as a teacher and educational administrator at Red Cloud Indian School before assuming his current role. 

As Executive Director for Truth and Healing at Red Cloud Indian School, Black Elk’s responsibilities include organizing, planning, supporting, and guiding the larger institution in engagement with the community in a truth and healing process related to the oppression caused by the historical boarding school experience.  He provides professional development, training, and dialogue opportunities on a range of topics including racial reconciliation, and partners with community groups, tribal governments, and nonprofits to develop a network of support.

“I am truly humbled and honored by FADICA’s vote of confidence for the work I support,” said Black Elk. “I strongly believe that the Catholic Church should broadly recognize the need for us as a faith community to engage in the sacramental calling for reconciliation. My hope is that we more closely live out a faith that does justice.”

In a recent article on the history of Red Cloud Indian School by the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, writer MegAnne Liebsch explains:

“[Red Cloud Indian School] was historically a part of a national U.S. policy to assimilate indigenous peoples into white American culture. Through its Indian Boarding School Policy, the federal government compelled attendance at boarding schools where students were prohibited from speaking their language or practicing their culture. An estimated 100,000 children attended these schools — many of which were run by Catholic religious orders.”

The Jesuits offered an official apology to the Lakota people in 1993.

The 2021 Distinguished Catholic Leadership Award will be presented to Maka Akan Najin Black Elk at FADICA’s 2021 Symposium and Annual Spiritual Retreat which will be held in Minneapolis, Minn., October 7-8, 2021.


Maka Akan Najin Black Elk and Alexia Kelley are available for interviews.

To learn more about Maka Black Elk’s work, visit the Red Cloud Indian School “Truth and Healing” website found here.


FADICA is the leading philanthropic peer network serving as a catalyst for a vital Catholic Church, Catholic ministries, and the common good. We promote the growth and effectiveness of Catholic philanthropy inspired by the joy of the Gospel and the Catholic social tradition. FADICA supports its members through education, exchange, fellowship and faith, research, joint funding opportunities, and interaction with Catholic leadership.  For more information on FADICA, visit:

FADICA Launches Multi-Year "Commitment to Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection" Initiative

New initiative aims to bring philanthropic community together to build safer cultures

Tuesday February 23, 2021

(Washington, DC) – Today, Foundations and Donors Interested in Catholic Activities (FADICA) announces the formal launch of its “Commitment to Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection” initiative. This multi-year program seeks to protect vulnerable persons by building safer organizational cultures through specific steps outlined in its Funder Safeguarding Pledge. Inspired by the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, this initiative affirms the inherent dignity of the human person, as well as philanthropy’s role in promoting safeguarding best practices.

“Safeguarding is a public value and a priority for us as a Catholic philanthropic network,” said Alexia Kelley, President & CEO, FADICA. “Funders can play a critical role in making safeguarding a standard organizational best practice.”

The Safeguarding Initiative is funded by four FADICA members.

Safeguarding Funder Pledge

A key component of this new initiative is a pledge, which communicates a funder’s commitment to safeguarding. By taking the pledge, FADICA members can focus on their own internal safeguarding capacity, and all of their grantee partners receive access to safeguarding capacity-building.  Capacity-building resources include sample policies, trainings, and expert consultations at no cost.

“We launched the Funder Safeguarding Pledge as one of our first steps in promoting a culture of safety through philanthropy,” said Maria Robinson, MD, FADICA board chair. “Funders are uniquely positioned to accompany and support grantee partners in our common safeguarding journey.”

While FADICA’s member pledge is influenced by its Catholic identity, the action steps of the pledge are accessible to any funder. FADICA recognizes the leadership of a number of funders in this area and sees an opportunity for faith-based and secular funders to adapt action steps to fit their grantmaking environments. Asking vital questions of partners, especially groups that serve youth and vulnerable adults, is an important steppingstone for building a culture of safety. “Safeguarding can be a shared value between funder and grantee,” Robinson added. “By normalizing this conversation, by tackling this issue together as a community, we can contribute to overall culture change.”

“FADICA recognizes the substantial efforts made by Catholic Church leaders to protect children and vulnerable adults over a number of years now,” Kelley continued. “FADICA’s new Safeguarding Initiative complements those efforts.”


Safeguarding Panel on Thursday, February 25, 2021

In addition to a community seminar, FADICA will host a one-hour, virtual panel on Thursday, February 25, 2021, at 11am EST. The panel will focus on the role of funders in promoting safeguarding alongside other leaders and partners. Featured panelists Peter Laugharn, President and CEO of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation; Maria Robinson, MD, FADICA’s Board Chair and a member of the Raskob Foundation for Catholic Activities; Juan Carlos Cruz, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse in Chile and an activist; and Teresa Kettelkamp, a lay member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. For more information about the panel, please contact Sean O’Leary at   

Free Community Seminar Offered

To highlight the public value of safeguarding, FADICA will share a free community seminar on its website in March, led by expert partners in abuse prevention. This seminar will explore practical steps for any nonprofit to introduce or recommit to safeguarding best practices. FADICA has also allocated a limited number of free consultation hours for non-profits interested in expert feedback.



FADICA is the leading philanthropic peer network serving as a catalyst for a vital Catholic Church, Catholic ministries, and the common good. We promote the growth and effectiveness of Catholic philanthropy inspired by the joy of the Gospel and the Catholic social tradition. FADICA supports its members through education, exchange, fellowship and faith, research, joint funding opportunities, and interaction with Catholic leadership.  For more information on FADICA, visit

Media Contact:

Sean O’Leary, Susan Davis International


FADICA Celebrates 2020 Award Winners

Washington, DC (July 30, 2020) — In announcing its 2020 awardees, FADICA celebrates five outstanding Catholic leaders for their meaningful contributions to Church and society, and their exemplary lives of service. “Each one of the awardees is a person of deep faith who give us hope and inspiration, especially during this challenging time,” said Alexia Kelley, President and CEO of FADICA, the leading philanthropic peer network serving as a catalyst for a vital Catholic Church and the common good. “FADICA is privileged to recognize each of them,” said Kelley.

2020 Distinguished Catholic Leadership Awards

Through the Distinguished Catholic Leadership Award, FADICA pays tribute to individuals who have demonstrated imaginative leadership, outstanding initiative and a spirit of service in contributing to the renewal and vitality of the Catholic Church. In 2020 FADICA honors two Catholic Sisters as Distinguished Catholic Leaders.

Sr. Teresa Maya, CCVI, PhD
Congregational Leader, Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word

An educator, Sister Teresa Maya has been a member of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word San Antonio since 1994. She has served as a teacher, history professor, and an administrator, and has a passion for the formation of ministers for Hispanics/Latinos in the United States.  Sr. Teresa served in the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) presidency from 2016-2019 and is currently serving as Congregational Leader for her community. Leadership in her congregation inspires her conviction in the future of consecrated life. Before her transition to LCWR, Maya collaborated with the religious conference in Mexico. The perspective and attitude she brings with her, her friends and colleagues say, are unique to a bicultural upbringing and friendly to the concept of change.  In selecting Sr. Teresa for this award, FADICA’s Board of Directors identified Sr. Teresa’s leadership role in religious life, her committed representation of all sisters– including Latina and next generation sisters, and her example of servant leadership.

Excerpt from Award Acceptance Remarks

In her acceptance speech, Sister Teresa Maya offered this insight on leadership: “Leadership in our Catholic communities is not just something you train for. It is not about studying leadership academically, although it helps, or about reading the next bestseller, although it helps, or even about leadership coaching.  Leadership in the Catholic community begins when we are finally on our knees, knowing we don’t deserve it, we don’t know how, and we need God’s grace always.  And, if we don’t start there, no matter who you are, sooner or later you are humbly lighting a candle for a challenge bigger than you, for a situation you could not even imagine was possible, for the people you serve and love and you cannot find the way to help. Leadership in our Catholic Church is only possible with a strong spiritual core, deep spiritual grounding; the sacred place where we go to give thanks and plead, to cry and wonder.”

Sister Norma Pimentel, MJ

Executive Director, Catholic Charities of Rio Grande Valley

Sister Norma Pimentel is a sister with the Missionaries of Jesus and a licensed professional counselor. As executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley for the past 10 years, she oversees the charitable arm of the Diocese of Brownsville, leading diverse ministries and programs for emergency assistance, housing assistance, military assistance, clinical counseling, and pregnancy care to all four counties in the Rio Grande Valley. She was instrumental in organizing community resources to respond to the surge of Central Americans seeking asylum in the United States and setting up Humanitarian Respite Centers in McAllen and Brownsville, Texas in June 2014. The Center was launched as a direct response to the refugee relief crisis that began in June 2014, and has since served 100,000 refugees.

During the U.S. Papal visit, Sister Norma met with Pope Francis in New York City and presented him with one of her original paintings which depicted an immigrant mother and child. She was first introduced to Pope Francis in August 2015 via a “virtual town hall” arranged by ABC News which later aired in a one-hour special edition of “20/20.” 


Excerpt from Award Acceptance Remarks

Sister Norma recounted the story of how the 2015 virtual town hall with Pope Francis came about with the ABC 20/20 news program, and the advance confidentiality surrounding the event. She had the entire audience laughing as she described telling the immigrant families that they were going to meet an important person via video “who is almost as high as God, right before God.”  She described how Pope Francis offered words of encouragement to the immigrant families and volunteers.  “It was the best way to tell the volunteers and all the people who contributed so much and so generously to help these immigrant families, who are coming to our area in great numbers.” She shared that the volunteers give 100% of their time and energy without reservation, and that she even had a 92-year old couple who volunteered.  “It’s so magnificent to see the presence of God in that encounter between the volunteers and the immigrant families because the families have their dignity restored and the volunteers preserve their humanity.  It brings joy to all of us.”


2020 St. Katharine Drexel Awards

Named after the patron saint of philanthropy and only the second recognized American-born saint, FADICA presents the St. Katharine Drexel Award to recognize members and other Catholic philanthropists for their exemplary and outstanding contributions to philanthropy on behalf of the Church and the common good. 

In 2020, FADICA recognizes Thomas J. HealeyMaureen O’Leary, and John Studzinski with the St. Katharine Drexel Award. 

Thomas J. Healey, CFA
Partner, Healey Development LLC; Healey Family Foundation

Tom Healey is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and a retired partner of Goldman, Sachs & Co. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Tom served as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury for Domestic Finance under President Ronald Reagan. Before joining the Treasury, he was with Dean Witter Reynolds, Inc., where he was head of the Corporate Finance Department. Tom is involved in various investment activities through Healey Development LLC and in a variety of charitable activities. He was Trustee and Chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation Investment Committee and served in similar positions at Georgetown University. Tom was instrumental in guiding the fundraising for St. Mary’s Mission Hospital in NairobiKenya.  Tom serves on the Emeritus Board of FADICA, the Board of the Leadership Roundtable, and the Board of the Cristo Rey Network. He is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a Counselor of Real Estate.

Excerpt from Award Acceptance Remarks

In his acceptance remarks, Tom Healey dispelled the notion that only the wealthy with money to burn can be philanthropists.  “With some imagination, anyone can have a powerful impact on the lives of others through their own individual philanthropic acts. For instance, a good-hearted benefactor could purchase [inexpensive] Bibles for a small group, or an entire Christian community, to provide them with the inspiration and wisdom from the most-read book of all time. After listing gift ideas for as low as $4 and as high as $6,500, Healey concluded:  “The point is clear: Philanthropy does not necessarily demand big bucks to be effective, just a big heart and ample imagination. Think about that…and good luck with your own philanthropy.”  Tom expanded on his acceptance remarks in this article  “On Giving Tuesday you can practice philanthropy with a few dollars (and some imagination)” in America Magazine.

Maureen O’Leary

Trustee, William M. and Miriam F. Meehan Foundation

Maureen O’Leary has put her Catholic faith into practice through her personal and professional vocation and philanthropy. She is a trustee of the William M. and Miriam F. Meehan Foundation and a longtime member of St. Ignatius Jesuit parish in Manhattan.  She studied social work at Columbia University and then continued her training in psychotherapy and psychoanalysis at The Training Institute in New York.  For over 30 years she saw patients, many low income, taught and supervised candidates at the Institute and continues to serve as an Institute Trustee. Her professional training and experience was influential in shaping her approach to putting human dignity at the center of her work on human trafficking.  The Meehan Foundation is committed to supporting staff working directly with survivors of human trafficking.  As an Emeritus Trustee of FADICA, Maureen helped launch a research report on the anti-trafficking efforts at Catholic colleges and universities.  She also was an inaugural funder of two Vatican youth conferences, bringing together survivors and anti-slavery leaders dedicated to ending modern day slavery.

Award Presentation

Due to the pandemic, the award presentation for Maureen O’Leary will take place during a member gathering at an appropriate time in the future.

John J. Studzinski CBE
Vice Chairman, PIMCO; Co-founder Arise Foundation; Genesis Foundation

About John J. Studzinski CBE

An American-born British investment banker and philanthropist, John Studzinski CBE, is Vice Chairman of PIMCO. He is heavily involved in hands-on philanthropy, patronage, and charity work. His numerous charitable activities revolve mainly around human rights, the arts, and homelessness. John’s own charity, the Genesis Foundation, supports and nurtures people in the creative fields in the early stages of their careers. In 2015 he co-founded Arise, which he chairs, to support and promote frontline anti-slavery work. Arise is now working in Eastern Europe, across India, the Philippines, parts of Africa and South America. Much of this effort is coordinated with and through a vast network of religious sisters serving those impacted by slavery in the worst affected regions of the world. This complements his extensive work within the business community to promote supply chain transparency, which includes co-chairing the Business Against Slavery Forum, an initiative of the UK Government.

Excerpt from Award Acceptance Remarks

In his warm and heartfelt remarks, John Studzinski offered personal insights and encouragement.  He recalled going with his mother when he was five years old to serve the poor at a soup kitchen.  He learned quickly that the people who were working with dignity in serving the poor stood out.  He praised the work of women religious as the “backbone” of the church in schools, hospitals, agencies of all kinds, and doing heroic work fighting human trafficking.  He concluded with a reflection on prayer and philanthropy, and the importance of teaching young people how to pray. “Prayer is about passion and praying through your heart.  And philanthropy and prayer are much closer together than we might realize.”

FADICA-sponsored research identifies keys to Catholic parish vitality

Four key areas studied, eight characteristics identified

Washington, DC (June 2, 2020) — Catholic parishes that are welcoming and missionary create real vitality in the life of the parish says a major new study titled, “Open Wide the Doors to Christ: A Study of Catholic Social Innovation for Parish Vitality.” The research was commissioned by FADICA, a unique peer network of philanthropists supporting Catholic activities, and conducted by Marti R. Jewell, D.Min. and Mark Mogilka, MSW, MA

“Parishes with vitality send people out in service to others in the community, letting go of parochial barriers,” Dr. Jewell said.

“Without denying the challenging realities for many parishes, what we also found was hope-filled parishes, whole communities excited about their parish and their future,” said Mr. Mogilka.

“As parishes begin to re-open, we are pleased to be releasing the findings of this timely study,” said Alexia Kelley, FADICA President & CEO. “Perhaps one outcome from this period of pandemic could be that pastors and parish leaders equipped with the study’s findings might find life-giving strategies relevant to their own context,” said Kelley.

FADICA’s member Working Group on Church Vitality focused on how Catholic social innovation might foster vitality in U.S. Catholic parishes.  In 2018, FADICA produced a groundbreaking study titled, Catholic Social Innovation in the Global Refugee Crisis.  This second study on parish vitality further articulates the concept of Catholic social innovation.

FADICA’s working group chose to focus the research on best practices and innovation in four distinct areas: WelcomingYoung AdultsLay and Religious Women in Leadership, and Hispanic Ministry. The research entailed a review of more than 200 initiatives, websites and books, and more than 65 interviews with pastoral leaders and innovators across the country.  The research team also explored more than 20 different metric tools designed to measure parish vitality.

“We believe there are amazing assets in the diversity of the Catholic community, said Gabriela Smith, President and Founder, Crimsonbridge Foundation, a funder of the study. “By learning from dioceses and parishes experiencing parish vitality in these four areas of focus, we can share and replicate successful practices and communication strategies that support active and inclusive parish communities,” she said.

Based on this in-depth study, the report highlights seven key characteristics which together generate vitality in Catholic parishes, as follows:

  1. Innovation. Pastoral leaders engage in a variety of innovative processes to address difficult challenges they face.  Use of digital tools like the parish website and social media are considered important ways to connect with people, especially young adults.
  1. Have excellent pastors. These pastors have a desire, qualities and skills to work collaboratively and co-responsibly with staff and parish leaders. 

“One of the most important findings is that pastors need to be ‘relational’ in every sense of the word,” said Jewell. “They need to be adaptive and open to new ways of doing things and being relational can be a learned skill,” she said.

  1. Have leadership teams. The essential contribution of lay leaders – both staff and volunteers, share responsibility for the life of the parish with the pastor. 

“Pastors realize that they can’t do it all and they need a team,” said Mogilka.  “In parishes with much vitality, we found pastors who are collaborative, servant-pastoral leaders who know how to identify gifts and talents, to affirm those gifts and talents and to empower lay people,” Mogilka said.  

  1. Possess a holistic, compelling vision. Pastoral leaders have a vision for parish life that includes engaging in relational ministry, fostering authentic relationships within the parish community.
  1. Place priority on Sunday experience.  An importance is placed on gathering for Sunday Mass to hear God’s Word, celebrate and share the Eucharist, and being sent forth in service.
  1. Foster spiritual growth and maturity.  A variety of entry points are provided for all people to build their relationship with Jesus that sustains them on their journey.
  1. Live the faith in service. Parishes live out the call to form missionaries by enabling parishioners to meet the spiritual and human needs of the marginalized, hungry and homeless; and to care for our communities and creation.
  1. Utilize online communications tools. The parish website is the doorway – the first place people “check out” the parish. Good, interactive, and culturally sensitive websites are critical, as well as the proper use of social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Researchers Jewell and Mogilka studied the four specific areas of parish life selected by the FADICA working group and drew these conclusions:

Welcoming Parishes.  Not surprising, parishes with vitality have a welcoming spirit and are intentional about the “process of welcoming,” starting with trained greeters, identifying special opportunities to publicly welcome newcomers, e.g., at weddings, baptisms and funerals, outreach and invitation initiatives found on the parish website and offered via social ministry.

Young Adults.  Keys to engaging this group of parishioners include really listening to young adults, building relationships and responding to their needs, ensuring that young adults are integrated into the leadership groups at the parish, paying attention to the engaged and married couples and young families, and using social media and personal contact to build relationships.

Women and Women Religious in Leadership. Parishes with vitality hire lay and women religious at all levels of leadership responsibility, support and affirm their leadership and ensure balanced representation by women and men on councils and committees. The researchers encouraged bishops to deploy Canon 517.2, which allows the appointment of “deacons and others who are not priests” to provide pastoral care of parishes in cases when there is a shortage of priests. The study pointed out that over 3,300 parishes lack a resident priest, but the number of dioceses using this option is declining.

Hispanic Ministry.  Parish diversity is seen as a grace for parishes with vitality.  Pastoral leaders are sensitive to the variety of cultures present, provide cultural sensitivity training for staff and volunteers, offer bi-lingual liturgies, as well as printed and digital materials, and specific devotions and celebrations for feast days for the entire community.

“The recommendations of the parish vitality study are practical, relevant, and speak directly to the success that investments in communications capacity building can have towards building thriving, inclusive, and engaged parish communities,” said Danielle M. Reyes, Executive Director, Crimsonbridge Foundation.

“The pandemic has really caused pastors and parish leaders to stretch themselves and to be open to new ways of doing things,” said Jewell. 

The study concluded that parishes with vitality are open to listening and designing new and creative ways to respond to the changing culture with enthusiasm, intentional hospitality, and who welcome diversity as a grace.  To read the Executive Summary, click here. To read the full report, click here.

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.

Catholic social innovation helping refugees and migrants during worst humanitarian crisis in history

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.