Your innovative ministry may qualify to receive big bucks

OSV Institute is investing in evangelization that works

If your Catholic ministry is working, the Our Sunday Visitor Institute wants to help you.

After granting $75 million of service in over a hundred years to the Catholic Church in the country, the OSV Institute has rethought its way of giving out grants and is now focusing on supporting innovative ministries that touch on what it designated as the three biggest needs of the Church in the U.S.: re-captivating millennials, Hispanic ministry and supporting parents.

“The board wanted to relook at the institute. We wanted first of all to continue to give out grants but be much more strategic in doing so, really focusing on what we’re calling an ‘impact agenda’: What are the top needs of the Church of today within the United States, and how do we address those needs?” said Jason Shanks, President of the OSV Institute. “We wanted to focus on much more measurable, outcome-driven information. We really think that the Catholic Church does a lot of things, but nobody knows if they actually work.”

The institute — already a big sponsor of FOCUS, Word on Fire and V Encuentro — does not only want to help creative Catholic ministries and organizations financially, it also has “Think Tank contributors,” or national experts who would help these ministries “from a thought leadership standpoint.”

“The institute overall is becoming much more like an innovative playground, if you will, for the Catholic Church to really figure out what works and to be able to scale it on a national level to multiple dioceses, parishes and different groups,” Shanks said.

What does it take to qualify for a grant?

The organization must be a non-profit officially recognized in the Catholic Church and be listed in the official Catholic directory. This includes parishes, dioceses, and also approved apostolates or groups that are just growing, etc. The ministry must also be directed to at least one of the three “impact areas”: re-captivating millennials, Hispanic experience or supporting parents.

“What we’re looking for is innovation, creativity and people who can pilot and measure [the impact of their ministry],” Shanks explained. “Maybe there’s something really great happening in Denver that we can point to and say, ‘We’ve got data, we’ve tracked this, it’s working,’” Shanks pointed out. “We think a lot of the things that are being done and tried in the Church today are, in some regards, failing.

“So, we’re looking for organizations that want to have impact, to measure impact, and that can be creative and innovative enough to do things that are outside the box. That’s really going to move the needle. We’re looking for new ideas.”

Application deadlines:

Supporting Parents: Due April 15

Re-captivating Millennials: Due Sep. 15

Hispanic Experience: Due Dec. 15

Visit osvinstitute.com for more information.

COMING UP: Adopt-a-Student program changes family’s life

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When Colin and Maria Coleman moved to the United States, they were certain of one thing.

“We really wanted our child to attend a Catholic school,” said Maria, “but found the cost of tuition beyond our financial means.”

When the family heard about the Seeds of Hope Adopt-a-Student program through St. Catherine of Siena Parish, they decided to apply for their son Justin.

“As practicing Catholics, we see it as vital to pass on a Christ-centered education to our children,” said Colin.

The Colemans put their Catholic faith at the forefront of their lives. Maria is a teacher and Colin is a deacon, both at St. Catherine of Siena. Justin is a sixth grader at the parish school.

“The scholarship is of great importance because, as a missionary family, we work on a very tight budget,” said Colin.

Justin was accepted into the Adopt-a-Student program, which pairs a scholarship donor with a student who, with the financial help, is able to attend Catholic school.

“I feel happy to know someone cares about me and my education,” said Justin.

Through the program, Justin has been able to meet his sponsor and he keeps in touch by sending cards during Christmas and Easter.

The generosity of a donor isn’t lost on students like Justin, who are eager to grow in faith and virtue at the school they love.

“Going to St. Catherine’s has helped my faith life because I get to attend Mass twice a week, sometimes the [priests] have come into class to teach us about God, [and] my teachers also share their faith with me,” said Justin.

Justin is grateful for the faith-filled experiences he’s had, including reenacting the Stations of the Cross and reading the Gospel at school Masses.

“All of these are things I would only have experienced at a Catholic school,” he said.

Colin and Maria are grateful for how welcomed they’ve felt at St. Catherine since moving to the United States.

“It has been and continues to be such a privilege to be so connected to St. Catherine’s,” said Maria. “Our extended family is all in New Zealand, so St. Catherine’s is really a big part of our USA family, as well as the Community of the Beatitudes that we are members of.”

Justin’s scholarship is another key reason for their gratitude.

“We are tremendously grateful to our donor who provides Justin’s scholarship,” said Maria. “We keep Justin’s donor in our prayers and give thanks to God for his wonderful providence.”

Colin agreed.

“I think it is a great witness that someone has taken a personal interest to help in a child’s education,” he said.