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.”
Supporting Parents: Due April 15
Re-captivating Millennials: Due Sep. 15
Hispanic Experience: Due Dec. 15
Visit osvinstitute.com for more information.