Meet Our Grantees
Christ Our Hope Catholic Church
According to Rev. John Paul Ezeonyido, pastor of Christ Our Hope Catholic Church, youth needs are especially keen in Lithonia. Many children and teens in the area find themselves home alone for many hours each day while their parents work. It’s even worse over the summer and during school breaks. These children need to be engaged and cared for in a way that is consistent with our Catholic faith. Recognizing this problem, Christ Our Hope decided to step in. Their volunteers created a safe place where children and teens from the community could gather after school, on weekends, and during summer holidays. There kids are given opportunities to learn, grow, and have fun, all while being nourished by the Catholic faith. Middle school and high school students are the most at risk, but also the most difficult to engage. What makes this program unique is the leadership development opportunities and other classes offered – already successfully drawing in this usually reticent group. To help implement this ambitious program, Christ Our Hope applied for a grant from The Catholic Foundation of North Georgia. In the grant application, Father John Paul explained that the purpose of the request was “to support year-round mentoring, SAT prep classes, spring break activities, vacation Bible school, and leadership and talent development…for children and youth at our parish.” The goal of the program is to increase positive outcomes for youth in Christ Our Hope parish and the community at large “in the areas of character, relationships, academics, and service to others.” In the past two years, Christ Our Hope Catholic Church has received $6,500 in grant awards from The Catholic Foundation to benefit this program. This funding was made possible by the Goizueta Fund at The Catholic Foundation. Thanks to the support of our generous donors, approximately 80 children and teens in the Lithonia area now benefit from this program.
LifeSpan Day Club
A grant from The Catholic Foundation will help support LifeSpan Resources’ Day Club, a program that provides adults in need of mental and emotional support an out-of-the-home environment. Day Club members socialize and perform social, creative, intellectual, self-awareness and recreational activities. The activities enhance each member’s self respect, increase necessary social interaction, and provide mental stimulation. In addition to these onsite activities, Day Club provides caregivers with a greatly needed respite from the constant demands of looking after someone with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. In the past two years, Day Club has gone from being open part-time two days a week to being open full-time four days a week. “I want everyone to know how important you have been for my wife. I don’t know what we would have done without you. One constant is her enthusiasm for Day Club,” says a spouse. The funding provided by The Catholic Foundation will be used to expand programming and update the facility accommodations. “It’s a chance to get together with friends and share – laughing and having fun – something I wouldn’t have without Day Club, ” says a Day Club member.
Interfaith Outreach Home
“The important work we do is to provide stability for our families to be families. A stable home is what makes the difference.”
– DEBORAH WALKER-LITTLE
“Jackie and her two girls, aged 13 and 6, had slept on the floor, at the homes of family members, and at Jackie’s co-workers before coming to IOH,” recalls Deborah Walker-Little, executive director of Interfaith Outreach Home (IOH) in Doraville. Jackie herself describes what IOH did for her in her different words: “The other day, I was at home cooking dinner. Becky was doing her homework at the kitchen table, while Amy was at basketball practice at school,” she said. “I used to watch television shows with families like this – I always thought it was for somebody else. There were no extras, no way my kids could do school activities because I could not pick them up. Now, this would never have been possible without IOH and the car that you provided for me.” Backed by The Catholic Foundation, IOH provides transitional housing for families struggling to stay together while regaining self-sufficiency and economic independence, all without government support. Not only is Jackie now able to provide opportunities for her children, but she has also saved $12,000 towards buying her own house. In the 2013-2014 fiscal year, The Catholic Foundation of North Georgia supported 10 organizations that directly serve the homeless and assisted several other organizations that work to prevent homelessness. Our grants provided emergency shelter, permanent housing, and supportive services to homeless men, women, and children, persons with mental health issues, AIDs, unemployment, and low job skills. “It has been said that the Catholic Church is the largest charitable organization in the world,” said Nancy Coveny, executive director of The Catholic Foundation. “We are known for reaching out to serve the “least” of the Lord’s people with the gifts we have been given. I am happy to report that throughout our Archdiocese, individual parishioners serve in nonprofits with their neighbors, doing their best to brighten the many faces of the homeless in our communities. “Our only regret is that we do not have more to give to these organizations, which are serving the Lord’s people on our behalf,” she said. Jackie was about to graduate from Interfaith Outreach Home when she told Ms. Walker-Little, “I’m just so grateful for this space.”
St. Oliver Plunkett Catholic Church
St. Oliver Plunkett received a $2,500 grant from the Catholic Foundation to help teens in their parish experience the World Youth Rally together last Saturday here in Atlanta.
Over 300 teens, their chaperones, and 80 volunteers from St. Oliver’s helped make this event a wonderful experience for these teenagers. The event was filled with spirituality, praise and worship, service projects, reconciliation, inspiring talks, a dynamic keynote speaker, adoration, Mass and lots of fellowship. Bishop Ned Schlesinger joined the parish for adoration and reflection.
St. Mary, Mother of God Church in Jackson, GA
St. Mary, Mother of God Church in Jackson was awarded a grant of $3,500 in the Fall 2016 grant cycle to purchase and install a beautiful, new altar for their sanctuary. Church Administrator Fr. Jose Kochuparampil said, “As a community centered on the Eucharist, it is the felt need of the parish that we have a beautiful altar around which as members of one faith family we gather.”
The altar – which was created by a parishioner – was finally and joyfully dedicated on December 16, 2018 with Bishop Joel Konzen and Fr. Jose officiating, assisted by Deacon John McManus. The altar will be a wonderful addition to the sacred space enjoyed by the over 300 families who worship at the “powerhouse parish” of St. Mary’s. One interesting feature of the altar is that it lights up to reflect the colors of the church season.
Hospice House Foundation of WNC
This organization is raising funds to build a hospice inpatient facility for northeast Georgia and North Carolina. Roughly 25% of this area’s population is 65 or older (over 50,000 individuals), yet the closest hospice houses are over an hour’s drive for most people.
This new hospice inpatient facility will serve an estimated 200 hospice patients each year. The Catholic Foundation made a $2,000 grant to this non-profit in support of the furniture, fixtures and equipment for the house which are essential to carry out the core operation of the facility.
President Michele Alderson expressed her deepest gratitude for the support received from the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia, as well as for donations and efforts received from others. “It will be through this collective philanthropic response that the people of our rural mountain region will have easier access to quality end-of-life inpatient care, and their loved ones will receive the support they need to maintain a sense of well-being during a time of uncertainty and emotional stress.”
Charles Calder Cattanch, Jr.
Dedicated to preventing abortions, Charles Cattanach started Life Images, a mobile ultrasound ministry, in 2003. In the next dozen years, Mr. Cattanach performed more than 10,000 free ultrasounds for pregnant women who visited 13 crisis pregnancy centers in North Georgia. After seeing the image of their unborn child on Mr. Cattanach’s ultrasound machine, many women made the choice to carry the child to term.
In 2010, the Catholic Foundation was pleased to award a grant to Life Images, which allowed Mr. Cattanach to upgrade his ultrasound machine and also to offset some of his operational costs.
Charles Cattanach was a member of Our Lady of the Mountains parish. He was active in the Knights of Columbus, Legion of Mary, and a past President of the Parish Council.