Like the rest of the nation, the Sisters of Saint Francis of Dubuque received stimulus funds from the government. Immediately the sisters decided that they would use the $1,200 each sister received to set up grants to support people who needed help quickly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When a crisis unfolds, the Dubuque Franciscan Sisters want to help,” said Sister Kathy Knipper, president of the congregation. “The Finance Office informed the Leadership Team that each sister would receive an Economic Input Payment for each member of the congregation and we thought we could use those funds to care for those who were in need due to the pandemic.”
The sisters created a very simple grant application and an ad hoc committee met to consider applications. All grant requests had to be initiated by a sister and organizations had to have a history of collaborating with other groups/entities. The funds were used to address immediate needs around food, health, and safety related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The money was distributed within days of approval. Forty-five non-profit organizations in Iowa, Mississippi, Texas, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and Honduras received anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 each, for a total of $200,000.
“These grants helped give expression to the living out of the congregation’s constitutional commitments to bear witness to God’s extravagant love, to respond to the needs of the times, and to further the reign of God in human life and social structures,” said Leadership Team member Sister Maureen Leach, OSF, quoting the congregation’s constitution.
Photo caption: Dubuque Franciscan Associate Doris Menjivar (right) helps deliver food to a family in Gracias, Lempira, Honduras.