Social Justice Grants

Social Justice Grants, formerly known as "Community Outreach Tithe," are awarded to local, national, and international agencies which promote the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, particularly by promoting peace and alleviating poverty and human suffering.  The money is tithed by the parish comprising up to 3.5% of our weekly collections from envelopes, loose change, and direct deposits, as well as occasional designated donations.  Award recipients are selected by the social justice committee based on parish members' applications.  Beginning in 2014,  these awards are granted annually. A minimum of 50% of the fund remain in Story County/Ames while up to 50% assist nationally and internationally.

Click here to download the grant application.

Click here to download the grant guidelines.

Social Justice Grant Recipients 2016

A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy (AMOS)

AMOS is a grassroots effort to identify and solve issues which impact the poor and disenfranchised.  Of the over 30 member organizations which pay dues, ten are located in Ames and work to advocate for change in Ames and Story County. In 2016, advocacy in Ames include encouraging the city to increase affordable housing stock for low-moderate income Ames residents, a conference to build partnerships to begin a Story County Housing Trust Fund, advocacy on behalf of the residents of the Crestview mobile home park, as well as advocacy around mental health, transportation for workers, environmental justice and more. Several STA parishioners are active in AMOS-related activities.

Ames Ecumenical Housing, Inc. (AEH)

AEH is a church-sponsored non-profit group cooperating with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide affordable housing to seniors and persons with mobility impairment.  STA is among its founding member institutions.  AEH owns two residences:  Keystone, with 65 units, and Stonehaven, with 56 units.  The grant will be used to aid residents with temporary financial assistance and to enhance the environment/activities of residents. STA member Joan Grabenstetter sits on the board of directors.

Angel House (AH)

As parish members Colin and Kimberly Hurd honor the memory of their son, Kolbe Scott, this grant from the parish helps share in their commitment to building an Angel House orphanage that provides shelter, education and safety for up to twelve parentless children in India.

Catholic Charities, Dubuque (CCDBQ)

Catholic Charities provides a wide array of services to the communities of northeast and central Iowa. This particular grant supports a network of volunteer mentors and support groups who provide jail and prison ministry with current and former inmates. It also helps support ex-offenders as they work to reintegrate into families, neighborhoods and jobs.

Catholic Diocese of Soroti, Uganda (CDSU)

The diocese hosts a youth conference every year in December. This grant willbe used to supply literature and teaching materials for the 12,000 attendees, and shade and shelter for participants. The connection to the diocese grows out of the relationships build by parishioner Tim Mooney, who leads Ames high students, through Global Builders, to Uganda every summer.

Challenging Heights (CH)

This non-profit, based in Ghana, exists to assist children rescued from many forms of slavery and trafficking through its four initiatives; education, rescue and recovery, livelihood and advocacy. They provide loving supervision, beds, educational support, and build community resistance to child labor and trafficking. A previous grant partially funded a library for the community. This grant will assist in providing access to the library and associated educational opportunities to a growing number of people in the local community as well as surrounding communities.

Emergency Residence Project (ERP)

Members of STA, with the support of the parish, were instrumental in partnering with other local faith communities to begin the Emergency Residence Project, which grew out of the Loaves and Fishes Catholic Worker House. The ERP provides emergency shelter for men and families, transitional housing for up to six families at a time, and homeless prevention assistance for Story County residents in need.  Parishioners Dan Douglas and Shari Reilly serve on the board of directors, while student and resident parishioners take an active role in Friday meal preparation as well as activities for the children residing in transitional housing.

Emerging Opportunities for Sustainability (EOS)

Begun by a group of engineers after graduating from ISU, EOS serves as a non-profit promoting appropriate sustainable technologies such as drip irrigation, fuel-efficient barrel ovens, and water chlorination systems in Latin America.  Two of the young men were very active at STA during their undergraduate careers, and continue to work with ISU and STA to involve students in their projects.  The 2016 grant supports ongoing efforts to provide green technologies that help lift people out of poverty.

Food at First (F@F)

Providing seven meals per week for the hungry in the community, Food at First serves an average of over 1900 meals per month.  They also maintain a free market where people can come as many as three times a week to receive donated food.  A vast number of STA parishioners are active in meal preparation, gleaning food from ISU and several Ames businesses, and helping at the market.

Habitat for Humanity Warehouse (HFHW)

Habitat for Humanity accepts and resells donated building supplies and household items. The money from these sales is used to support building pr refurbishing Habitat houses in Story County. This grant will help provide a forklift for the warehouse, making the work more effective and efficient.

Maryknoll Missionaries, Mission Account of Fr. John Lange (FRJL)

Fr. Lange, a long-time friend of parishioners Bill and Karen Bergan, has been a missionary in Africa for most of his career.  For over 30 years he labored in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, supporting the spiritual well-being, education and health care of the people with whom he worked.  In 2014, Fr. Lange stepped back from the intensity of his ministry in Kenya in favor of a slower-paced but no less impoverished community in Tanzania. Fr. Lange visited Ames and STA in August of 2014.

Medical Mission Sisters; Attat Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Primary Hospital, Attat, Ethiopia (ATTAT)

Sr. Elaine Kohls, a Medical Missionary Sister, studied at Iowa State over 30 years ago.  During that time, she formed many friendships with STA parishioners. In keeping with many previous grants, the 2016 grant will provide assistance to high risk pregnant mothers who come 1-2 months before their delivery date to stay at Attat's Maternity Waiting Area. Sr. Elaine visited STA in June 2014 to personally thank the many who have supported her work for the last 30 years.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish, Williamsburg, KY (OLPH)

The parish, with whom members of STA have had a relationship for over 30 years, is the site to which we send a spring break service trip every year. The grant, applied for by a student leader, will provide cash assistance to support the food pantry and transportation for medical care. These services are not provided by any other agency to the impoverished people in and around Williamsburg.

Primary Health Care Clinic - Farm to Clinic program (PHCC)

Primary Health is relatively new to Ames, and serves the uninsured and under-insured population of Story County. Their first clinic director was parishioner and 2014 ISU graduate, Annette White.  With this grant, the clinic can continue to build it's farm to clinic program, through which the Mustard Seed Community Farm and Catholic Worker provides boxes of vegetables weekly to the clinic during the growing season, and the clinic in turn provides them to low income pregant women, new mothers, people with AIDS and diabetes, along with education about health, nutrition and food preparation.

Saints Cecilia Parish, Ames (STC)

Saint Cecilia parish is providing rent payments for a young refugee from Cameroon. Until this man is able to get his permanent resident status, he is prevented from working legally in the US. He is living extremely frugally and looks forward to the day he can work and earn his own way as a new resident of our country. Our grant provided two months rent.

Saints Peter and Paul Parish, Gilbert (SSPP)

This aid will be used for the expansion of the church, which provides a spiritual home for a rapidly growning number of families in north and western Story County. Many of these families are young, working families who are unable to afford to live in Ames, but work in the Ames community.

Story County Dental Clinic (SCDC)

The clinic, housed in the Mid-Iowa Community Action Medical building on South 16th Street, provides comprehensive dental care for uninsured individuals as well as those covered by Medicaid, Dental Wellness Plan, or Healthy and Well Kids in Iowa (hawk-i) insurance.  Grants are used to cover the gap between client payment and the cost of services.  Clients are charged a discounted rate based upon services to be provided.  Good dental hygeine is important for long term health, and prevents more costly, long-term problems from developing.  Several STA parishioners serve as volunteers at MICA.

Students Helping Our Peers (SHOP)

SHOP is a student-run, on-campus food pantry that provides food and personal care items for ISU students, who, in most cases, are ineligible for assistance at many of the social service agencies and churches in Ames and Story County. This grant will provide cash to purchase items that are not donated as frequently but are in high demand.

Previous Recipients

Friendship Ark Homes

Friendship Ark Homes was started by parish member Joe Johanns and his wife Lois (deceased).  Currently there are four homes serving adults with intellectual disabilities.  STA members support Friendship Ark through volunteer hours, fund-raising, and serving on the board.

Habitat for Humanity of Central Iowa

Habitat, in cooperation with qualifying partner families, uses volunteer labor to build houses which are sold to these families  for cost, and with low and no-interest loans.  Over 40 homes have been built over the last several years in central Iowa, the most recent being in Nevada and Huxley.  The 2014 project is renovation of a duplex on Duff Avenue.  The improvements will be made to create two homes for two persons with disabilities.  People at STA have provided meals, prayers, money, labor, and committee membership for this organization.

Home For Awhile

Getting affordable housing is very difficult for families who, for whatever reason, have lost their homes in Ames.  Home for Awhile provides short-term transitional housing of up to three months, to allow families to marshall their resources to get back into an apartment or other home.  The program also provides mentors who work with the adults to help them better learn to balance budgets, obtain and keep jobs, connect with faith communities, build communities of support around themselves and their families and much more.  The program was started by five pastoral leaders in Ames (including STA) to meet a need not served by any other organization.  It continues to be an ecumenical project run completely by volunteers.

Story County Community Housing Corporation

Story County Community Housing Corporation (SCCHC) - A Community Land Trust - is a county-wide, community-based, non-profit corporation working to create and maintain affordable rental and family-owned housing. They are currently building a 4-plex at the corner of South Kellogg and 3rd Street.  This grant will help them complete this project, which will house 4 families with rents lower than the average market rate for units of comparable size, allowing low-income families who work in Ames to live in Ames.  STA parishioners are active on the board of SCCHC and volunteer frequently on their projects.

Mazatlan Charities--Familia, Mexico

This charity, begun by the parents of parishioner Clare Bills, provides meals, basic education and job training to impoverished children. The aid will assist in the general operations of the organization.

Medical Mission Sisters; St. Luke Catholic Hospital and College of Nursing and Midwifery, Wolisso, Ethiopia

Sr. Elaine Kohls, a Medical Missionary Sister, studied at Iowa State 30 years ago.  During that time, she formed many friendships with STA parishioners.  Since then, STA has supported her work at the hospital with frequent grants.  Projects have included potable water projects, clinics for pregnant mothers, nutrition programs, nurse training and much more.  The 2014 grant is for the Therapeutic Feeding Unit at the hospital, providing care for children and education for parents. Sr. Elaine visited STA in June 2014 to personally thank the many who have supported her work for the last 30 years.

Youth and Shelter Services

YSS provides shelter, education and advocacy for children and young people in their teens and early twenties as they work to overcome barriers and challenges to healthy, productive lives. This grant helped provide funding to build a secure storage facility in the Rosedale shelter for medications, sharp tools and other items that could present a danger to vulnerable residents.

Hogar de San Jose, Nicaragua

The hogar provides shelter for children who are unable to live with family members and need nutrition and education support. This grant supported building materials used by a local group who traveled to Nicaragua to do building and repair projects while providing love and education to the residents.

2016 Grants:

see left for descriptions of these organizations.

AMOS $2,500

AEH $500

AH $2,500

CCDBQ $500

CDSU $700

CH $1,000

ERP $2,350

EOS $1,500

F@F $2,500

HFHW $500

FRJL $1,000

ATTAT $2,000

OLPH $1,500

PHCC $750

STC $1,000

SSPP $1,000

SCDC $2,350

SHOP $500