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 2017

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. AMOS advocated for the City of Ames to purchase a parcel of land designated for affordable housing for low-moderate income Ames residents.  AMOS is also working to bring a job training intermediary to Ames, called Project Iowa.  In addition AMOS leaders, including two STA parishioners, are also working to support immigrants, as well as working on issues related to people with mental illness by advocating with medical clinics to provide continuation of pharmaceutical therapy when needed between psychiatric appointments.  AMOS also worked with the Iowa Catholic Conference to forward legislation to fund mental health services in Iowa.

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.

Challenging Heights (CH)

Challenging Heights promotes youth and family empowerment and children’s rights to education and freedom from forced labor in Ghana.  The organization is working to strengthen its focus and has created a new strategic plan.  In doing so, they’ve continued to rescue, rehabilitate and reintegrate survivors of modern slavery, create economic empowerment opportunities for women and youth, stand up for children’s rights for education and conduct a number of campaigns to raise awareness of children’s rights.

Proceeds of this grant will go to support the educational needs of 75 children at its rehabilitation center.  The grant will provide textbooks, worksheets, pencils, and other educational materials as these children are encouraged to use their educational opportunities to become leaders who lead with love and compassion, and forge a happy future for themselves, their families and their communities.

El Bolcon Community, San Isidoro, Nicaragua (EBC)

El Bolcon is a small, impoverished community near the city of San Isidro, Nicaragua.  They have been working together for two years to build a church to serve their small community.  Currently, the community does not have a church of their own.  To attend Mass or even to have a sacred space to pray, the community has to walk nearly 45 minutes to the nearest church.

The church would provide a space for the people of El Bolcon to bring glory to God.  The church that they are building would allow them to gather in a common space and would strengthen the community.  It would be place where Jesus Christ can be shared in community and in Mass.  With time, the church would provide many services to the people of El Bolcon, who would in turn be able to reach out to the community to share the light of Christ.

Proceeds of this grant will go directly toward the construction of the church, with purchases of mud, bricks, concrete, iron rods and roofing materials.  Funds will also be used to employ Nicaraguans to help the one construction worker currently employed.

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 to those experiencing homelessness.  ERP has a men’s shelter and a women’s/family shelter, and also has a transitional housing program for families and homeless prevention services, including rent/utility assistance.

This aid will be used in making updates to the shelter that are desperately needed to successfully continue daily operations and create a more welcoming, comfortable environment for our guests.  The renovations to the man shelter will include repainting the bedrooms and offices, refinishing bedroom floors, replacing the carpet on the main level office areas, replacing the shelter beds and renovating the upstairs bathroom     In the 2015/16 fiscal year, ERP served 2,029 individuals, with 301 of these guests staying in the main shelter.

STA Parishioners serve on the ERP board of directors, while ISU students and resident parishioners take an active role in Friday meal preparation as well as activities for the children residing in transitional housing.

Food at First (F@F)

Food at First provides seven meals per week for the hungry in our community.  During the past year 24,497 meals were served, and this year, attendance indicates there is a steady increase in participants.  “Gleaned” food is used to prepare the meals, and leftovers are sent home with guests.  Food that would be otherwise thrown away by local grocers/restaurants is utilized for the meals program and also given away to our guests. 

Food at First also maintains a perishable food pantry known as ‘Free Market.”  Food (mostly produce, bakery and dairy products) is distributed at no cost three times a week.  The Free Market averaged 1,416 shoppers (families) per month.  This totals to 5,664 people served per month for 12 months, for a grand total of 67,968 persons served.  The Free Market plus the meal program served 91,465 people in a year.   On Thanksgiving and Christmas Days, a community meal is open to all who want to attend.  In 2016, 600 people participated in a Thanksgiving meal, and on Christmas Day over 500 were served.  Several of our STA parishioners are active in meal preparation, gleaning food from ISU and several Ames businesses, as well as helping at the market.

Friendship Ark Homes (FAH)

Friendship Ark Homes was founded in 1999 by parishioners Joe and Lois Johanns, with the intent of providing faith-based homes for adults with intellectual disabilities. To date, four homes are operational in the Ames area, and a groundbreaking for a fifth home has taken place.  With a 2014 ruling released by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services regarding legislation called the “Final Rule,” Friendship Ark has provided a DayHab program which mandates that programs for adults with intellectual disabilities must move toward community integration, rather than the enclosed workshops previously offered.

Currently, 34 of our clients attend our DayHab program.  Some activities are free, while others are not.  Some of our clients have money to pay for these activities, and some do not.  This grant will fund those who cannot afford these activities, and will fill the gap between what is available and what is needed.  STA members support Friendship Ark through volunteer hours, fund-raising, and serving on the board.

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

Fr. Lange began his work in Tanzenia nearly 60 years ago.  He has been a missionary in Africa for most of this time, and will use the proceeds of this grant to provide ongoing faith and physical support for people in need, assisting with food, healthcare, and education, which is not free in Kenya/Tanzania.  This past year, Fr. Lange has assisted thousands of people survive Tanzania’s worst drought in history.  A long-time friend of Bill and Karen Bergan, Fr. Lange is a Maryknoll Father whose order has served as missionaries worldwide for over 100 years.  He visited the Bergan’s and STA in July 2016. 

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

The hospital provides integrated health, developmental activities.  In doing so, curative services to include inpatient and outpatient activity are included, as well as preventative health services to include maternal and child health, women’s promotion and safe water development.  Activities are carried out in collaboration with the village elders, community extension workers and community health agents.

The proceeds of this grant will be used to cover the cost of 57 women, who are identified as high risk mothers to come from their remote villages, two months prior to delivery, so that when they go into labor they are already at the hospital.  This will be a free care and delivery as required by the present policy of the Ethiopian Health Service, who though they mandate the free service, do not provide any funding for this.

Former STA parishioner, Sr. Elaine Kohls, a Medical Missionary Sister who served at Attat, studied at Iowa State, and is now retired from hospital work in Ethiopia, and continues her friendship with several STA parishioners.  Without donations, it would be very difficult to continue and support this program and reduce the risk of high risk deliveries.

Mid-Iowa Community Action, Inc./Story County Dental Clinic (SCDC)

The SCDC provides affordable, high-quality dental services to low-income Iowans.  The clinic serves uninsured patients earning less than 200% of federal poverty guidelines (up to $49,200 for a family of four) and those enrolled in income-based insurance programs including Medicaid, Dental Wellness Plan and Hawk-I.  Unfortunately, it is expensive to receive care if uninsured, and it is difficult to access dental care if insured by Medicaid.  Sound oral health has profound effects on overall health and well-being and prevents more costly, long-term problems from developing.  Several STA parishioners serve as volunteers at MICA.

Save the Next Generations, Aweil, Northern Baher South Sudan (SNG)

Save the Next Generations is a new organization located in Aweil, Northern Baher, South Sudan, which serves 80-120 orphan and vulnerable children.  The organization provides immediate needs and other timely needs such as shelter, food, medications and clothing.  The organization also provides elementary education with a focus on empowering and protecting women and girls, by training them in self-reliance skills.

The hope is that fewer children will be living on the streets facing abuse, hunger and even repetitive rape.  Their efforts are focused on saving an entire generation of orphans and vulnerable children, and to model this organization by establishing more orphanages in other Sudanese states in the future.  Helping these children now is far better than ministering to them later, if they do not receive this type of assistance.

2017 Grants:

see left for descriptions of these organizations.

AMOS $3,000

AEH $500

CH $2,100

EBC $2,000

ERP $3,000

F@F $3,000

FAH $2,000

FRJL $1,500

ATTAT $2,000

SCDC $2,500

SNG $1,500