Social Justice Grants

Social Justice Grants

Social Justice Grants 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 2.5% of our weekly collections from envelopes, loose change, and direct deposits, as well as occasional designated donations.  Award recipients are selected by the STA Social Justice Committee based on parish members' applications.  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 2019

A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy (AMOS)

AMOS organizes research action teams to find concrete, specific, and winnable solutions to the problems plaguing families in central Iowa.  The problems have involved health care and mental health, affordable housing, juvenile justice reform, workforce development, infrastructure improvements and immigration.  These issues grow out of a bottom up, grassroots process of listening and telling our stories.  Over its 20-year history, AMOS has amassed a track record of finding solutions to otherwise divisive, complex public problems through an intensive, win-win, non-partisan approach to politics.  The grant will be used to pay for training for AMOS leaders (the people participating from member organizations), to arrange events and actions, and support the lead organizer.  Much of the effort of AMOS is expended on developing leadership skills that allow people to tackle public problems effectively.  A saying in AMOS and other affiliates of the Industrial Areas Foundation is “Power comes in two forms:  organized money and organized people.”  This grant will help with the latter.

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 for the designated gift fund, supported by affiliated churches, which assists residents with temporary financial needs for rent, food, or medicine.  It will also be used for community building activities for residents and supplies for gardens at the residences. This program is also supported by STA and 14 other churches since its inception in 1984.

Ames Public Library (APL)

INSPIRE is a volunteer-based, one-on-one program that is offered through the Ames Public library for students in third grade and up, who struggle with reading and spelling.  The program utilizes the Barton Reading and Spelling System.  The funds from this grant will be used to purchase a site license for Level 9 of the Barton System.  The system has 10 levels, of which the APL has purchased the site licenses for Level 1-8 through other grants and donations.  APL will soon be out of materials to serve students who have already advanced through Levels 1-8.  This purchase will enable students to finish the program and reach their full potential.

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 hospital provides a Maternity Waiting Area (MWA) for high risk mothers.  As many mothers are located in this remote, rural area, the access to a delivery service can be difficult.  The mothers are advised to come and stay in the MWA before delivery so that when they go into labor, they are already at the hospital.  The service provides free care and delivery as required by the present policy of the Ethiopian Health Service, though they 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.

EOS International (EOS)

Emerging Opportunities for Sustainability (EOS) International is a non-profit organization that empowers rural families in Central America with access to clean water and opportunities to generate income through simple technology solutions and education.

The grant will fund ongoing water testing analysis to more than 800 rural Nicaraguan villages that EOS provides safe water access to on a continued basis, ensuring the systems already in place have 100% safe drinking water.  The funding will also work on testing water systems where there are currently no water chlorinator systems in place.  Funding will also serve to educate and empower communities to take ownership of their water systems and health. 

Engineers Without Borders, ISU Chapter (EWB)

Engineers Without Borders-Iowa State University (EWB-ISU) has designed a small-town water distribution system for the community of Ullo-Dantie in Ghana.  The 2,100-citzen community faces a shortage of water in the dry season (9months in a year), and 1,500 students and the village women each spend 4-5 hours a day collecting water.  This takes away from the students’ study time and prevents women from taking care of their household and earning income through work.  With a water distribution system in place, supplying the village with a consistent water supply, the community is better equipped to lift themselves out of poverty.  This STA grant will assist in the development and building of the water distribution system.

Excel, Inc. (EI)

Excel responds to local community needs in Okolona, Mississippi on programs such as After School and Summer learning for children, Adult Basic Education, Parenting programs, Health and Socialization programs for Senior Citizens, a resale store to provide economical items for people in need, a variety of support groups such as Care for Caregivers, and a Sewing Club for adults, to name just a few. 

The grant will be used it initiate a new program called “Women Exchange” (WE).  The purpose of the project is to assist participants in developing strategies and tools for assessing both their inner resources and resources in the community.  It is based on the program Bridges Out of Poverty, and the participants will be women experiencing generational poverty.  It is anticipated that this project will be an intervention that will assist women in realizing their social capital.

Food at First (F@F)

Food at First provides seven meals per week for the hungry in our community.  During the past year 23,689 meals were served, and those number represent and increase per month 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.  Presently, between 100 and 140 families “shop” with no cost to them.  Total for shoppers in 2018 was 16,670 people, representing 42,223 households.  On Thanksgiving and Christmas Days, a community meal is open to all who want to attend.  In 2017, 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.  STA aid this year will contribute to the monthly rental, and be used to maintain a  F@ F dishwasher, freezers refrigerators and stoves.

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.  Last year, in response to state regulations asking that persons with intellectual disabilities be integrated into the community, Friendship Ark began to offer supported community living and day habilitation for persons not living in our residences.  Also last year, after rigorous scrutiny, and much staff effort, Friendship Ark was awarded 3-year certification (the highest possible) by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

The STA grant will be used to assist in the payment for activities for persons in the DayHab program who cannot afford special activities and field trips to places like Furman Aquatic Center, I-Cubs, Living History Farm, Reiman Gardens, Des Moines Zoo, Science Center, YMCA and Adventureland.

Habitat Store for Habitat for Humanity for Central Iowa (HS-HFH)

The Habitat Store in Ames was formed about six years ago.  Donations are refurbished, tested, and sold to the public, and profits are invested in Habitat for Humanity building projects.  Habitat supports “builds” in Hardin, Hamilton, and Story counties and then sells them to persons who qualify.  The purchasing family must work 400 hours during the construction of a home, and then pay monthly on a zero-interest mortgage loan.  Refurbished building supplies, hardware, and furniture are sold to the public.

The STA grant will be used to pay for approximately 1/3 of the expense for building materials to add on to an existing storage facility on the store property.  Adding on to the building will save rental expenses now paid for storage off site.

KinoSol (K)

KinoSol is driven by a social good program to help those lacking basic necessities in life.  KinoSol designed a small-scale solar-powered food dehydrator.  Their technology is helping families have more food, better nutrition and a better way of life.  In working to increase its impact in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, KinoSol has implemented injection molding and redesigned their current dehydrator to increase efficiency and reduce unit cost, which makes the unit more affordable to the end user, who are subsistence farmers in developing countries.  Through partnerships, KinoSol hopes to deliver 1,000 dehydrators to rural communities.  Training will also be provided to community members on use and the benefit of the technology. The hope is that as more dehydrators are implemented within the region, standard of living will rise, food waste will decrease, and the cycle of poverty can be broken on a larger scale.

Martha’s House of Hope (MHOH)

Martha’s House of Hope is a home for pregnant mothers and their babies.  Martha’s House of Hope provides shelter, life skills, and hope while helping to impart self-reliance, a sense of service and the realization of the mother’s God-given dignity.  MHOH offers a safe home and living assistance for pregnant women in need.  It will offer an immersive living experience with a staff that lives the Catholic faith.  They will accept women regardless of their faith or beliefs, in a home that openly presents spirituality.  The mission is to allow women to realize and embrace, their God-given dignity.

The STA Grant will be used to help with expenses of operating Martha’s Hose of Hope.  Specifically they will be used to cover the cost of rent for the home.

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

Fr. Lange began his work in Tanzania 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.  In the past three years, Tanzania has had its worst droughts ever. Fr. Lange has assisted thousands of people to survive.  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 2018. 

Mustard Seed Community Farm and Catholic Worker (MSCF)

The Mustard Seed Community Farm is dedicated to sustainable, simple living, love of neighbor, and creating a community in which everyone can participate in growing, sharing, and eating healthy food.  The farm is an all-volunteer community, with particular emphasis on education and sharing food.  They grow high quality, chemical-free, fresh produce that they give to the hungry of Story County.  Located northwest of Ames, the farm has a small community supported agriculture (CSA) which provides weekly shares of produce from May to October annually, and also grows food for area shelters and donation programs.  This summer, the farm will celebrate 11 years of growing and sharing food on its current plot of land.

Due to severe storms and older shingling, two of the work buildings on the farm need re-roofing and one needs the roof rebuilt.  These buildings are essential to the work of the farm—used for processing, packing and curing vegetables, and storing of equipment.  Grant funds will be used to get the building fixed this year before the weather causes further damage.

Saint Paul Parish, Kibi, Ghana (SPP)

St. Paul Parish and its Pastor, Fr, Charles Ahenkorah, provide a full range of services and activities to the 500 parishioners, including some 150 adults in the main church.  STA grant funds would be used to support top priority projects, including vestments and liturgical vessels, support to the old church in town (built in the 1930’s), and items needed for the rectory.  Fr. Charles has also indicated a need for Bibles, but has not made a direct appeal for assistance.  He has, however, shared the many needs of his new parish.  Without this support, the needed repairs and improvements will likely take several more years to complete.

Shanti Ashram (SA)

Shanti Ashram is a center for development, learning and collaboration founded in Coimbatore, India in 1986.  The Ashram serves as a catalyst to empower rural communities.  Shanti Ashram leads multiple efforts in the areas of local community health (especially women’s and children’s health), education. And empowerment.  The empowerment effort is one of Shanti Ashram’s most impactful programs because it focuses on poverty alleviation and enduring food security at the family level by enabling and training rural women entrepreneurs.

STA grant funds will be used to increase food safety and alleviate poverty in the rural villages served by Shanti Ashram by training women in the villages to develop small food-based businesses or enterprises.  Funds will also be used to provide on-going training (in basic hygiene, technology, accounting and organizational skills) for women entrepreneurs who remain highly vulnerable despite this modest success.  In addition to the training, Shanti Ashram will continue providing and nutritional counseling and comprehensive health check-ups for approximately half of the current women entrepreneurs, including follow-up care and counseling.

United Christians International-Haiti (UCIH)

The UCI Haiti campus is located in a rural area about 70 miles north of Port-au-Prince on the Haitian Central Plateau.  UCI-Haiti operates a 600-student grade school, a 500-student university, a Christian mission and seminary, a medical center, a nutrition center, and agricultural training center, and a farm for food production and income.  They employ over 150 Hatians.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.  Sixty percent of Haitians live on less than $2 per day.  Thirty percent are food insecure.  Half lack clean water.  Half have not gone to school, and half of Haiti’s food is imported.

The grant will be used to purchase an electronic grain moisture meter rand grain sampling probe.  The devices will enable UCI-Haiti to increase corn production from about 50 to 2000 bushels per year.  The tools will be used as part of a system to preserves harvested corn after drying on the ground and shelling.



2019 Grants:

see left for descriptions of these organizations.

AMOS $2,000

AEH $500

APL $500

ATTAT $2,500

EOS $2,000

EWB $1,000

EI $1,000

F@F $3,000

FAH $1,500

HS-HFH $1,500

K $1,000

FRJL $1,000

MHOH $1,200

MSF $2,000

SPP $1,500

SA $1,000

UCIH $550

TOTAL $24,750