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Like other nonprofits across Metro Detroit, Gianna House relies on donations to survive and serve the community.

The Eastpointe-based group housed in a former convent works to help pregnant women, and this month is slated to open a residence for teens. To help with utilities as incoming residents arrive in winter, the nonprofit sought a grant through the Catholic Foundation of Michigan.

“Without being able to get grant assistance, you depend on fundraising, which can be really difficult," said Jennifer Brubaker, Gianna House executive director. "Getting support from an organization is a huge relief for us.”

The Catholic Foundation of Michigan is set to award $88,500 in grants to more than 20 regional parishes, schools and community nonprofits, including Gianna House, during a ceremony Tuesday that will include Archbishop Allen Vigneron at the Detroit Athletic Club.

It is the first community grant distribution from the group, which was founded in 2017 and helps donors meet the long-term needs of southeast Michigan Catholic parishes, schools, ministries and nonprofits.

The application process launched earlier this year. Out of about 60 applications, awardees were selected based on how their efforts addressed community needs within three focus areas: social outreach, education/formation and parish life, said Angela Moloney, the foundation’s president and CEO.

The first winners in what is expected to be an annual competitive initiative include: 

•Training and a children’s program at the Cathedral Choir Academy of Detroit

•Spanish-language educational and leadership classes at La Casa Guadalupana on the city’s southwest side

•A nutrition program at the city's Pope Francis Center 

•The “Revive” faith enrichment effort at Holy Redeemer Parish

Recipients demonstrated a commitment to expanding their work in the community while upholding Catholic values, Moloney said. “You need to be innovative and creative and think of unique opportunities because the world is shifting.” 

Among the grant winners is Christ the King Service Corps, a faith-based community of full-time volunteers connected to a Catholic church with the same name in Detroit. Participants commit to working in community-based service roles for at least one year and are provided housing, food, medical insurance and a small monthly stipend.

The $5,000 grant the corps received “goes toward our all overall mission, which is to provide those volunteers at a low cost to agencies,” board president Terry George said. “Our whole mission is to help agencies expand their capacity to do things they couldn’t otherwise do by bringing these energetic young professionals.”

One of those members is Katie Little, an East Coast native who joined after graduating from her master’s degree program earlier this year and now works as an assistant manager at the St. Suzanne Cody Rouge Community Resource Center in Detroit.

Committing to the service corps has been illuminating, she said. “Having that sense of community, not only at home with the members, but also at work, is incredible.”

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