If you are even a casual reader of this blog, then you know I have not made an entry for several months or more. I guess I have been a bit too focused upon the harsh realities created by the facilitation of a nonprofit when it is experiencing significant income deficit.
Our Center certainly seems to continue to be respected and revered by many in the local area. Our Facebook page gains followers daily (more than 2775 and counting – which is huge for our area), and we were recently named as the “Nonprofit/ Service Organization of the Year” by the Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce during their annual Phoenix Awards luncheon. Of course we continue to be utilized by so very many who request the supports that we can offer – ones that are reliant upon sustained donations and grants.
However, there are also several significant community projects underway which collectively requiring a great deal of committed financial backing from the local philanthropic public. Unfortunately, the Shenango Valley is neither claimed by the Erie nor Pittsburgh metropolitan regions, each of whom have a number of available foundations purposely created to offer support to nonprofits functioning within those areas. We are instead associated with Youngstown – and the Ohio-based foundations seldom include the Shenango Valley of Pennsylvania within their giving models. Thus all the local nonprofits typically “go to the same wells” when seeking support from these few foundations located within the Shenango Valley; and those grant sources are seemingly less able to offer grants as in the past years – very likely in response to commitments to the larger projects.
While local nonprofits have not been told that directly, we certainly experience the repercussions of the funding diversions.
It is tough sledding now in our little portion of the nonprofit world. Please know that we do not like to ask for help because we faithfully believe that God will provide – but it cannot hurt to ask for your prayers for our work and our supporters. Our program participants are depending upon them!
I asked my staff members to do an “in-seat reflection” exercise last week. I think this could serve as a blog entry to stimulate the reader’s thoughts as well.
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/crisis-in-france-is-seen-as-sign-of-chronic-ills/ar-AA8bm1B is a fascinating story to me. Please read it.
Hollywood and all the “free expression” folks have jumped upon the “I am Charlie” bandwagons. If you watched the recent Golden Globes, you saw that first hand… they collectively seemed to be against censorship of any kind… but they are also against all bullies as well (one award winner even referenced a young transsexual person who committed suicide the prior week in response to perceived harassment, et al). My perception of that mention: On some level, we were reminded that we are to blame for that horrific end to a promising life because we are less open minded than they (those who write and act about causes in Hollywood) may be…
If you would personally investigate the “Charlie Hebdo” publication, you would learn it is an atheist magazine that attacks all that is good – and especially organized religion. For example, in addition to caricatures of Muhammad, their satirical drawings have depicted Catholic nuns masturbating, the Pope having sex, and so on. It is all very funny to the intellectuals who embrace secularism. While I do not condone the violence, the story helps me to understand where some folks may have just had enough bullying by people hiding behind the “free speech” moniker.
I wrote this entry a few years back for a Newsletter, and came across it by happenstance the other day. I tweaked it a bit and am posting as a blog entry (After all, it is a Throwback Thursday!).
As a Christmas present to me, please spend the next few minutes thinking and feeling!
How is it that we equate “home” so closely with “personal peace and security”? Picture a framed print of “Home Sweet Home” hanging on a wall, recall Dorothy repeating “There is no place like home”, or hum along with the WWII soldiers’ ballad as each dreamed that “I’ll be Home for Christmas” – and you can readily relate to the security and the “take for granted” comfort of home.
Now imagine the proverbial rug being pulled from beneath you, and you are suddenly confronted with the lack of a predictable home to return to each night.
How exactly do I anticipate God will present himself to me today?
I guess that seems to be a cute or rhetorical sort of question – one that would probably make a good bumper sticker to read over whenever I am stuck in traffic behind someone who’s driving habits may not be as refined as mine (Read: the rest of the world!).
But, I am posing this question in the most serious sense… Just how exactly do I anticipate God will present himself to me today?
I mean the universe is vast; the world so large. There is an immense number of heads to be counted – at latest look as I type, there are 7,275,245,890 and counting on some sort of a Worldometer. Seriously – in the 24 hours since I started writing this, the world increased by more than 107,000 souls! Those numbers include you and me, and everyone that each of us knows, and everybody that each of them knows and so on.
Yesterday we hosted our annual dinner to recognize the contributions of those who volunteer at Prince of Peace Center.
It has been nearly 32 years since Sr. Benita Repasky, SSJ, founded our agency after coming to Farrell from Erie– and the Center’s operation has been heavily dependent upon volunteers since.
Our main speaker for the evening was Sr. Margaret Pellerite, SSJ, a friend and admirer of Sr. Benita with whom she shared nearly 20 years in close company. She also resided a similar period of time with our Center’s second director, Sr. Clare Marie Beichner, SSJ. Suffice it to say she has been a friend and proponent of our mission and work since inception.
Sr. Margaret has legitimately earned the title of “local institution” throughout the Shenango Valley. She has humbly touched the lives of so many to whom she has taught math during her 48 years of assignment at Kennedy Catholic High School, where she had also founded and facilitated the KCHS Action Club – a group which exists solely to teach students the inherent value of service.
She related to those gathered that a charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph is to promote the unity of neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God, without distinction.
That sounds so simple and uncomplicated on the surface – after all, Jesus advised us all to love God with all our hearts, and our neighbor as ourselves. How hard can that be, really?
But we do live in such a complicated world…