At one time, it was a place to store the instruments of war. Now the Sisters of the Precious Blood are using the same space to promote peace and justice.
The Armory Building in Dayton was built in 1893 to house the drilling exercises of the city’s National Guard regiments. Today, in addition to a local law firm, the building is home to the office of the CPPS Heritage Mission Fund, a nonprofit corporation with the purpose of providing grants to nonprofit organizations that share the values set forth by the Sisters of the Precious Blood.
“God has been most generous by blessing the Sisters of the Precious Blood with financial stability, and we are able to share with others in need,” said Sister Mary Ann (M. Rose Michael) Mozser, President of the fund’s Board of Directors.
The CPPS Mission Fund Committee, composed of eight Sisters, has worked together since 2013. After extensive research, many meetings and intense prayer, the committee decided to establish a separate nonprofit corporation which will provide, through grants, financial support for “programs and projects that promote the values of Precious Blood Spirituality, dignity of all life, healing and reconciliation, solidarity with the poor, the common good and meeting the unmet needs of the time,” according to the fund’s website.
While the administrative work of the CHM Fund is done from the Armory Building office, the real purpose of the fund is to reach into the community and around the world to “support ministerial endeavors that reflect the spirituality, mission and values of the Sisters of the Precious Blood and to enable the CPPS Heritage Mission Fund to continue beyond the existence of the Sisters of the Precious Blood.”
“It’s a way of continuing our mission from all the different ministries that we’ve had over the years,” said Sister Marita Beumer, Vice President of the board and chair of the distribution committee. Sister Marita also explained that the distribution committee has been formed to conduct two grant distributions each year. The distribution committee will make recommendations to the board, which makes the ultimate decisions for grant approval.
The Board of Directors is composed of both Precious Blood Sisters and laypeople who bring to the table a variety of applicable skill sets, such as expertise in financial planning, legal issues, mission effectiveness or governance. Nine Sisters and eight laypeople make up the board, which met for an orientation to the work of the CHM Fund on April 29. The board members have “a real sense of excitement about being a part of this mission,” said Sister Joyce Lehman, President of the Congregation.
The fund will support many different types of nonprofit organizations doing a broad range of works, but “the focus is on the values: Every person is precious in God’s sight; there’s no one beyond the pale of God’s love,” Sister Joyce added. “Our Sisters have always lived simple lives. The money’s not ours; it’s God’s gift, and we only have one purpose for having it, and that’s to give it away and to be responsible about doing that. That word ‘stewardship’ has been a key theme that we’ve talked about all along. We need to be good stewards of what we’ve been given, whether it’s money or whether it’s time or skills or expertise — all of that, we need to be good stewards of it.”
With the CHM Fund becoming operational, the Maria Anna Brunner Fund had been discontinued. That fund was established in 1991 and awarded more than 1,500 grants to over 500 organizations throughout its history. Any organization that had applied for a Maria Anna Brunner grant within the last three years was provided with information about the new CHM Fund and encouraged to apply.
Organizations apply for CHM Fund grants in two steps. First, they submit a letter of inquiry, which was due May 1 for the current granting cycle. Sixty-five letters of inquiry were submitted, said Barb Clark, the fund’s executive secretary. For the next granting cycle, letters of inquiry are due Nov. 1.
The second step in the application process is the grant application itself. Five grant types are available, in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. In this first grant cycle, grant applications are due June 20. All applications are submitted online, which Clark said applicants have found to be a smooth and efficient process.
For more information on the CPPS Heritage Mission Fund, visit cppsheritagemissionfund.org.
Story by Mary Knapke