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Our Grantees

Our Grantees are working to make the world a more just and livable place. Some are working to strengthen the voice of women in their communities, large and small, through education, skill building or community organizing. Others are working to increase the economic security of women and their families. All are working with passion for long term change.

  • North America
  • Central America
  • South America
  • Caribbean

North America 2016-2017

Centro de Recursos Educativos para Adultos (CREA)
New York, New York
CREA provides educational resources for the Spanish-speaking adult immigrant community in East Harlem and Upper Manhattan, NYC. Classes at CREA help immigrant adults attain full literacy both in their native language and in English, and offer culturally competent advice on how to navigate the resources of the city. Over 80% of CREA clients are women, more than 66% have school age children. Life skills workshops, seminars on leadership development, and computer skills classes supplement CREA’s focus on adult literacy, creating a platform for social mobility and networking. The center is sensitive to family and cultural needs. CREA has been in operation for three years, and will use the Mary’s Pence grant to improve the services for its expanding student body.

The Dreamcatcher Foundation
“Reaching for the Stars”
Chicago, Illinois
Dreamcatcher was created in 2008 by and for survivors of human trafficking and substance abuse. Dreamcatcher reaches out to women involved in the sex trade industry in Chicago with a pressure-free, no-judgment approach while also offering opportunities to leave the industry. This year, the Mary’s Pence grant will fund “Reaching for the Stars,” a direct outreach program which responds to the immediate needs of the survivors for food, medicine, material goods, and psychological support as they develop a sustainable lifestyle.

Exodus Lending
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Exodus Financial Services is a startup initiated by the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in 2015 to counteract predatory lenders in the neighborhood of the parish. Payday loans are in the $200-1000 range and require repayment in full upon the next payday. If not repaid on time, they can accrue interest rates of up to 273%. About 70% of those with payday debt are women. Exodus Lending provides Minnesotans trapped in payday debt with interest-free repayment options, personalized advice and financial counseling. The Mary’s Pence grant will increase program support as the client base of Exodus Lending continues to grow.

“Somali Women Civic Engagement Initiative”
Minneapolis, Minnesota
The name Isuroon means “woman who cares for herself.” Isuroon grew from the personal experiences of its founder, Fartun Weli, who was struggling with the cultural pressures related to women’s reproduction in the Somali culture. Since 2010, Isuroon has been an advocate for culturally competent women’s health care, providing resources on research, health promotion, and community and civic engagement. Isuroon recognizes that women’s reproductive rights are interrelated with women’s rights at large, and that the personal is also political. This first Mary’s Pence grant helps fund a project that will create social spaces and workshops for Somali women to learn about political processes in the United States, increase women’s presence and voice in their communities, and build leadership skills.

The Justice Project
Kansas City, Missouri
The Justice Project was founded in 2008 by Mercy Sister Donna Ryan, and Kris Wade, a survivor of crimes against women. Eighty percent of women they serve have been sexually exploited through prostitution. Many of the women’s lives are unstable due to homelessness, mental illness, domestic violence, or addiction. A third-time Mary’s Pence grantee, The Justice Project will continue giving direct service to those in need, as well as educating the legal officials, police, service providers and community members on human trafficking issues.

Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment (RISE)
Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota
RISE is a new organization and a new Mary’s Pence grantee, started as a response to the need for connection within the community of Muslim women in the Twin Cities and elsewhere. The main goal of RISE is to make the underrepresented population of Islamic women activists more present in political processes. RISE promotes sustainability for women-led philanthropies and businesses through hands-on workshops, raising the visibility of Muslim women who are involved in civic engagement.

Center for Women in Transition
Little Rock, AR
Ann Prosper
CWIT prevents recidivism by helping formerly incarcerated women transition back into society. Founded by a Catholic sister, CWIT staff mentors the women personally, teaches life skills classes prior to release, and supports them in completing education and finding steady employment once they re-enter society. The program empowers women and girls to advocate for themselves. In February 2016, CWIT expanded its life skills education program to include over 100 incarcerated teen girls. Since 2005, CWIT has helped over 2,000 women through its collaboration with community organizations and the judicial system, which often releases women to CWIT for probation in lieu of prison.

Oakland, CA
Mary Lim-Lampe
A three-time Mary’s Pence grantee, Genesis was created in 2007 to advance economic, gender and racial equality in the San Francisco Bay Area. Faith congregations and unions serve as the project’s main stakeholders and decision-makers, and together they have successfully implemented measures such as the Youth Bus Program in a county where no public school transportation is provided. Among their current goals are campaigns to make criminal justice policies more restorative and better funding for programs aimed at people with disabilities. This Mary’s Pence grant will be used to train women with developmental disabilities in advocacy and the process of voter registration.

Kinship Care Campaign
Cincinnati, OH
Lynn Williams
The Contact Center’s Kinship Care Campaign is a community-based, women-led organization that deals mainly with economic and social justice issues pertaining to kinship care. Kinship care is foster care alternative in which non-parent relatives and close family friends raise children. Funding for kinship guardians is disproportionately low. Kinship Care’s current advocacy is focused on changing laws to ensure that caretakers, mainly women, who are raising relatives will receive the same financial support as foster care providers.

MAYA Organization
Pittsburgh, PA
Tomilyn Ward
MAYA (Me And You Always) began as a full-service adoption agency that provided counseling for incarcerated pregnant women who put their children up for adoption. Their experience of the prison system led them to expand their services to include pro-bono counseling for any women incarcerated in Pennsylvania’s Allegheny County Jail. Every week, women attend individual 60-minute counseling sessions to address issues of loss, trauma and addiction. Counseling is available after the women are released to ensure continued progress and maintain previously achieved goals. MAYA aims to replace recidivism with community reintegration.

New Sanctuary Movement – Mujeres Líderes
Milwaukee, WI
Shana Harvey
NSM was started in 2007 in response to a challenge to publicly stand in solidarity with immigrants. NSM works for immigration reform and organizes immigrant communities and allied faith communities to support families facing separation due to deportation. Women often become the sole heads of households in the U.S. when their husbands are incarcerated or deported. The Mary’s Pence Grant will fund a series of leadership trainings called Mujeres Líderes, or Women’s Leadership, that will provide immigrant women with the communication and organizing skills they need to bring about systemic change in the U.S. immigration system and in their communities.

Welcoming the Stranger
Warminster, PA
Meg Eubank
Welcoming the Stranger provides immigrant and refugee populations with educational and training opportunities. Their mission is focused on the Christian value of welcoming strangers into one’s community. Funding from Mary’s Pence will support a class on work skills and language improvement in a large immigrant community. Lessons are personalized to best meet students’ needs, including practical lessons, such as navigating the healthcare system, applying for credit, and interviewing for jobs. Students form networks, working together as a community. Welcoming the Stranger education classes offer students, the majority of whom are women, economic empowerment and a voice in the education and healthcare of their children.

Queens, NY
Nivedita Chandrappa
Wishwas works with Bangladeshi women in Queens, New York to help reduce the cultural barriers of a new country by providing the space for women to work together weekly at a local community center and receive training in running a cooperative business. Wishwas offers vocational skills and training to women who have few job opportunities and are not involved in the making of financial decisions within their households and communities. Wishwas cooperative training empowers women who may be victims of domestic violence or emotional abuse. The primary goal is to create self-sufficiency in the women and increase their recognition in the community as financial contributors and valid decision-makers.

Workers’ Rights Center
Madison, WI
Kristen Taylor
The WRC was created by the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice after an investigation into the working conditions of Latino/a immigrants. The mission of WRC is to help recover unpaid wages, fund basic worker training in multiple languages, and provide training in self-representation, leadership, and organizational skills in order to foster individual and collective action. A grant from Mary’s Pence will allow the WRC to form an advocacy and support group for Latina workers, who deal with wage theft and discrimination at work, and immigration issues at home. The group will be a space for women to share challenges and organize to take action in their community.

North America 2015-2016

Just Economics
Community Organizing
Asheville, NC, USA
Vicki Meath
Just Economics does community organizer work, including advocacy for living wage and a program to improve the local bus system. A Mary’s Pence grantee for the past two years, Just Economics works in solidarity with both low-income people and people of privilege to advocate for issues of systemic change as they arise in the community.

The Justice Project
Kansas City, Missouri, USA
Kris Wade
The Justice Project provides grassroots support for women in poverty and advocacy work for improvement in the social services and justice systems. Mary’s Pence is pleased to fund The Justice Project for the second year running, as they continue to provide medical assistance, court advocacy, and education on justice issues impacting the community. They promote self-sufficiency and systemic change, led by the belief that food, housing, dignity and independence are inalienable rights for all.

The Kitchen Table
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Angie O'Gorman
The Kitchen Table is a startup social enterprise born out of a women’s support group at Epiphany United Church of Christ, when the women decided to create something together. The women, some of whom were homeless or in subsidized housing and most of whom struggle with their mental health, are generally considered unemployable. At The Kitchen Table, the women prepare and serve food in a sustainable local business.

Youth Rise Texas
Youth Organizing Institute
Austin, Texas, USA
Kandace Vallejo
Youth Rise Texas provides leadership development for young women of color in Texas affected by parental incarceration or deportation. This startup organization offers a paid internship program that empowers young women to grow as leaders while they create and perform monologues to raise awareness about the effects of familial deportation.

CSW Student Fellowship Program
Cary, North Carolina, USA
Beth Dehghan
Women NC creates a network of young leaders in North Carolina who develop leadership and advocacy skills as they focus on eliminating violence and poverty for women worldwide. For the second year in a row, a grant from Mary’s Pence will support young women leaders from North Carolina colleges in presenting their research on issues vital to the equality of women and girls at the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera/Austin So Close to the Border
Women & Fair Trade Festival-2015
Austin, Texas, USA
Josefina M. Castillo

Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera/Austin So Close to the Border addresses social and economic injustices along the Texas/Mexico border that impact women. They create community-driven alternatives through transnational solidarity and fair trade. ATCF also works to bring awareness to those living in developed nations about labor and human rights, fair trade, and the hidden costs of trade policies in less economically developed nations. ATCF hosts the annual Women & Fair Trade Festival, which includes local and international fair trade vendors, educational presentations, and a forum about just economic models. With the Mary's Pence Grant, they will further expand this annual festival and partner closely with artisans from across the border.

Canadian Voice of Women for Peace
VOW Delegate Trip to United Nations Commission on the Status of Women
New York City, New York, United States
Sandra Ruch

Canadian Voice of Women for Peace has educated and empowered women to equally take part in democratic decision-making processes since 1960. They are a non-partisan, non-governmental organization that creates connections with other women around the globe who are working towards peaceful resolutions to solve international conflicts. Canadian Voice of Women for Peace will be utilizing their Mary's Pence Grant to fund ten young women to attend the 59th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and to partake in dialogues concerning global issues that affect women.

Conspire Theatre
Performing Possibilities
Austin, Texas, USA
Michelle Dahlenburg

Conspire Theatre is an organization that gives formerly incarcerated women “a healing and empowering experience through theatre and creative writing.” The organization leads weekly theatre workshops for women incarcerated at the Travis County Correctional Complex. Conspire Theatre also believes that women released from prison face obstacles that hinder their reintegration into their communities. With their Mary's Pence Grant, they will continue to expand Performing Possibilities, a program the "uses performance to reduce stigma associated with incarceration within the communities of Travis County in Texas."   

Genesis Freedom Riders
Oakland, CA, USA
Mary Lim-Lampe

Genesis is an organization that was created in 2007 to unite multi-racial and income-diverse people in Alameda County, CA to create effective solutions to community issues. They amplify voices that are often silenced or ignored in order to effect systemic change. In 2014 the organization won a triumphant campaign when 70% of the voters from Alameda County approved a bill that will devote $15 million to a county Youth Bus Pass Program. They will be utilizing their second Mary's Pence Grant to establish their Genesis Freedom Riders program, a program that will build and train a team of young women who will attend Youth Bus Pass Program implementation meetings.

We Are One Family/Somos La Misma Familia
Immigration Project/Projecto de Immigracion
Cochise County, AZ, USA/Sonoro Mexico
Sr. Susan Kolb

We Are One Family/Somos La Misma Familia, is a law practice created by Sr. Susan Kolb "to nurture, enhance and educate for human dignity with the border community." With the Mary's Pence Grant, the organization will continue to accompany immigrants in Arizona. We Are One Family helps prepare immigrants for citizenship tests, gives immigration counsel, and provides support and advice on eligibility for immigration benefits. The key focus of this effort is to reunite families and keep them together.

North America 2014-2015

Just Economics
Voices for Economic Justice
Asheville, North Carolina, USA
Vicki Meath

    Just Economics is an economic justice advocacy organization, and a past Mary’s Pence grantee based in Asheville, North Carolina. Their focus is on education and advocacy for living wages and other related systemic change issues. Just Economics brings low-income people and people of privilege together to advocate for a better economic community by focusing on policy advocacy, a living wage employer certification program, community education, and leadership development. Just Economics works to increase the economic security of women by involving low-income people in their fight against the barriers to economic self-sufficiency.

    Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin Community Society
    Hymnal Acquisition
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Rev. Dr. Victoria Marie

      The Our Lady of Guadalupe Tonantzin (OLGT) community is an outgrowth of the Vancouver Catholic Worker. Their community upholds the following mission statement: “we aim to be a community that constantly encourages, supports and accompanies each other to ever deeper right relationship with God, the Earth, all beings, each other, and our true selves.” OLGT is a woman-led collaborative community, composed of women who have experienced discrimination and exclusion. They will utilize Mary’s Pence funds to purchase hymnals, a lasting resource that will provide opportunities for spiritual growth in an atmosphere of acceptance.

    Women in 2 Healing
    Unlocking the Gates Peer Mentorship Project
    Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Mo Korchinkski

      Women in 2 Healing (Wi2H) is a not-for-profit group of formerly incarcerated women, volunteers and academics who seek to improve the physical, emotional and social healing of women inside and outside of prison. Wi2H helps women find their voices for change, and to reconnect with their families and children. Mary’s Pence funds will help support the peer mentoring program for women inside prison during pre-release planning. They offer systemic peer support and engagement during the transition following release by helping the women to access income assistance, addictions counseling, and other important resources. This program helps women create change for themselves and their children, and creates social change by breaking the cycle of abuse, addiction, and crime that can carry from one generation to the next.

    CSW Student Fellowship Program
    Cary, NC
    Beth Dehghan

      WomenNC is an all-volunteer organization that engages North Carolina’s youth in the elimination of injustice against women and girls. In the program, students research a wide range of issues that affect women in the North Carolina community, such as health care, domestic violence, and human trafficking. The Mary’s Pence grant will be used for the WomenNC CSW Fellowship Program, which enables local college students to present their research at the UN Commision on the Status of Women. The students in the program mobilize and influence their peers and respective communities on issues such as human rights and gender equality. WomenNC works to support systemic change that improves the local and global status of women through collaborative efforts and outreach.

North America 2013 - 2014

Asylee Women Enterprise
The Sisters Co-op
Towson, MD
Molly Corbett                                                         

    The Sisters Co-Op, founded by AWE, provides a way for women seeking asylum to earn a stipend by selling hand-made items. Many women who participate have college degrees and professional experience, but are unable to work during the asylum application process. Though the Sisters Co-Op began as a way of meeting an economic need, it now also serves as a safe place for asylum seekers, asylees, and refugees to socialize, teach, and develop skills. As Molly Corbett, executive director of AWE, states, “the Co-op is a visible product of women working together to produce more than just a ‘craft’ but to create community and to empower each other.”

    The Justice Project
    The Justice Project
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Kris Wade

The Justice Project is a peer based, nonprofit, human rights organization that helps women (including transgender people who identify as women) in poverty navigate the criminal justice system and other social service systems. Specifically, The Justice Project focuses on women who because of mental illness, addiction, or lack of education find it difficult to navigate these sometimes complicated systems. The Justice Project believes in meeting and reaching out to marginalized women as equals and using an individualized, respectful, strengths-based, holistic approach as well as providing long-term compassionate advocacy and guidance to self-sufficiency. The Justice Project also works to humanize their constituents to those who run the system and promote positive changes to that system so that food, housing, dignity, and independence are accessible for everyone.

Canadian Voice of Women       for Peace
Peace Leadership Training Camp and United Nations Commission on the Status of Women 2014
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Sandra Ruch

    Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (VOW) is a non-partisan, non-governmental organization and past Mary’s Pence grantee that has educated and empowered women to take an equal part in the decision-making process for over 50 years. VOW has brought women under the age of 35 together to discuss recent developments in areas of interest, such as women, feminists and peacemakers. Through their Peacemaker Leadership Camp, VOW encourages participants to take leadership roles within their communities to promote peace. VOW also awards these young women the opportunity to participate in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York.

Casa Guadalupana
House of Hospitality
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Julie Caroll

Casa Guadalupana, which was founded in 1999, offers temporary room and board to Latina women and their families who become homeless for reasons such as job loss, lack of family support, medical issues or spousal deportation through their House of Hospitality. Casa Guadalupana provides the opportunity for these families to work with an in-house licensed social worker, a live-in house director, and volunteer advocates who help families connect to community resources. Casa Guadalupana, a primarily women-led organization, is dedicated to compassionate action, simplicity and solidarity with the poor.

CMAA Refugee Services
Capital Park Women's Empowerment Project
Columbus, Ohio, USA
Beth Stock

The Capital Park Women’s Empowerment Project was created by a group of Somali refugee women as a result of intense violence througout the summer in their apartment community in Columbus, Ohio. Their goal is to change the culture of fear in their community to a culture of empowerment, which is achieved through English for Speakers of Other Languages and citizenship participation classes, community gardening, self-defense classes, community organizing around safety issues, and medical outreach. These women are learning basic reading, writing and math skills for the first time in their lives, and are even taking on major leadership roles through their sewing project. All of the women aspire to learn how to sew and create a small cooperative business making shoulder bags. These women state they are an unlikely group to form a cooperative business together, but they are determined to grow and learn together.

Conspire Theatre
Performing Possibilities
Austin, Texas, USA
Michelle Dahlenburg

Conspire Theatre, a former Mary’s Pence grantee, offers incarcerated women and their allies a healing and empowering experience through theatre and creative writing. At the Travis County Correctional Facility in Del Valle, Texas, Conspire has led theatre workshops since 2009 for incarcerated women. Conspire values both the voices of women who have experienced jail or prison, and challenging stereotypes about who goes to prison and why. Performing Possibilities was launched in July 2013, and it is an ensemble theatre program that serves women post-incarceration. Performers and facilitators participate in the process together, and build a sustained sense of trust that allows them to work through difficult memories, issues and challenges together.

Just Economics
Voices for Economic Justice
Asheville, North Carolina, USA
Vicki Meath

Just Economics is an economic justice advocacy organization based in Asheville, North Carolina that educates, advocates and organizes for a just and sustainable economy that works for everyone. Just Economics brings together low-income people and people of privilege together to advocate for a better economic community. More importantly, workers recognize their power, how they can influence public decisions, and how they can work together for a more fair and equitable economy. The Voices for Economic Justice program is a program designed for low-wage working women who learn economic analysis and concrete skill building in areas of advocacy, community organizing and leadership.

Law Office of Sr. Susan Kolb
Chochise County, Arizona, USA and Sonora, Mexico
Sr. Susan Kolb

Sr. Susan Kolb, who previously worked as a managing attorney of a legal aid office in Bisbee, Arizona, decided to create a project to specifically serve those affected by our broken immigration system and by the militarization occurring on the Arizona-Mexico border. The project strives to establish a credible immigration law office where people can obtain competent information and assistance in understanding immigration law. This law office will provide clients with citizenship preparation, immigration counsel, and determining eligibility for and assistance in applying for other immigration benefits. There is very little credible immigration assistance within a hundred miles of the border, and her law office will charge minimal amounts, if any money, for her services. It’s her mission and the mission of her practice to bring about change and improve the well being of the whole community. “Our lives are enriched by the ones we serve.”

North America 2012 - 2013

Canadian Voice of Women for Peace
Peace Maker Summer Camp
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Sandra Ruch

Canadian Voice of Women for Peace (VOW) is a non-partisan Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) founded in 1960. With its network of diverse women with consultative status at the United Nations ECOSOC, VOW has promoted world peace and justice for over 60 years. With Mary’s Pence’s support, they will be holding two workshops called 1325 Young Women Peace Makers camp. The goal of these workshops is to offer young women between the ages of 13 – 35 the opportunity to voice and take action on gender-specific and general violence reduction in their communities through activities of organizing, leading, and presenting.

Centro Mujeres de la Esperanza
“Learn to Earn” Classes
El Paso, Texas
Angelina Lugo

Centro Mujeres de la Esperanza, founded in 1993, strives to meet the specific needs of women living in the El Paso region. The Center provides programs and classes in topics including education, health, finances, spirituality, family and community development. As a first time grantee of Mary’s Pence, the funds will support the Center’s “Learn to Earn” class, which aims to foster financial independence and security among the women served by the Center. These classes teach participants a holistic approach to economic development by not only teaching participants new and marketable skills, but also through workshops on managing personal finances. Centro Mujeres de la Esperanza aims to bring women and their families out of poverty and create systemic community change.

Collinwood Neighborhood Catholic Ministries
Cleveland OH
Mary Ellen Brinovec, OSU

This organization was sparked by the energy of the traveling exhibit: Women and Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America, and is a project of Women with Spirit Now, a collaborative of women religious committed to collective action to transform our future, building communities of peace and hope. Based on community discussion, CNCM is focusing on addressing the urgent need for pre- and post-natal education and doula assistance during childbirth.

Community of the Beloved
God’s Economy Project
Asheville, NC
Rev. Amy Cantrell

Community of the Beloved is a community of people who are homeless, children and their families, senior citizens, immigrants, GLBT people, people with disabilities, and neighbors in Asheville. This diverse group has been active since 2009. They have a strong belief in community based on Jesus’ identity and Dr. King’s vision of the Beloved Community. They work together towards social change by building relationships, crossing boundaries, and standing up for justice together. Mary’s Pence supports their God’s Economy Project, a project to employ the poor and disabled.

Conspire Theatre
Rehearsing Possibilities
Austin, TX
Kat Craft

Conspire Theatre works with programs for incarcerated women and their allies through workshops of theatre and creative writing. It was established in 2009 by theatre artist, Katherine Craft. In response to the need of vital programming for the many incarcerated women in Texas who faced physical and sexual victimization in prison, Consipre Theatre addresses trauma and addiction and builds community and self confidence. The works is also supported by devoted volunteers composed of social workers, artists, and non-profit professionals.

The Dreamcatcher Foundation
My Life My Choices Prevention Program
Chicago, Illinois
Stephanie Daneils

This organization improves the lives of disadvantaged and disenfranchised young women in Chicago. It is a survivor driven agency founded in 2007 by Stephanie Daniels-Wilson and Brenda Myers-Powell, both survivors of the sex trade industry. In the midst of the city ranked high for worst juvenile prostitution problems, the Dreamcatcher Foundation counters the problem by serving the women to build self confidence, courage and independent spirit to achieve positive goals.

El Projecto de las Rosas
Tipton, CA
Sr. Rita Jovick

Founded by the Sisters of the Presentation, El Projecto de las Rosas is a non-profit adult educational project, serving the communities of Tulare County. In 2010, Tulare County had the state’s second-highest poverty rate. El Projecto de las Rosas provides classes on English, computer, and guitar to local parents and educational opportunities where students are encouraged to get involved in local issues affecting their lives.

Found in Translation
Malden, MA
Maria Vertkin

Found in Translation prepares low-income and homeless bilingual women to achieve economic security through the use of their language skills and in doing so, unleash bilingual talent into the workforce to fight ethnic, racial and linguistic disparities in health care. In the pilot project 21 participants were collectively mothers of 35 children, 33% were single mothers, 50% were homeless or had been homeless, and 25% were survivors of domestic violence. Nineteen women completed the program in a fast growing field with a median income wage of $43,380.

Justice for Youth Bus Pass/Ntosake
Oakland, California
Mary Lim-Lampe

Genesis is transforming community leadership by uniting people across racial and economic divisions in the San Francisco Bay area. Genesis consists of 10 congregations and institutions and has trained over 1,200 women through their Ntosake Training Program, and is currently organized around securing a commitment and funding to provide all youth in Alameda County, which includes Oakland and Berkeley, with free bus passes. Transportation justice tends to particularly impact low-income women. Genesis works to ensure that women in our communities and congregations are given the best tools to create systemic change in their communities.

Las Hermanas Traductoras
Segundo Encuentro
Louisville, Kentucky
San Cristobel de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico
Clare Sullivan

Hermanas Traductoras, which emerged in November 2011, started when 10 women poets and translators met in Mexico to share poetry written in various indigenous languages. If the women wanted their poetry read by people outside of their communities, they had to translate their work. Translation is a bold act of independence for these women. Daring to translate their work for others provides a chance to share their stories in their communities and beyond, which allows their words to be the seeds of change throughout various communities. A Mary’s Pence grant helped fund their second meeting in San Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico.

Mayan Wisdom Exchange
Partners for Women’s Equality
Maureen White Eagle, Executive Director
Eagan, MN (and Guatemala)

PWE is partnering with Pop No’J in Guatemala City, an organization working with the Mayan communities of Guatemala. The focus is eliminating violence against women and children in Mayan communities through recognition and promotion of traditional Mayan values that honor and respect women. Over two years 20 women will be trained as advocates to end gender violence. PWE has experience developing such curriculum for Native American communities in the U.S.

Naco Wellness Initiative
Well Woman Clinic
Naco, Arizona
Bisbee, Arizona
Sister Mary Rose Obholz

Naco Wellness Initiative (NWI) serves the needs of the economically poor who reside in the borderland Naco area of Arizona and Mexico, and aims to implement a model of excellent health in this region with the resources provided by Mary’s Pence. NWI seeks to establish a Well Woman Clinic to serve the Latina population of an already neglected community. The approach is holistic and encompasses bio-psycho-social-spiritual-cultural model of personal wellbeing and community health. As a result, they will empower women in this community to improve their personal health and the health of their families, ultimately fostering female leadership throughout the community.

POWER (Parents Organizing for Welfare and Economic Rights)
WEC – Women’s Economic Collaborative
Olympia, WA
Julianna Panagacos

Parents Organizing for Welfare and Economic Rights (POWER) is an organization of low-income parents and allies who advocate for a strong social safety net while working toward a world where children and caregiving are truly valued, and the devastation of poverty has been eradicated. Funding will be used toward the Women’s Economic Collaborative (WEC), one of POWER’s most active and successful projects. WEC started as a single mothers support group and has transformed into an active group of women educating and supporting each other to meet their individual economic goals. The women establish strategies, which include pursuing higher education, acquiring job and entrepreneurship skills, as well as developing a strong social support network to meet their individual goals.

Reynolds Home
El Paso TX
Dorothy Trauz

Reynolds Home provides shelter, security and basic services to women that teach and encourage mothers to value and respect their own dignity and to build on their own strengths which enable them to provide for themselves and their children. This grant will help support the Welcome Home Program that supports women as they move into their own home, a time of great responsibility and uncertainty

Women to Women
The Spirituality Network, Inc.
Columbus, OH
Maxine Shonk, OP

Founded in 1986, The Spirituality Network soon established the Women to Women program as a meeting place for diverse groups of women throughout Columbus, Ohio for a mutual sharing of life experiences, spirituality and support. The meetings are led by volunteer companions, and provide a safe, nonjudgmental environment for women to heal and share their stories as they also learn from the stories of other women. Women to Women instills confidence in women to break the cycles of abuse, addiction, isolation and violence. Women to Women measures its successes by being witness to the stories of those who have been “listened into their own wisdom” and have changed their circumstances, becoming responsible for themselves and their families.

North America 2011 - 2012

Asylee Women Enterprise
Sister's Co-Op
Lutherville, MD
Molly Corbett

Founded by 8 women’s religious communities to provide transitional housing, and help build a community of support and companionship with women seeking asylum on their long journey to freedom. A grant from Mary’s Pence is supporting a Co-Op where women sew, bead, knit and create paper crafts, and help market their products.

Collaborative Center for Justice
Hartford, CT
Sr. Mary Alice Synkewecz RSM

The mission of the Center is to enhance human dignity by responding to injustices experienced by people who are poor and aliented in sociaty through: advocacy, eduction, networking, and collaboration.  The Center was founded in 1999, sponsored by six Religious Congregations of Women. Their constituents need effective lobbyists at the state legislature and need training to make their own voices heard at the legislature.

Picturing ParadiseSeattle, WA
Sr. Barbara Cervenka

Con/Vida organizes exhibitions of the work of popular Latin American artists who create highly inventive artwork in situations of limited economic resources, marginalization, and/or political unrest.  They will be organizing an exhibit in Lima Peru, of the work of the women of Pamplona Alta, Peru. Pamplona is a rural areas and the artists make cuatros - applique and embroidery - that depict their lives and their dreams.


La Casita Center
Louisville, KY
Amy Shelton, Executive Director

This women's group provides awareness of community resources and a sense of solidarity among migrant Latina workers. Their primary program is The Latina Women's Movement, started over 8 years ago with a few women committed to carving out vital space for Latina women to gather and support one another.  Currently there are 12 groups that meet regularly, set their priorities, and support one another.

Mary's Pence grantee, Hagar's HouseHagar's House
New Orleans, LA
Angela Davis

Hagar’s House is a shelter in New Orleans. The grant will be used to expand their Social Justice and Advocacy Program. This includes movie nights, weekly education gatherings around topics of gender, race, sexuality and local political struggles and it includes training on political actions skills such as self advocacy and lobbying, and nonviolence. Hagar’s House is also working on an herbal education program that includes growing herbs and making soothing body products, with the hope that this can be income generating.

Mujeres en Accion y Poder / Lideres en Accion y Poder
Corcoran Neighborhood Organization
Minneapolis, MN
Amy Arcand

Mujeres en Accion y Poder is an action-oriented leadership training program for Latina women. The intent of the group is to bring Latina women together to share resources, build community and organize around issues identified by the group. Many speakers from the community will speak with the women, and each woman will do a project in the community.

Mary's Pence grantee, Reflect and StrengthenReflect and Strengthen
Dorchester, MA
Roselyn Berry

This is a grassroots collective of working class women from the urban neighborhoods of Boston who take a holistic approach to organizing in order to create personal and social transformation. Sister’s Rising is Reflect and Strengthen’s leadership development program. They use a strong consensus-based process that share responsibilities and opportunities. The grant will be used for leadership training and conference attendance.


Mary's Pence grantee, Still Point Theatre Collective / Rising SistersStill Point Theatre Collective - Sisters Rising
Chicago, IL

Sisters Rising is an outreach program for formerly incarcerated women. The women are involved in writing and performing plays based on their lives, and make a lasting change both in the lives of individual women and in society’s attitudes towards the incarcerated.

Sunrise Center

Richlands, VA
Charlotte Stanley

Sunrise Center works with women in the poor region of Appalachia, by providing community, training and GED support to women. Sunrise works closely with other community organizations on the issues of health care, housing and equal employment. They take a holistic approach using the techniques of Capacitar.


Mary's Pence grantee, WHEELWHEEL-Women's Housing, Equality and Enhancement League
Women's Empowerment Center
Seattle, WA
Michele Marchand, WHEEL Organizer

WHEEL is a non-hierarchical group of homeless women working to end homelessness for women. A democratically elected Executive Committee is charged with the overall operation of the program. They offer art supplies, educational films, workshop, trainings and community meetings for homeless and low-income women.

North America 2010 - 2011

Catherine of Siena Virtual College
Cincinnati, OH
Deborah Rose-Milavec, Project Director

This is a mission-driven educational enterprise, rooted in a Catholic social justice tradition, working to empower women for life and leadership in developing countries through transformational gender justice education. Study is done in small, interactive and international learning communities (using technology to be together) where women find the safety and support to examine issues important in their lives.

Mary's Pence grantee, Beloved CommunityCommunity of the Beloved
Asheville, NC
Amy Cantrell

Beloved Community is a community of people who are poor or homeless or need a place to be loved. Mary’s Pence funds will be used to start a people’s reading, writing, and speaking group influenced by movements for social change. They will seek opportunities to speak to the community, and they will start a newspaper to be read widely in the community of the poor.

Hagar's House
New Orleans, LA
Angela Davis

Hagar’s House is a shelter in New Orleans. The grant will be used to expand theirSocial Justice and Advocacy Program. This includes movie nights, weekly education gatherings around topics of gender, race, sexuality and local political struggles and it includes training on political actions skills such as self advocacy and lobbying, and nonviolence. Hagar’s House is also working on an herbal education program that includes growing herbs and making soothing body products, with the hope that this can be income generating.

Mary's Pence grantee, LifeWay NetworkLifeWay Network
Queens, NY
Geraldine Kennedy OSU

LifeWay Network combats human trafficking through Emergency Safe Spaces Pilot Project and Education and Awareness/Advocacy Ministry. They use workshops, presentations, website and printed materials to raise and change the general public views towards this issue. Funding will be used to develop a media presentation and purchase educational materials.

Mayan Wisdom Exchange
Partners for Women’s Equality
Maureen White Eagle, Executive Director
Eagan, MN (and Guatemala)

PWE is partnering with Pop No’J in Guatemala City, an organization working with the Mayan communities of Guatemala. The focus is eliminating violence against women and children in Mayan communities through recognition and promotion of traditional Mayan values that honor and respect women. Over two years 20 women will be trained as advocates to end gender violence. PWE has experience developing such curriculum for Native American communities in the U.S.

Reflect and Strengthen
Dorchester, MA
Roselyn Berry

This is a grassroots collective of working class women from the urban neighborhoods of Boston who take a holistic approach to organizing in order to create personal and social transformation. Sister’s Rising is Reflect and Strengthen’s leadership development program. They use a strong consensus-based process that share responsibilities and opportunities. The grant will be used for leadership training and conference attendance.

Sunrise Center Inc
Richlands, VA
Charlotte Stanley, Director

Sunrise Center offers a GED certificate, which provides workplace skills in keyboarding and computer, enabling low income women to obtain better jobs. The program reaches some of the poorest women in the Appalachian Mountains. Its mission is to develop education programs to assist individuals to become self-sufficient, promote social justice and connect people with community resources.

Still Point Theatre Collective - Sisters Rising
Chicago, IL

Sister’s Rising is a performance program that helps strengthen families and communities affected by the cycle of violence through providing part-time, creative work for formerly incarcerated women. The grant will help them bring the performance “Feeling Beautiful All Over” to women’s shelters in the Chicago area.

Mary's Pence grantee, Tengo Voz BaseTengo Voz Base
I have a Voice Collective
Greater Portland, Maine
Rev. Virginia Marie Rincon, Executive Director

This program supports and empowers Latino women through the arts, spirituality and education to meet urgent needs. Developing Spanish language protocols for navigation of the social service system is a priority. They act as culture brokers for the dominant community. Latina women within the community are ready to begin offering interventions themselves after this training.


WHEEL-Women's Housing, Equality and Enhancement League
Women's Empowerment Center
Seattle, WA
Michele Marchand, WHEEL Organizer

WHEEL is a non-hierarchical group of homeless women working to end homelessness for women. A democratically elected Executive Committee is charged with the overall operation of the program. They offer art supplies, educational films, workshop, trainings and community meetings for homeless and low-income women.




Past Grantees

North America 2009 - 2010

Beloved Community
Women’s Empowerment Project
Ashville, North Carolina
Rev. Amy Cantrell

This community is a special place that combines hospitality, empowerment, and systemic change. It is open to people living on the streets. It is not an institutional space. Rooms and resources are at participants’ disposal. Popular Education is a means for participants to talk, tell their stories and explore issues, and find their knowledge and power in this process. Discussions leads to the formation of teams that tackle local issues such as public transportation, healthcare, youth violence, use of public space by poor and homeless people, etc. Teams have participated in protests, spoken to officials of the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness, worked to have public restrooms opened, shared meals in public parks and supported and accompanied one another to medial and court appointments.

Buen Pastor
Guanajuato City, Guanajuato, Mexico
Mary's Pence grantee, Buen PastorJuanita Benedicto

Compassionate touch for survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse.  Buen Pastor is a shelter for women and a school for girls. Juanita will provide support to the sisters running the institution and massage to women and girls.

Catherine Place
Mary's Pence grantee, Catherine PlacePeg Murphy
Tacoma WA

Women’s center, providing hospitality, companionship, advocacy and education for women who desire support in moving forward in their lives. Programs include one-on-one support to individuals working through the stresses and transitions associated with loss, poverty, violence, unemployment, illness and other significant life shifts, as well as immigration issues. Support systems includes Women’s Circles and healing arts and holistic practices.

Casa Guadalupana House of Hospitality
St. Paul, MN
Connie Aligada

Mary's Pence grantee, Casa Guadalupana House of HospitalityCasa Guadalupana respond to supply food, general household goods and items necessary to meet basic needs for the Hispanic families in our community. Because of the economic downturn and increased unemployment during the past year, food and medicine requests have tripled. Providing food and medicine has been one of the most powerful interventions we can make. These requests have increased from 15-20 per month last year (2008), to more than 15-20 per week. Our interventions make the difference for many of our families. Our key step has always been, to find out what is the most pressing need in the community and then to find dollars to meet those needs

Casa Guadalupana’s outreach program offers a tutoring program for children to keep up to speed in their classes. In addition we provide opportunities for Spanish speaking members of our community to learn what we call ‘survival English”. This program is meant to assist parents to help their children with homework. Our tutors have also assisted parents with translation when attending parent-teacher conferences. In addition, Casa Guadalupana hosts community groups once a week for a 3-4 hour session where they learn about social justice, meet residents, and share a meal with the residents that the residents prepared.

Common Law, Inc.
Bronx, NY
Karen GargamelliMary's Pence grantee, Common Law, Inc.

Provides free legal representation to low-income Latina food vendors at hearings. In 2007 Latina women food vendors formed VAMOS Unidos to advocate for fairer vending regulations. The goal is to defend agains vending violations, attract vendors to VAMOS Unidos, and to educate court personnel about the low cap on permits.

Hagar’s House
New Orleans, LA
First Grace Community Alliance
Angela Davis

Hagar’s house is a sanctuary and transitional home for women and children. It provides a safe stable home free of violence. The first month is focused on recovery and stability, and month 2-6 focuses on employment or educational needs, including capacity building and life planning. Hagar’s House has movie night on Fridays, and the movie always provokes discussion related to social issues and change. Mondays is always a house circle where residents gather to work through house issues, celebrate each other, and make community decisions. Meetings are facilitated by residents. Staff involves residents in advocacy and community change initiatives in the community.

Old Lesbians Organizing for Change
United States – National
Mary's Pence grantee, Old Lesbians Organizing for ChangeJan Griesinger

Old Lesbians Organizing for Change was founded in 1989 for lesbians over 60 to promote old lesbian pride, challenge ageism, educate the LGBT, women’s and wider aging services community, and support and empower old lesbians. The grant will be used to support field organizing to establish OLOC chapters and partner with other organizations working on associated issues.

Reflect and Strengthen – Sisters Rising
Dorchester, MA
Roselyn Berry

A grassroots collective of working class women from the neighborhoods of Boston who take a holistic approach to creating personal and social transformation. Sisters Rising is a leadership development program that aims to

  • Create strong consensus-based processes that share responsibilities and opportunities while developing leadership potential in all members, especially those most marginalized
  • Highly develop the skills of lead organizers by attending local, national, and international trainings and conferences
  • Create opportunities to practice principles of self-determination and equity in organizing work across Boston.

Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco
Mary's Pence grantee, Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco – Instituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice

Empowerment of Indigenous Women in Bolivia, Ecaudor and Guatemala
Haledon, New Jersey

Organized a side event during the 54th Session of the United Nations Commission for the Status of Women in 2010. This allows indigenous women to come into contact with the global women’s movement to learn from others and make connections globally and from their own countries.

Still Point Theatre Collective / Rising Sisters
Chicago Illinois
Lisa Wagner-Carollo

Upon release from incarceration, women typically face myriad challenges and difficulties in resuming or transforming their lives, rebuilding their families, creating social networks, and finding work. Being branded with the stereotype of an “ex-con” only exacerbates these difficulties. Begun in 2007 with support from the Chicago Foundation for Women and Books for Women in Prison, Sisters Rising is a performance program that helps strengthen families and communities affected by the cycle of violence through providing part-time, creative work for formerly incarcerated women.

The performances and readings created by the women of Sisters Rising are intended to challenge stereotypes of incarcerated women, and inspire dialogue among audience members about the consequences of being locked up. The women of Sisters Rising are paid by Still Point to meet weekly, developing their writing and performance skills while creating performances that will be presented in churches, community organizations, schools, and many other spaces in Chicago.

Women’s Caucus for World Social Forum (FYE 2008-2009)
Washington DC

Sponsorship of travel and lodging expenses for women to participate in the US Social forum’s Women’s Working Group in October 2009. The WWG consists of voices from the peace, domestic violence, HIB/AIDS, economic justice, reproductive rights and other movements. Coordinated by Women of color United, the goal is to ensure that gender, transgender justice and LGVTQ issues are well-integrated into the planning, implementation and program of the USSF.

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North America 2008 - 2009

Fortunate Families
Rochester NY

Mary's Pence grantee, Fortunate FamiliesFortunate Families has spent the last four years developing resources and, with the help of grants from Mary’s Pence totaling $6,000, launching the Parents Voice Project.  That project included a survey of Catholic parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender daughters and sons, an analysis of that survey, and the publication and dissemination of a report of the results of the survey.  The Parents Voice Project Report reached over 1300 people.  The next step is to attend to the stability of the organization by nurturing future board members. This will require travel for training and networking. In addition, training is necessary for creating a list of individual parents who are willing to serve as “peer listeners” for parents who need an empathetic person to talk with.



North America 2007 - 2008

Alternatives with Education
St. Louis, Missouri

Mary's Pence grantee, Alternatives with EducationIncarcerated women often find that time behind bars reinforces the destructive patterns of behavior that led them there. AWE is a highly successful project that breaks the cycle by providing meditation, anger management and cognitive behavioral change programs. It also reduces the climate of violence in the jail by establishing strong relationships with correctional staff which then leads to respectful relationships between staff and women prisoners.

Casa Guadalupana
St. Paul, Minnesota

Mary's Pence grantee, Casa GuadalupanaThis “House of Hospitality” has reorganized in recent years, responding to community needs in providing shelter and basic needs to homeless families.  Guests of Casa Guadalupana receive personalized assistance through the resources of community partners and volunteer assistants.  They are then expected to participate in the ministry and work on personal and financial objectives that will improve their family situations.


Fortunate Families
Rochester NY / National

Mary's Pence grantee, Fortunate FamiliesFortunate Families provides support to Catholic parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered children. Last year a grant enabled them to conduct a survey of Catholic parents and publish the findings, “Parents Voice Project.” A grant this year will enable them to distribute the publication and create a nationwide network of parents and ministers who support and encourage each other in their efforts to become prophetic voices for justice.

InnerAction Plus, Inc.
New York

Mary's Pence grantee, InnerAction PlusAs our nation’s population ages, more and more families depend on health care workers to create a loving environment for their elderly and dying members. InnerAction Plus seeks long-term culture change in care for the aging by grounding it in a spirituality of compassion for caregivers, who are usually women. Caregivers who are supported through advocacy and training are prepared, in turn, to offer more spiritual and compassionate care to those in their care.

Las Hermanas National Assembly

Mary's Pence grantee, Las HermanasLas Hermanas is a national organization for Chicana/Latina Catholics which develops leadership and an appreciation for Hispanic culture, identity and religious expression. Through volunteer efforts the organization offers a national conference every other year, gathering women religious, migrant farm-workers, recent immigrants and working class women together in a shared experience. The Mary’s Pence grant will assure that the voices of poor Latinas will be heard at the 2007 conference in New York.

Mujeres en Tierra Sagrada

Mary's Pence grantee, Mujeres en Tierra SagradaMexican women have long struggled for equal rights and opportunities in education, nutrition and healthcare. This group believes that none of these can be overcome without a dignified home. They have begun to organize themselves, construct wells, improve housing, and advocate with the government to provide basic services. This year they will equip each home with a system to capture rainwater so women will not have to purchase or walk far distances for drinkable water.

Mujeres y Valores Project

Mary's Pence grantee, Mujeres y ValoresNow in its fifth year, this project in Omaha teaches leadership skills to Latina immigrants who often face isolation and domestic violence in their adoptive country. Participants progress from newcomers to small-group facilitators to co-presenters, becoming leaders in their homes and the community at large. In the past year, membership doubled as a result of networking in the community. The growth is encouraging the women to replicate the program in new places.

Saint Teresa Community Outreach and Empowerment
Lake City, South Carolina

Mary's Pence grantee, St. Teresa Community Outreach and EmpowermentStarted by former study grantee, Terrie Gaskins-Bryant, this ministry integrates the spiritual values of the Gospel into practical literacy, ESL and job skills classes. Last year, the project offered Spanish-language classes to local business owners. This year the project is integrating home ownership as a way of breaking the cycle of poverty and will replicate a model program from Milwaukee started by another former Mary’s Pence grantee.

Project Welcome
Omaha, Nebraska

Mary's Pence grantee, Project WelcomeThe Women’s Empowerment Project works to address the legal needs specific to Sudanese refugee women.  Services offered include legal aid and assistance with legal and immigration expenses, often needed when men of the family work toward and pay for their own citizenship process, leaving women without current documentation.  Project Welcome also offers transportation assistance, healthy mother education and support, and other needs at the refugees’ request.

Mary's Pence grantee, Traveling with the Turtle: Women's Spirituality and Peacemaking ProgramTraveling With the Turtle: 
Women’s Spirituality and Peacemaking Program

Oakland, California

This project is based on the premise that women’s spirituality is a powerful force for peacemaking; that women healing from violence and claiming their power in the world is an act for peace and justice in the face of a society that is still dominated by men and masculine values.  The board and staff of this young organization are attempting to make the program available to women with limited access to resources.

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North America 2006 - 2007

Alternatives with Education

Mary's Pence grantee, Alternatives with EducationWomen who are incarcerated often find themselves in an environment that is violent and abusive, reinforcing patterns that have kept them from breaking destructive cycles. This project guides incarcerated women as they reflect on their own self-destructive behaviors and to teaches them new ways of relating using impulse control techniques. Only one of the women who took part in this successful program last year was disciplined.


Angela's Piazza Women's Drop-in Center

Mary's Pence grantee, Angela's Piazza Women's Drop-in CenterOpened in 1998, this drop-in center in a low-income neighborhood offers hospitality to all women, especially those experiencing dislocation and poverty. Currently, 50% of the women coming to the Center are Native Americans, who face cultural obstacles to spiritual healing and overcoming addiction. This year’s grant will be used to hire a young Native American facilitator and allow her to get additional training.

Auxier Lifetime Learning Center

Mary's Pence grantee, Auxier Lifetime Learning CenterThis project seeks to empower the women of Appalachia with skills and knowledge to break the cycle of poverty. The organization has successfully taught more than 4,000 community members to use computers and given them a donated computer at the completion of the class. In this new initiative, women will learn fiber arts and basic sewing machine repair and receive a sewing machine to start their own businesses.

Fortunate Families

Mary's Pence grantee, Fortunate FamiliesFortunate Families is a new organization that provides support to Catholic parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered children. This includes the development and dissemination of educational and spiritual resources, peer counseling, days of reflection and retreats, educational workshops and presentations nationwide. They will use the grant to provide outreach to un-served and underserved areas.

Mujeres en Tierra Sagrada

Mary's Pence grantee, Mujeres in Tierra SagradaMexican women have long struggled for equal rights and opportunities in education, nutrition and healthcare. This group believes that none of these can be overcome without a dignified home and an income that allows for basic human needs. The women of this community have begun to organize themselves, construct wells, improve housing, and advocate with the government to provide basic services.


Mujeres y Valores Project and Manual Project

Mary's Pence grantee, Mujeres y Valores Project and Manual ProjectMany Latina women face isolation and domestic violence in their adoptive country. This project in Omaha teaches leadership skills as participants progress from newcomers to small-group facilitators to co-presenters. The Mary’s Pence grant will be used to assist with stipends for Latina speakers, transportation and education costs, as well as completion and translation of a manual for replication of the program.


Room for the Spirit

Mary's Pence grantee, Room for the SpiritThe Center is located in an impoverished section of St. Petersburg, where many women are raising their grandchildren. The center focuses on spirituality as the foundation for self care and stress management through support groups and retreat experiences. This year the Center is piloting “Midtown Circle of Friends” a handicraft coop aimed at providing an income while rediscovering the spiritual benefits of needlecraft.


Saint Teresa Community Outreach and Empowerment
South Carolina

Mary's Pence grantee, Saint Teresa Community Outreach and EmpowermentThis ministry was started by former study grantee, Terrie Gaskins-Bryant, in an area where female-headed households living in poverty are common and illiteracy rates are high. It integrates the spiritual values of the Gospel into practical literacy, ESL and job skills classes. The women set personal goals and objectives and also serve as the board of directors, helping to establish ministry for the community while also helping themselves.

Visitation Rural Ministries

Mary's Pence grantee, Visitation Rural MinistriesThis project reminds us that many rural women have to cope in isolation with loss of family farms, high rates of suicide, poverty, lack of services, domestic violence and depression. VRM offers training in facilitating “women’s circles” so local women can offer each other mental, emotional and spiritual support. Past circles members have been empowered to run for local office, start businesses and open Community Centers.

WOC Young Feminist Network

Mary's Pence grantee, WOC Young Feminist NetworkThe Young Feminist Network (YFN) provides a forum for young Catholic women wanting to integrate faith and feminism as they respond to God’s call. A grant last year enabled YFN to host a national “Meet-Up,” inviting a diverse group of young women to draft a common agenda and develop a five-year plan for implementation. This year, YFN will offer Anti-Oppression Training as the first step in realizing its goals.

Women’s Circle, Inc.

Mary's Pence grantee, Women's Circle, Inc.This ministry began in 1999 after canvassing African-American, Haitian and Hispanic women in Boynton Beach. All programming is in response to the women’s expressed needs, with the understanding that when a woman is empowered her family prospers as well. The grant this year will be used to enable women to get needed education, offer training in home-based industries; and purchase supplies for community gardening.

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Study Grantees 2010 - 2011

Constance Faith Goodwin (FYE 2010-2011)
Conception, MO
Study Grant

Faith works at Conception Abbey and became involved in their outreach, especially a movement called Public Square which focuses on revitalizing dying rural communities by reconnecting fragmented segments of the community. She will be working on a degree in journalism. Faith has written for Mary’s Pence eNews.



Study Grantees 2008 - 2009

Maureen Jerkowski, OSF (FYE 2008-2009)
Chicago, IL
Study Grant

Study at Forham University, a MSW with a Specialization in Immigration and Refugee work.  Maureen has lived on the US/Mexico border for 17 years.  Her pastoral work and social services have been varied.  She has worked with undocumented, the homeless, as a community organizer around human rights and immigration issues, facilitated support groups for bereavement and advocated for victims of abuse and domestic violence.  She was the Executive Director of Centro Mujeres de la Esperanza (The Center for Women of Hope). 

Social workers play a crucial role in the lives of immigrants today.  A social worker is often the first person people talk with about their immigration issues.  They gather key evidence, write detailed evaluations, and accompany clients in the legal system.    Maureen Jerkowsi would like to continue her ministry with the undocumented and immigrant community.

Renate Schneider
Chicago, IL
Study Grant

Master in Pastoral Studies at the Chicago Theological Union.  Renate Schneider has spent the last six hears in Haiti and is seeking time to reflect on her experiences and integrate them in her faith understanding.  Courses to be pursued include Crossing Cultural Boundaries: Ministry at the Margins and Christology and culture.  This will provide a deeper understand and renewed energy to continue her mission in Haiti.

Terranova, Donna-Marie
Tucson, AZ
Study Grant

Masters Degree in Pastoral Theology at St. Mary-of-the-Woods College.  Donna-Marie has an interest in Catholic healthcare, chaplaincy, mission integration (spirituality in the workplace) and retreat work.

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Study Grantees 2007 - 2008

Mary's Pence Study Grantee, Rebecca M. Berru DavisRebecca M. Berru Davis
Doctorate in Theology – Art and Religion
Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California

Rebecca has spent much of her life exploring the relationship between art, faith, and justice. She is currently seeking to continue her research in these areas by highlighting the creative activity of women living in the shantytowns of Peru. Her ongoing exhibition, Picturing Paradise, creates awareness of the women and their lives and appreciation of the art they create.

Johanna Hatch
Mary's Pence Study Grantee, Johanna HatchMaster of Arts in Pastoral Studies
Washington Theological Union, Washington, DC

Johanna has been active throughout her young adulthood in creating communities in support of women and in promoting conversations involving women’s issues. She hopes to use her future ministry to reach out to populations that have less access to counseling services and to serve as an advocate in systems they encounter.

Meredith MacDonald
Master of Divinity
Mary's Pence Study Grantee, Meredith MacDonaldJesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, California

Meredith has long felt called to work with women in prisons. She has conducted weekly meditation classes that empower women to take control of their faith lives even while facing loss of control in their physical lives. As she continues her studies, she is working to train other students in her prison ministry, as well as working with the participants to take leadership in planning and directing their own classes.

Jane Maxfield
Master of Arts in Graduate Psychology, Feminist Clinical Emphasis
Mary's Pence Study Grantee, Jane MaxfieldNew College of California, San Francisco, California

Jane has long been working toward the self-empowerment of women and the feminist perspective in spirituality and religious practice. Her experience in clinical psychology has shown her the dangers of the masculine, patriarchal paradigm that dominates the field, particularly in relationship to the fragility of many women who seek professional counseling. She hopes to teach and professionally dialogue on behalf of the feminist agenda in the field of clinical psychology in addition to continuing her direct service involvement.

Mary's Pence Study Grantee, Patricia Sullivan VanniPatricia Sullivan Vanni
Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Studies
Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California

Trish has been a highly successful marketing consultant, founding director of a ministry development center, and a teacher. She hopes to use her Ph.D. to return to college-level teaching, contributing to the discourse on how to dream new models for the realization of the vision of Jesus Christ.

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Study Grantees 2006 - 2007

Rosa BañuelosMary's Pence Study Grantee, Rosa Banuelos

Rosa has been involved with base communities in her diocese for the past 20 years and is reaching out with new initiatives to the needs of her community. She has already established a hermitage for women, programs for indigenous people relocated to urban environments, and women’s programs to strengthen families. She is now seeking the broader framework and theoretical underpinnings a degree will add to her ministry.

Rebecca Chabot

Mary's Pence Study Grantee, Rebecca ChabotRebecca is looking to transform her passion for social justice into active ministry. She distinguished herself as an undergraduate at Creighton where she coordinated SOA trips and received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Award in 2005 for writing and directing No Mas!, a dramatic performance to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Jesuit martyrs. In addition to her studies, she will be editing a compilation of essays from young Catholic feminists.


María Fidela Luna Robles

Mary's Pence Study Grantee, Maria Fidela Luna RoblesMaría has sought to live out her faith and be a positive force for change in her community from a young age. Although she lives on a poverty wage with three children to support, she is earning a teaching degree in order to help women who are trapped without an education to fight for a dignified life. She has organized “Mujeres luchando por una vida digna,” circles of support for women who work in the factory where she is employed.


Theresa Ann Yugar

Mary's Pence Study Grantee, Theresa Ann YugarTheresa has been using her Master’s degree from Harvard to educate the next generation of feminist theologians at a Catholic school in East Los Angeles. (She accompanied several of her students to a preaching institute and Mary’s Pence published their sermons in our Spiritual Reflection Program last year). After earning her doctorate with a specialization in Latina Feminist liberation theology, she hopes to teach at a university level in order to educate priests, and to be involved in parish ministry with an outreach to women. Among her considerable accomplishments, Theresa is a co-founder of the Young Feminist Network.


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Central America 2015-2016

San Benito/San Andres Health Program
“For Women, By Women”
Petén, Guatemala
San Benito and San Andres parishes have led the Health Program since 2000. Last year, the Mary’s Pence grant funded projects on primary care and women’s reproductive health run by the San Andres parish. Based on conversations during health care visits, the program identified a need for mental health services in response to domestic violence in women’s homes. As Guatemalan culture favors a personalized approach to health care, an expert from the community will serve as a mental health promoter and therapist. She will initiate in-person visits, therapy sessions, and seminars on how to counteract domestic violence.

Kateri Tekakwitha Fund
Career Development for Indigenous Guatemalan Women
Chimaltenango, Guatemala
Kay Sweeney
This project of Kateri Tekakwitha supports career development for indigenous Guatemalan women. Last year, Mary’s Pence funded Kateri Tekakwitha’s high school for indigenous Guatemalan girls; this year, funding is going toward internships for the school’s graduates. In addition to their internship placements, the girls will focus on writing resumes and practicing interview skills. This program teaches essential job skills and helps with job searches, so that the girls can put their education into action.

Asociación Empoderamiento (ASOEMPO)
Girls’ Program “Abriendo Oportunidades”
Livingston, Izabal, Guatemala
Anne M. Richey

ASOEMPO was created in 2013 to empower girls and young women living in rural Livingston, Izabal, Guatemala by providing access to secondary education and a community based after school girls' club called Abriendo Oportunidades. ASOEMPO believes that girls and young women have the possibility to create social change and to advocate for their well being if empowered to do so. Funds from Mary's Pence will help the organization continue to expand Abriendo Oportunidades, which offers vulnerable girls personal and professional development skills, mentoring, and leadership opportunities. They also educate girls on their rights and local resources.

Casita Copán
Casita Copán Women’s Well-Being Program
Copán Ruinas, Copán, Honduras
Emily Monroe

Casita Copán was founded in 2012 to nurture orphaned and vulnerable children and support single mothers. Casita Copán supports single mothers by providing them with life skills development, education, and parenting skills. They will be using their Mary's Pence Grant to further develop their Women's Well-Being Program that is designed to address specific challenges that women in this region of Honduras encounter. Some of these challenges are malnutrition, early pregnancy, illiteracy, domestic abuse, and sexual violence.

San Benito Health Program
For women, by women
San Benito, Petén, Guatemala
Cervical Cancer Screening project
San Benito, Petén, Guatemala and the surrounding rural area
Sue Hammerton

The San Benito Health Program was established in 2000 to respond to the health needs of the local residents. The health program offers primary care, and treats a variety of other health concerns such as malnutrition, diabetes, hypertension, and malaria. This organization believes that women's health is key to healthy communities. With the Mary's Pence Grant, San Benito Health Program will offer women free cervical cancer screenings and contribute to the salary of a local woman trained in community health care.


Central America 2014-2015

Adelante Mujer
Kamla, Nicaragua                                                                                                      Sr. Ann McKean, CSA           

Adelante Mujer is a Wisconsin based organization that grants university scholarships to young women who aspire to become medical doctors through URRACAN University in Kamla, Nicaragua. There is desperate need for medical care in Nicaragua; on the East Coast there is an average of one doctor for every 3,000 persons. By funding women to fill this need, Adelante Mujer not only helps the students secure their right to an education and meaningful work, but also strengthens the communities by increasing the availability of health care. Mary’s Pence funds provide Adelante Mujer scholarships for four students, including university tuition, text books, and other supplies such as stethoscopes, gloves, blood pressure equipment, and lab coats.

Central America 2013 - 2014

Asociación Empoderamiento
Abriendo Oportunidades
Livingston, Guatemala                                                                                          Anne M. Richey        

With a Mary’s Pence grant the Asociación Empoderamiento is implementing the Abriendo Oportunidades program, an afterschool program developed specifically for indigenous girls, ages 7 to 15, from rural communities in Guatemala. The program consists of two parts: a structured time that emphasizes the importance of building skills, making goals, achieving in school, and learning about human rights, and an unstructured time for crafts, sports, and sharing. In addition to engaging community leaders and parents, Abriendo Oportunidades will train girls from the community to become “lideresas” who will lead program activities, thereby promoting a cycle of empowerment.

Kateri Tekakwitha Fund
Education and Career Development for Indigenous Guatemalan Women
Chimaltenango, Guatemala
Kay Sweeney

The Kateri Tekakwitha Fund , established in 1997 in Chimaltenango, Guatemala, supports Guatemalan women finishing Secondary Education because empowered and educated women are fundamental bases for strong families and communities. Through financial support and monthly workshops, the Kateri Tekakwitha Fund is able to help support many local women’s goal of graduating from secondary school. However, it can sometimes take a year or more for these women to find jobs after they graduate. Therefore, the Kateri Tekakwitha Fund is starting an intern program to support the graduates through this difficult period by building confidence, knowledge, and preparation. The intern program will also allow Kateri Tekakwitha to conduct outreach, identify openings, and match candidates with positions to facilitate job success and sustainable financial growth in the community.

Casita Copan Inc.
Casita Copan Women's Well-being Program
Copan Ruinas, Copan, Honduras
Emily Monroe

Casita Copan is a community center in Honduras that strives to keep families together by providing services that support the communities most vulnerable: women and children. The Casita Copan Women’s Well-being Program provides necessities such as food, clean water, medicine, clothing, and educational and emotional support to 28 children between the ages of one and 12. It also offers single mothers support in life-skills development, education, and parenting skills, as well as in many other topic areas. These topic areas include: maternal and reproductive health, domestic and sexual violence, and literacy self-esteem. The Women’s Well-being Program brings together Casita Copan moms and other single mothers in the community to create a safe space where women feel connected, supported and respected to strenghten the overall community.

Central America 2012 - 2013

Water with Blessings
Tegucigulpa, Honduras and Louisville, KY
Larraine Lauter, OSU

Water with Blessings is a new nonprofit with the mission to partner with mothers and missioners to bring clean water to all God’s children. This organization partners with church and mission groups to bring the water purification equipment to communities in need. They are establishing a Women’s Leadership and Development Program to prepare women for leadership in Water with Blessings.

Central America 2010 - 2011

Esperanza en Accion
Managua, Nicaragua
Emily Hewes, Executive Director

Esperanza en Accion works to connect artisans with fair trade markets where they can sell their products at fair prices. EEA works with more than 225 artisans in 16 communities. They give artisans the tools to strengthen their small businesses through trainings and educational programs, and focuses on rural areas where poverty is sever and economic opportunities scarce.

Lazos De Amor y AmistadMary's Pence Grantee, Lazos de Amor y Amistad
Tegucigalpa, Honduras
Rosemary Smith, Louisville, KY
Church of the Epiphany

This new initiative is looking to create a local and international market for locally made necklaces formed of beads made of paper. It will provide many people with economic security and promote the common good in the community. They will use the funding to train women, reach fair trade outlets and purchase other needed equipment to expand their market.


Central America 2007 - 2008

Centro de Educación y Promoción para Salud

Mary's Pence Grantee, Centro de Educacion y Promocion para SaludWomen from three communities are working cooperatively to improve the quality of life for extremely poor women through education, alternative healthcare and economic independence. Last year, a grant allowed the group to start a women’s cooperative to create 23 different crafts from tuza—the leaves that surround the corn cob. They will build a workshop on land that was donated last year and will improve marketing for their products.

Colectivo de Mujeres El Ojoche
Mary's Pence Grantee, Colectivo de Mujeres El OjocheRespect for the environment combines with women’s development in this project that promotes the use and sale of ojoche (breadnut) flour products. The breadnut is a traditional part of the Mayan diet, high in nutritional value. Our first two grants helped the women open a bakery and a café. This third and final grant will be used to professionalize the business further by purchasing a larger oven, providing standardized training to staff and enabling it to meet national standards for distribution of baked goods.

Colectivo de Mujeres Unidas

Mary's Pence Grantee, Mary's Pence Grantee, Colectivo de Mujeres UnidasThis Colectivo evolved from Mujer y Comunidad, a former Mary’s Pence grantee that trains women in the theory and practice of alternative medicine. The group is now autonomous and its members manufacture 28 natural products. As it did last year, the grant will enable the collective to improve production as it meets Department of Health standards for the manufacture and widespread sale of cereals and natural medicines at affordable prices.

Consejo de Mujeres Indigenas Nahuat

The women of four communities will use their Mary’s Pence grant to purchase a mill to process grains and construct a shed in which to install the equipment. This will enable each woman to work in her own home to produce traditional cultural goods to sell in markets and fairs. By teaching the women how to be financially successful, this project will encourage women to participate in decisions in their communities.

El Salvador

Mary's Pence Grantee, FUSANMIDJThe Foundation for the natural health of women and children (English translation) has created the project “Strengthening the rights of women and children”, directed toward approximately 75 women and 100 children from 5 communities in rural zones and the margins of urban areas. The participants will learn to identify and resolve the problems in their communities through political action, as well and defend their rights. They then form their own women’s groups and niña-a-niño children’s groups to meet, plan workshops, create fundraisers to benefit the community, and deal with government institutions.

Mary's Pence Grantee, Grupo de Ceramistas Comunidad La NaranjaGrupo de Ceramistas comunidad La Naranja

Because of frequent droughts, families in this area of Nicaragua have difficulty providing basic grain harvests. This project encourages women to create and sell pottery as an alternative source of income. The women work together to improve products and learn management and organizational skills.



Hogar San Esteban
Mary's Pence Grantee, Hogar San EstebanGuatemala

Hogar San Esteban provides quality health care and living quarters for indigent homeless elders without family members. They also employ women of various skills to provide necessary care for the home residents. Mary’s Pence is working with the home organizers to acquire new funding strategies for the continuation of the mission.


Taller de Corte y Confeccion Mujeres de Amatitan

Mary's Pence Grantee, Taller de Corte y Confeccion Mujeres de AmatitanIn this struggling community in Nicaragua, where families live on a dollar a day, the women created a sewing cooperative five years ago to provide low-cost clothing to their community. Two previous Mary’s Pence grants enabled the women to purchase land and build their own workshop. In addition to improving their skills and crafts, this year the women will engage the community in social projects to raise awareness of their work and foster cultural and spiritual growth.

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Central America 2006 - 2007

Asociación de Productores El Ojoche

Mary's Pence Grantee, Asociacion de Productores El OjocheRespect for the environment combines with women’s development in this project that promotes the use and sale of ojoche (breadnut) flour products. The breadnut is a traditional part of the Mayan diet, high in nutritional value. A grant last year provided income for women who produce and bake with ojoche flour by opening a bakery. This year’s grant will be used to increase sustainability by opening a café next to the bakery.

Asociación para el Desarrollo y Defensa de la Mujer (APDM)
El Salvador

Mary's Pence Grantee, Asociacion para el Desarrollo y Defensa de la Mujer (APDM)The transference of land after years of war in El Salvador transpired largely though men, excluding women from the benefits of citizenship and leaving them vulnerable to economic dependency and domestic violence. This project networks women’s organizations in Suchitoto for political strength, and offers leadership training that each organization, in turn, teaches its own members.

Centro de Educación y Promoción para Salud

Mary's Pence Grantee, Centro de Educacion y Promocion para SaludThis social non-profit promotes education and permanent and viable healthcare alternatives while also encouraging women to be protagonists in transforming their own lives. This grant will be used to address the lack of income for women, mostly single mothers who live in extreme poverty, by teaching them to make crafts from tuza—the leaves that surround the corn cob.

Centro de Jovenes Nueva Generación 2000
Mary's Pence Grantee, Centro de Jovenes Nueva Generacion 2000Nicaragua

Nueva Generación is a group organized by young adults and youths from Chacaraseca community hoping to break the cycle of poverty by empowering young women. Their mission is to promote a social change in living standards for the entire community by providing work, healthcare and education programs. The grant will be used to train youths in a trade and also teach them how to run small businesses and save money.

Colectivo de Mujeres Unidas

Mary's Pence Grantee, Colectivo de Mujeres UnidasThis Colectivo was born from Mujer y Comunidad, a former Mary’s Pence grantee that trains women in the theory and practice of alternative medicine. The group is now autonomous and members manufacture 28 natural products. The goal of the group is to become stronger as a collective and to meet Department of Health standards for the manufacture and widespread sale of their cereals.


Comite de Desarrollo de las Mujeres Tejedoras Afectadas
por Tormenta Stan

Mary's Pence Grantee, Comite de Desarrollo de las Mujeres Tejedoras Afectadas por Tormenta StatSantiago Atitlán, Guatemala

This Looms and Threads Project distributes weaving equipment and materials to displaced Tzuitujil women—all survivors and refugees of the October 2005 mudslides resulting from Hurricane Stan. The project is rebuilding the community by teaching women how to sew and market products from traditional weavings for immediate income and long-term sustainability for their families.

Familias Especiales de Santa Julia Billiart

Mary's Pence Grantee, Familias Especiales de Santa Julia BilliartThere are very few services for disabled people in the rural area of Nicaragua where Familias Especiales offers support to 1,000 families a year. Their mission is not only to provide training and a source of income to disabled people and their families, but also to raise sensitivity in the community that disabled people have much to offer. The youths in the program are being trained in creating and selling their original artwork.

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South America 2016-2017


Bridges: Re-Entry Preparation Project for Women Prisoners
São Paulo, Brazil
Mary’s Pence has supported Bridges since its inception in 2013. Kathleen Bond, a Maryknoll Lay Missioner, helps women who have experienced incarceration attain agency through numerous workshops on health and skills for life post-prison. Kathleen teaches workshops that help mothers who haven’t finished their sentence build a healthy bond with their newborns. Bridges seeks financial and political support from prison administration to ensure that the program will continue advocating for systemic change within the often-dysfunctional Brazilian justice system.

Artistri Sud
Temuco, Chile
Jennifer Lonergan
Artistri Sud is a Canadian charity that microfunds female artisans in hopes of breaking the cycle of poverty. They work mainly with the Mapuche women of Chile to create a sustainable income out of the products they sell. Since receiving their first Mary’s Pence grant in 2014, Artistri Sud has continued to build capacity for women’s leadership development and economic empowerment through its Social Entrepreneurship Training and Train-the-Trainer programs. The women of Artistri Sud problem-solve in groups and spend some of their earnings towards the nutrition and education of young girls, who are often marginalized in the developing world.

Ollantaytambo, Peru
Anne Marie Toccket
Awamaki centers its mission in rural Peru. Since 2009, it has given Andean women and families access to higher income by recycling the profits from artisan products back into local businesses and community. The hand-woven textiles, knitwear and spun products are sold both within the women’s communities and in the United States through partner retailers. Awamaki’s third grant from Mary’s Pence will help the organization send two of their Peruvian staff to present their cooperative model at a U.S. symposium on the textile industry in Savannah, GA. At the symposium, Awamaki staff will share their knowledge of women’s cooperatives and experience as indigenous artisans with an international audience.

South America 2015-2016

Re-entry Preparation Project for São Paulo Women Prisoners
São Paulo, Brazil
Kathleen Bond

Bridges works with incarcerated mothers and pregnant women in the final stage before their release. Bridges combats recidivism by supporting mothers and children and encouraging the women to plan for their re-entry into society. They work with people on both sides of the system, including the prison administration in developing strategies to provide the best support for incarcerated mothers and pregnant women. Bridges began last year and Mary’s Pence looks forward to a second year of funding.

Sacred Valley Project
Enhanced Education Curriculum for Quechua Girls
Ollantaytambo, Cusco Province, Peru
Alex Ball

Sacred Valley Project is a community—oriented boarding school for girls in rural Peru. A two-time Mary’s Pence grant recipient, this year’s grant enables Sacred Valley Project to hire tutors to implement supplemental educational opportunities for girls in areas specific to their language, environment, community and culture.

South America 2014-2015

Re-entry Preparation Project for São Paulo Women Prisoners
São Paulo, Brazil
Kathleen Bond

    In 2013, Mary’s Pence provided Kathleen Bond with a study grant to learn more about prison re-entry; this year, funds will be used to help support the Bridges Re-Entry Preparation Project. Bridges is a startup organization located in São Paulo, Brazil that focuses on preparation for the successful re-entry of female prisoners into society. They offer valuable resources and support programs designed to help prisoners increase self-awareness, cope with trauma, understand their legal rights and learn about government re-entry programs. Simultaneously, the Bridges team works with important players such as the prison administration and public defender’s office to maximize their impact. Bridges aims to support and strengthen female prisoners, combating recidivism, and creating future positive role models for the women’s families and communities.

South America 2013-2014

Artistri Sud
Artistri Sud Social Entrepreneurship Training Program
Temuco, Chile
Jennifer Lonergan

    Artistri Sud collaborates with local women to create new businesses that provide a sustainable income and an improved standard of living. The ASSET program will honor the valuable traditional skills and knowledge of Mapuche women while teaching new skills such as marketing and product innovation, leadership, and group problem solving. It will build a community of women who support and empower each other as they join forces to generate a sustainable income and positively influence their families and communities.

Building a Future for Female Knitters
Rumira, Urubamba, Peru
Anne Marie Toccket

    Awamaki was founded in 2009 to provide market access to a group of 10 women weavers from Patacancha, a remote Quechua community in the Peruvian Andes. It has since grown to focus on three areas: women’s cooperatives, sustainable tourism, and community education. Awamaki last partnered with Mary’s Pence in 2011 and this year is again expanding their weaving program. “One of the most motivated and self-starting groups of women with which Awamaki has ever partnered” pooled their money to buy the land on which they will now build their knitting center. The creation of this center removes the biggest barrier to the continued success and growth of the Rumira Knitting Cooperative by providing a collective and productive space free from distractions.

ACCT - Acciones Coordinadas Contra la Trata
Coordinated Anti-trafficking Actions\
Buenos Aires, CABA, Argentina
Celeste Perosino

Acciones Coordinadas Contra la Trata (ACCT) is a new organization located in Buenos Aires, Argentina that aims to educate people in schools and educational and cultural centers about human trafficking. ACCT raises awareness around the topic through multiple channels: a website, learning manuals and lectures - all which convey the problem, language associated with trafficking, as well as thematic concepts such as exploitation, rights, empowerment and participation. ACCT is dedicated to creating societal and cultural change through the strength of educating girls and women on human trafficking because they believe in the female gender as producers of radical change in our societies.

South America 2012-2013

Sou Digna / I Am Worthy
Salvador, Brazil / Seattle WA
Nancy Bacon

Sou Digna expands the rights of poor women living in Salvador, Brazil, though job training, community development and education. The violence of Brazil’s slums is notorious. Violence in the streets becomes violence at home, resulting in the isolation and debasement of women. This grant will help support training on technology and baking, needs identified by the community.

South America 2011-2012

Asociacion DESEA Peru
Lamay and Cala Districts, Cala Province, Cusco Department, Peru
Sra. Sandra McGirr, RN, MN, Community Health Coordinator

Training and on-the-job support of illiterate and unilingual Quechua-speaking women as community health workers.  The process improves community health, provides the women training and income, and raises their status in their communities. Health workers are chosen through a community-wide consultation process.

The Con-Spirando Women's Collective
20th Anniversary
Santiago Chile
Dr. Judith Ress

Con-Spriando is a collaborative of women focused on the belief in the wisdom of our bodies, non-hierarchical ways of being, new ways to celebrate our emerging spiritualities, re-examining foundational myths, and eco feminist ethics. The group was formed in 1991 in a meeting in Santiago, Chili, and this grant will help bring the women involved back together to network and evaluate their work, and review their mission and vision.

Sacred Valley Project
Ollantayambo, Cusco Region, Peru
Montclair, NJ
Alex Ball

In 2009, the Sacred Valley Project was founded to increase access to education for the young women of the Sacred Valley in Peru. Girls and young women, especially in rural communities find it difficult to pursue educational opportunities because of transportation issues and distance from schools. The Sacred Valley Project offers girls from the communities of the Sacred Valley a chance to attend high school by providing a safe, supportive and enriching place to live as they pursue their studies. Girls in grades 7 through 11 live in a dormitory and receive career counseling, life skills, and a transition plan as they graduate from high school. The Sacred Valley Project increases the economic security of women by providing opportunity for young women to empower themselves.

South America 2010 - 2011

Mary's Pence Grantee, AwamakiAwamaki Textile Project Expansion
Ollantaytambo, Cuzco, Peru
Jessica Younker

Awamaki works for economic sustainability for indigenous Quechua women in rural Peru. They sell traditional and hand-made textiles through fair trade shops and operate a sustainable tourism program. Their goal is to expand to include groups of weavers in more isolated communities. The biggest barrier is a suitable form of transportation. Most importantly, they measure their success on how they are able to reinvest profit in the community instead of monetary profit. Mary's Pence funding will support the much needed transportation of goods to markets.

Esperanza en Accion
Managua, Nicaragua
Emily Hewes, Executive Director

Work to connect artisans with fair trade markets where they can sell their products at fair prices. EEA works with more than 225 artisans in 16 communities. They give artisans the tools to strengthen their small businesses through trainings and educational programs, and focuses on rural areas where poverty is sever and economic opportunities scarce.

Maestros sin Fronteras – Soluciones Comunitarias con Micro Consignment
Apurimac, Ayacucucho, Cusco, Huancavelica and Ica in Peru
Magaly Madrid, President

In this project of Maestros sin Fronteras women receive training, and receive needed products (such as glasses, water purification systems, stoves, energy efficient lights) on consignment. The community ‘votes’ on the needed products by purchasing and the women make an average wage of $1 to 1.50 per hour, when the average daily wage is $3. The goal is to expand the project from 30 to 100 women.

Union de Femininas – Bicycle Repair
Lima, Peru
Victoria Lucia Yaranga Duenas, President

This project seeks to empower women in the techniques to provide maintenance, repair, and assembly of bicycles and tricycles that can generate income, provide economical transportation and a cleaner environment. It also provides a space for the struggle for the rights of women and sharing of their Christian faith. The goal is to train 120 women in 6 groups of 20.



Past Grantees

South America 2009 - 2010

Camorones Cooperative – Natural Soap Project
Canton Jama, Provincia Manabi, Ecuador
Laura Randall

Working with women to create a cooperative for growing herbs, and making and marketing soap. This will help protect the environment and provide an income to local women. The target market includes local tourist hotels.

Empowering Paraiban Black Women Leaders
Joao Pessoa, Paraiba , Brazil
Ministry Grant

Mary's Pence Grantee, Empowering Paraiban Black Women LeadersTrains leaders in the areas of health, sexuality, human rights and spirituality and accompanying their facilitation of groups of women. Through a 75 hour training, using a participatory methodology, personal experiences are explored and discussion leads to social analysis where political and social factors contributing to oppression can be explored. Mary’s Pence has worked with Empower Paraiban Black Women Leaders for two previous years. In that process they have gotten increasing visibility in the city and region and have gotten many requests to expand their program.

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South America 2008 - 2009

Empowering Paraíban Black Women Leaders
Paraíba, Brazil

Mary's Pence Grantee, Empowering Paraiban Black Women LeadersEmpowering Paraiban Black Women Leaders trains leaders in the areas of health, sexuality, spirituality and women/human rights. During a year-long 80-hour training course, participants learn how to share their learned experience creatively with other women in their communities, which strengthens a chain of empowerment and solidarity. With last year’s $4000 grant they finished 70 hours of the first training course with nine women.  Two new women’s groups began in March at the intitiative of training course participants, and invitations have been received to work in two additional areas. Goals for the second year of the project include accompanying the two existing women’s groups led by first training course participants and encouraging the second training course participants to start another group.

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South America 2007 - 2008

ACCESO International

Mary's Pence Grantee, ACCESO InternationalAn all-volunteer organization, ACCESO works to assure that all people in the developing world have access to education and other basic rights guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Mary’s Pence will partner for a third and final year with ACCESO through a women’s center in Cochabamba, Bolivia, to provide the most marginalized women with educational and human rights, including free legal aid for those affected by domestic and public violence.

Empowering Paraíban Black Women Leaders

Mary's Pence Grantee, Empowering Paraiban Black Women LeadersBlack women in Paraíban are struggling to overcome poverty, racism, and violence by exploring solutions to problems in their families, communities, and beyond. This project contributes to the process by training leaders in the areas of health, sexuality, spirituality, and women/human rights. During a yearlong 75-hour training course, participants will learn how to share their learned experience creatively with other women in their communities which strengthens a chain of empowerment and solidarity.

Fundación Chulpicine

“Cinematographic Education through the Lens of Communication” is a workshop for young women. The women will be trained in cinematography and its relation to education and communication. They will then use their programs to teach young people about change and social justice, challenging the traditional perspectives of race and gender and fostering respect between different cultural, religious, and ethnic groups.

Sayari’Y Warmi Center

Mary's Pence Grantee, Sayari'Y Warmi Center, BoliviaThe Sayari’Y Warmi Center (Stand Up, Women) was established in Oruro, Bolivia to offer integral care to women victims of domestic violence and their children. Run by survivors of domestic violence, the center provides vital emergency assistance but also tackles the causes of social and economic discrimination that condemn women to a marginalized life. This ministry is networking with other Bolivian organizations to share its expertise and organize pressure on the government to strengthen women’s rights.

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South America 2006 - 2007

Asociación La Casa De La Mujer

Mary's Pence Grantee, Asociacion La Casa de la MujerThis project helps women in poor communities learn about their rights and defend themselves against the pervasive violence in their lives. The goal is to promote self-awareness through joint and individual counseling. The organization teaches women they are citizens deserving of respect and how to advocate for human rights and just development in the governance of their local communities.


Casa Nana Nagle

Mary's Pence Grantee, Casa Nana NagleCasa Nana Nagle was founded in 2004 in the shanty towns in the desert of Chile where seventy percent of the women are the primary earners for their families. Its mission is to provide education and technical training; spiritual development; and the promotion of human rights for women and children. This grant will be used for workshops in hairdressing and complementary medicine, specifically Reiki and Healing Touch therapies.

Dominican Sisters Network

Mary's Pence Grantee, Dominican Sisters NetworkThis is our third year partnering with Dominican Sisters who are networking women’s groups in Rosario around common causes. Many poor women are excluded from their rightful benefits because they are invisible and powerless, but networking has provided strength in numbers. Twenty-three organizations now work together to advocate for change, collaborate on creative fund raising and, this year, be trained in peace education.

ACCESO International

Mary's Pence Grantee, ACCESO InternationalThis all-volunteer organization works to assure that all people in the developing world have access to education and other basic rights guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Mary’s Pence will partner for a second year with ACCESO through a women’s center in Cochabamba, Bolivia, to promote women’s rights, including free legal aid for women affected by domestic and public violence.

AFYA, Women's Holistic Center

Mary's Pence Grantee, AFYA Women's Holistic CenterThis women’s health initiative trains indigenous women in herbal medicine, massage, and other holistic practices. Recently women in the community had a day to clean-up the garbage in their neighborhood. It was so successful, the women leaders asked for training in nutrition education, care of the environment, and ways to improve the local economy with the creation of small scale organic gardens.

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Study Grantee 2008 - 2009

Marie Jose Pereira
Study Grant

Entering Masters program in administration of environmental policy at the Federal University of Pernambuco (March 2009 to 2010).  Marie Jose Pereira will be researching regional and local development focusing on the ownership and use of land and their impact on Family agriculture in the municipalities of Cabo and Ipojuca. 

Background:  The process of industrial economic development of SIAPE that has generated innumerous conflicts about the use and ownership of land in the municipalities of Cao de Santo Agostinho and Ipojuca that have affected the sustainability of family agriculture in the region and consequently threatening the food security of the population in these areas.  This has also led to innumerous environmental problems especially for future generations.

Maria Jose Pereira’s is very involved in women’s and environmental work.  She is an active member of the Popular Health Center and the Roots of the Earth.  She is president of the Municipal Council of Food Security in Cabo de Santo Agostinho Pernambuco.  She has worked with a group of farmers in Ipojuca discussing environmental issues, agro-ecology , food security and cultivation of medicinal plants, including organization of the Sustainable Development Council / Local Agenda 21.

Study Grantees 2007 - 2008

Mary's Pence Study Grantee, Shannon FanningShannon Fanning
Language Study and Missionary Formation
Maryknoll Language Institute and OLASEM, Cochabamba, Bolivia

Shannon’s background in art, ministry, community building, and pastoral internship have led her to spending a missionary year in Bolivia. While there she wants to learn missionary formation directly from the women and men of Latin America.

Valeria Maria Nougués
Licenciate in Religious Studies – Masters
Mary's Pence Study Grantee, Valeria Maria NouguesCórdoba Catholic University, Argentina

Valeria has worked as a Dominican Sister in poverty-stricken areas of Argentina and Peru. She wants to continue her studies in order to deepen her understanding of women’s perspectives in the patriarchal context of the Bible. This understanding will help her work creating workshops with Dominican theologians and Dominican artists, helping to integrate art and theology to inspire the community.


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Past Grantees

Caribbean 2014-2015

Focus on Haiti
Purse Power Financial Literacy Program                                                            Gros-Morne, Haiti                                                                                                     Sr. Dale Jarvis, RSM.

The Sisters of Mercy of the Americas-Mid Atlantic received a grant from Mary’s Pence in 2013 for their Focus on Haiti project. Since that time they have made incredible progress by significantly improving the property and services of the Maison Bon Samaritan (Good Samaritan House), which provides residence and services to abandoned and elderly Haitians in the Gros-Morne municipality. Focus on Haiti believes that women are the backbone of family and community, and thus concentrate on organizing and developing women as leaders — recognizing their economic, social, and systemic impact. This Mary’s Pence grant helps fund the “Purse Power” program for women — a financial literacy and business initiative training. The program will start with 50 women of the Gros-Morne community. Funds will pay stipends for instructors and interpreters and provide much needed supplies.

Caribbean 2008 - 2009

Friends of Haiti, Inc.
Greenbay WI
Supporting Thomazeau, Haiti

created the “Manna on the Mountains” Bakery project, an economic development project that assists women in rural Haiti with the start up of a solar bakery to make and market bread for the surrounding mountain villages. With a $4000 grant, the project worked with 11 women, each of whom received an oven, baking utensils and $60 for start-up ingredients. In addition, Fonkoze, a micro credit bank, provided training in business practices and returned as volunteers to do follow up. The women began baking at their homes and were able to sell all that they made, although not always at a profit. Goals for next year include working toward a more collaborative effort among the women and visits to other places where solar ovens are used to develop more baking skills.

Sacred Heart Center

Mary's Pence Grantee, Sacred Heart Center, Cap-HaitienSacred Heart Center provides micro credit programs to women in Haiti. Thirty nine women and one man received the equivalent of 100USD to start or augment a small business, funded by a $4000 Mary’s Pence grant. After intensive training each signed a contract that stated that they would keep their capital intact and would repay the loan out of their profits based on an agreed repayment schedule. One woman died and her family insisted on repaying the loan out of the sale of her merchandise. Fifteen women and one man have repaid their loans in total out of their profits and have re-borrowed the money. The other twenty-five women are repaying their loans on schedule or have had their repayment schedule modified because of illness on the downturn in the economy. The funds requested for this year are to provide a series of interactive workshops addressing the women’s needs for learning about health, relationships, and empowerment.

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Caribbean 2007 - 2008

Friends of Haiti

The Manna on the Mountains Bakery Project will utilize solar ovens to produce bread and other fresh baked items in mountainous communities. Through the women’s group AJAD, the women of Grand Boulage will achieve increased economic stability through producing and selling bread. At the same time, local women skilled in business will serve as mentors and consultants to younger Haitian women, helping them learn business start-up and management skills.

Sacred Heart Center

Mary's Pence Grantee, Sacred Heart Center, HaitiSacred Heart Center is located in Cap Haitien, Haiti, which is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. In addition to providing social services to homeless single mothers and their children, Sacred Heart Center provides small grants to trained women to start small business. As more women become financially self-sufficient, more stable family units will be able to function independently within the Haitian society.

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Caribbean 2006 - 2007

Asosyasyon Peyizan Fawes
Mary's Pence Grantee, Asosyasyon Peyizan FawesAssociation of Peasants of the Far-West


The severe poverty of Haiti requires creative solutions from the grassroots. This project empowers women with low-interest loans to develop small businesses, and training in team development, planning and decision-making. As women grow in financial independence and knowledge of how to run a business, the Association is better able to address community-wide concerns with education, health, agricultural and development.


Mary's Pence Grantee, OADEPROPAH HaitieThis organization of ten Catholic women’s groups in Latremblay recently began a fund for women who live in extreme poverty to help themselves and each other. Through small loans and training, women are successfully starting small enterprises selling jam, processing fruits and agricultural products, raising goat and chicken and growing small gardens. A second grant this year will enable the project to reach more women.

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