In the investment world, "angel investors" are those who provide the first financial backing for entreprenurs and their fledgling companies. That title seems doubly appropriate for St. Paul-based Mary's Pence, an organization formed by women of faith to fund women's economic development projects in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.
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Gaby Bandini, new ESPERA Business Facilitator, was recently interviewed for an article in La Voz Latina, a Spanish language newspaper for the Latino community in St. Paul and Minneapolis where Mary’s Pence offices are located. We have translated the article here for your convenience. You can click here to read the original article in Spanish.
Gabriela Bandini, New Business Facilitator for Mary’s Pence
By Leonor Villasuso
Translated by Grace Garvey-Hall
Located in St. Paul, MN, the organization Mary’s Pence works to fund projects that benefit women who lack resources in six countries on the American continent and the Caribbean with the goal of contributing to the betterment of their physical, social and economic conditions – to date there are a little over 900 women participating across the ESPERA Program (Economic Systems Providing Equitable Resources for All). Mary’s Pence donates money to the nine groups of women they work with, and the women take out loans that they use to start agricultural or artisan projects or small shops.
Many of the participants are illiterate, which is why it is especially important that they have someone who can teach them accounting, budgeting and marketing, and why Mary’s Pence has recently hired Gabriela Bandini (Meixco, Federal District, 1983) as the Business Facilitator for the ESPERA Program which operates in Meixco, Central America and Haiti.
Read the rest of the article here.
WATER WITH BLESSINGS received a grant from Mary's Pence this year. They work with parish partners to provide water filtration systems to marginalized communities around the world. Read their recent press coverage here.
This March, for the very first time, Mary’s Pence
gathered representatives from ESPERA groups across Central America,
Mexico and Haiti. Participants gathered in Guatemala, and included the
coordinators of local funds from 6 countries, women who participate in
the lending pools, and representatives of Mary’s Pence board and staff.
The theme was “Our Dreams Under the Same Sky” and the purpose was to share experiences with ESPERA, commit to goals for ESPERA for local programs, and identify ways to collaborate across this network of amazing women. Read about the Encuentro/Gathering in our newsletter, and visit the Mary’s Pence facebook page to see more pictures.
Mary’s Pence hosted a workshop at the national Call to Action Conference in Louisville, KY in November 2012. The workshop, The New Dynamics of Solidarity: Stories and Strategies of Women in Latin America, included a panel of speakers working with ESPERA in El Salvador:
April 28, Chicago, IL: Mary's Pence history is inextricably linked to the Sisters' communities of LCWR. At our 25th Celebratation, Mary's Pence made this statement in support of the Sisters and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
Mary's Pence celebrated 25 years this April! We gathered in Chicago for a celebration of Mary's Pence women and our collective work. Featured guests included founding mothers Edwina Gateley and Maureen Gallagher, and Mary's Pence grantee Still Point Theater Collective.
Renate Schneider is one of the recipients of The Sister Thea Bowman Humanitarian Legacy Award. Renate is the liaison to Mary's Pence's ESPERA Program in Haiti. More information about the award and ceremonies here.
The National Catholic Reporter highligted Mary's Pence in its Sepember 2, 2011 issue. Read about the founding of Mary's Pence in 1987, and about several recent grantees, including Community of the Beloved in Asheville NC, WHEEL in Seattle Washington and Awamaki in Patacancha Peru.Look in your upcoming issue. Read the full article here.
Gilda Larios lives in Mexico City, and has a long history of working with refugees on projects supporting rural women as they strive for economic self sufficiency. Gilda was highlighted in the February 2011 issue.
On June 17, 2011 Gilda Larios, Mary's Pence ESPERA Fund Facilitator from Mexico City and Katherine Wojtan, Mary's Pence Executive Director spoke at Mary House, the Catholic Worker House in NYC. An inquiring group learned about our work in Latin America, Mexico and Haiti. The audience deeply valued making financial resources available to women, and a lively discussion ensued related to interest vs fees for financial services.
Mary's Pence hosted a spring retreat in New York City on May 24th, 2011. Judy Schiavo, a spriritual director, lead the retreat, using readings by Dorothy Day, Ada Maria Isasi-Diaz, and Maya Angelou. After the reflection we will shared a simple meal and heard from those involved in a ministry supporting women, including some Mary's Pence grantees.
We shared the message of Mary's Pence at the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. Board members Rosa Castillo and Sr. Judy Molosky organized the effort, supported by volunteers. A donation from Marisa Antonini made our participation possible. Approximatly 40,000 people attend this event.
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