André House director Fr. Tom Doyle, CSC, addresses those gathered at the Catholic Leadership Circle award ceremony May 8 at Mount Claret Retreat Center. (Courtesy of CCF)
Catholic Leadership Circle

Membership in the Catholic Leadership Circle is currently open for the next grant cycle which will begin with a kickoff reception in the fall of 2018.


Members of the Catholic Leadership Circle awarded $130,086 to seven charitable Catholic organizations in the Diocese of Phoenix at a grant awards ceremony held May 8 at Mount Claret Retreat Center.

The organizations receiving grants represented a cross-section of Catholic charitable and evangelical outreach:

  • Life Teen received funding for a project to empower Hispanic communities to build, implement, and sustain vibrant Catholic youth ministry.
  • St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School was awarded a grant titled “Play is FUNdamental” to provide outdoor play equipment and sports team uniforms.
  • Catholic Charities received support for the Cedar Rose Shelter that provides emergency shelter services for families in Flagstaff.
  • The award to Restore Dignity will provide resources for extended outreach and retreat scholarships for survivors of abuse and trauma in the Hispanic community.
  • The other organizations awarded grants were the Franciscan Renewal Center, Maggie’s Place and St. Joseph the Worker.
The Catholic Leadership Circle of the Diocese of Phoenix Catholic Community Foundation awarded $33,000 to Restore Dignity. (Courtesy of CCF)

During the ceremony Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted shared with attendees the spirituality of a remarkable 20th century Catholic woman named Carryl Houselander. Bishop Olmsted highlighted Houselander’s love for the poor, whom she named “the lovely least.” He also brought attention to her brilliant writing which champions the charitable value of work one does for a living and joins the three elements of work, charity and service, which reflects the structure of the Catholic Leadership Circle.

The Catholic Leadership Circle is a collective grant-making program of the Catholic Community Foundation for the Diocese of Phoenix. Its members turn the fruits of everyday labor into gifts of charity that in turn support works in the areas of Arts and culture, evangelization and the sanctity of life, health and wellness, teachers and youth programs, and work among the poor in the Diocese of Phoenix.

“The Catholic Community Foundation initiated the Catholic Leadership Circle four years ago to generate larger, more impactful grants,” said Catholic Community Foundation CEO Dcn. James Carabajal. “But even better than the higher dollar grants, the Catholic Leadership Circle also mentors the fundraising skills of our Catholic agencies and connects the Circle’s members with closer, more meaningful experiences with the charitable programs they are supporting.”

The Catholic Leadership Circle of the Diocese of Phoenix Catholic Community Foundation awarded $20,000 to Life Teen. (Courtesy of CCF)

To join the Catholic Leadership Circle, individuals, couples or families contribute $1,000, $2,500 or $5,000, based on the membership level they choose, which is pooled with funds generated by several endowments of the Catholic Community Foundation. New this year, a $500 option for those under 35 will be available beginning June 1. In an annual process, Catholic parishes, schools and charitable agencies throughout the Diocese of Phoenix may apply for a grant. Finalists are invited to complete a mentoring process to hone their proposals which are then presented as two-minute pitches to the Circle members. Grant recipients are determined by the members through a ballot vote.

“The entire granting process is highly interactive for both the applicants and the Catholic Leadership Circle participants,” said Catholic Leadership Circle member Christy O’Gara. “I really appreciate hearing firsthand about the moving and diverse work our Catholic organizations are engaged in and making thoughtful decisions about how our funds can have the deepest impact in our community.”