Celebrating 10 Years of Grant Making: 2008-2018

McAuley Ministries proudly celebrates 10 years of grant making

“Ten years have gone by so quickly,” said Patricia McCann, RSM, a Sister of Mercy and a founding board member of McAuley Ministries, recalling the Mercy Community meeting in 2008 at which the Sisters of Mercy intentionally decided to direct 100 percent of proceeds from the sale of Mercy Hospital to establish the McAuley Ministries Foundation.

“The Sisters were firm about keeping the focus on continuing to serve the neighborhoods in which we’ve served since 1847: the Hill District, Uptown, and West Oakland,” Sister Patricia added.

Freedom Corner in the Hill District

“In this first decade, we’ve witnessed the evolution of the McAuley Ministries into a wonderful partnership with churches, service organizations, and leaders in those neighborhoods who share Sisters of Mercy founder Catherine McAuley’s commitment to improving life among our neighbors,” she added. The grant-making foundation is named in honor of Catherine’s life in service to others.

“When we began the foundation, we did exactly what Catherine did,” said Sheila Carney, RSM, a founding McAuley Ministries Board member. “We went into the neighborhoods, and we talked to the people about their needs.”

Robinson Street in West Oakland

“From those conversations emerged a set of priorities which became the basis upon which we make grants. In this way,” added Sister Sheila, “McAuley Ministries draws from the courage of its past the energy to move into the future.”

Uptown (Photo by James Simon)

Grants awarded to community partners by McAuley Ministries have supported numerous health and wellness programs, job training and employment assistance, educational support, affordable housing, sustainable gardening, and community improvement ventures.

“McAuley Ministries’ vision is to be a good neighbor whose support has contributed to neighborhoods that are safe, vibrant, and celebrated, and where residents are healthy and enabled to reach their full potential,” stated Susan Welsh, RSM, a founding board member, and chairperson of the McAuley Ministries Board of Directors.

“We can think of no better way to honor the tradition of Catherine McAuley and the Sisters of Mercy and their deep-rooted commitment and tradition of service to the Pittsburgh community,” Sister Susan added.

“It’s been a win-win story, for sure – one which fosters bright hope for future collaborations,” Sister Patricia said.

Read the McAuley Ministries 10-Year Anniversary Report to the Community, 2008-2018.

Learn more about who we are and what we fund.

View the grants we’ve awarded by year.

10 Years of Grant Making Celebration

McAuley Ministries, established by the Sisters of Mercy in 2008 and named in honor of Sisters of Mercy founder Catherine McAuley, marked 10 years of grant making in support of neighborhoods that are safe, vibrant, and celebrated with a 10th anniversary and meet-and-greet celebration for its community partners. The event was held Oct. 18 at the Elsie H. Hillman Auditorium at Kaufmann Center at Hill House Association in the Hill District.

In its first 10 years, McAuley Ministries has awarded 656 grants totaling $28.5 million.

Grants have benefited health and wellness, education, community and economic development, and capacity-building initiatives in the Hill District, Uptown, and West Oakland, and legacy ministries that serve in the tradition of the Pittsburgh Sisters of Mercy, including Pittsburgh Mercy, Carlow University, and Sisters Place.

The McAuley Ministries Founding Board of Directors. Standing, L to R: Sister Sheila Carney, RSM (chairperson); Sister Lorraine Meskowski, RSM; and Sister Susan Welsh, RSM. Seated, L to R: Sister Patricia McCann, RSM; and Michele Rone Cooper (executive director). Missing: Sister Patricia Mary Hespelein, RSM. (Photos by Micaela Young)










Community partners gather at the McAuley Ministries 10 Years of Grant Making Celebration


Guests mingle at the McAuley Ministries 10 Years of Grant Making Celebration.


McAuley Ministries Executive Director Michele Rone Cooper welcomed community partners on behalf of the McAuley Ministries Board of Directors.


Read the McAuley Ministries 10-Year Anniversary Report to the Community, 2008-2018.

Stories from Our Community Partners

In celebration of 10 years of grant making, McAuley Ministries is pleased to share stories from several of our community partners. The stories are categorized according to our grant-making priorities:

  • Health & Wellness
  • Community & Economic Development
  • Education
  • Capacity Building
  • Legacy Programs
  • Special Initiatives
    • Affordable Housing
    • Out-of-School Time
    • Workforce Development.

Stories will be updated periodically through the end of the year. We invite you to read them, share them, and check back for updates.

To submit a story for consideration, please contact us.

Health & Wellness

Fresh produce grown in a community garden in the Hill District

The Thelma Lovette YMCA

K. wanted to bring his family to the Y, but he worried about being able to afford a membership and also about communicating with staff regarding his family’s economic situation. K. is deaf and has a limited income. K. talked to the operations director, who gave him a tour, outlined his options, and communicated with him in a way that made him feel comfortable enough to disclose his financial information. K. qualified for the McAuley Ministries subsidy and was able to sign up his family as members.

“K. and his family participate in the gardening program and swim in the pool together during open swim time.”

Venture Outdoors

A new participant at the Jeron X. Grayson Community Center, G., is 12 years old and recently started eighth grade. During a hike at the Frick Environmental Center, G. was very engaged, asked questions about the trail and Venture Outdoors, and led his group on the trail with the trip leaders. His leadership had a significant impact on the hike and helped make it a great experience.

“As the trip leader commented, ‘This trip was wonderful. The group was good, and they worked together in motivating each other on the hike and had lots of fun.'”

Youth enjoying a horseback riding excursion with Venture Outdoors

G.’s favorite trip was horseback riding. His horse’s name was Dart. He even had a chance to run with the horse after he felt comfortable enough. He didn’t let a broken arm in a cast stop him. He also really enjoyed kayaking.

Youth prepare for a Venture Outdoors kayaking excursion

“I was scared at first. I went with one of my friends who wanted me to go with him. The kayak and the river were bigger than I thought they would be. I thought he was going to tip it over, so I chose to kayak with someone else. I want to kayak again.”

Health & Wellness (Affordable Housing)

Nazareth Housing

M., 56, lives alone in a row house she purchased in 1997. She has a sister, a brother, and a nephew, but no other immediate family. She is disabled with severe anxiety, fibromyalgia, and sleep apnea. She earned a Master of Social Work degree.

Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh works on home repairs for a Hill District home owner.

She worked until her illness in 2008. She receives medical treatment, but has no expectation of ever returning to work. Her income is $1,860 per month.

“We combined forces with Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh and made critical repairs to her roof and box gutters, pointing, basement and kitchen doors, and bathroom plumbing.”

Community & Economic Development

Hill Community Development Corporation

N. lived with her mother and young daughter in public housing for most of her life. N., a Hill District 100 participant, was able to purchase a beautiful home on Webster Avenue near the former Robert L Vann Elementary School, now St. Benedict the Moor School. N. was able to secure substantial subsidy from the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh along with a traditional mortgage from one of our banking partners.

“As of July 2018, N., her mother, and daughter are residents of a single-family home. N., the homeowner, has created a new path forward for the next generation!”

Grounded Strategies

ReClaim Central Ambassadors

We (Grounded Strategies) recruited 11 passionate Hill District residents to work alongside us to learn about vacant lots, how to work with the City of Pittsburgh, and design and implement their ideas to create beautiful community green spaces.

While attending a public meeting through the Choice HUD planning process, five ReClaim Central Ambassadors showed up to ask questions about the process. Not only were the Ambassadors present, but also they were fully engaged and asked great questions. After the meeting a representative running the public meeting pulled the Grounded Strategies staff aside and asked if we had sent the Ambassadors to the meeting with prepared questions. The answer was: we had not.

Cat’s Corner after the clean-up

“This example shows the strength of our Ambassadors and how this program helped them find their voices on matters that affect their communities.”

Community & Economic Development (Workforce Development)

Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh

T. grew up in the Hill District and was recommended to the Jobs First program from a fellow Hill District resident and Jobs First foreman. T. began with Rebuilding Together Pittsburgh (RTP) in November 2017. In his time with RTP, he has been a very reliable and hard worker. T had a goal to join the Carpenter’s Union and is very close to completing that goal. After successfully passing his math competency test and interview process, he is finishing the final paperwork.

“T. was hired by Jendoco Construction to work on the Hazelwood Green site.”


Macedonia Family and Community Enrichment (FACE) Center

Last school year, Macedonia FACE became involved with a female freshman student at Pittsburgh Milliones (University Prep) who was referred because she had developed a consistent pattern of tardiness and absenteeism. Upon assessing the family, FACE staff learned that this teen had been abused by her biological parents. As a result, their parental rights were terminated. The teen was adopted by her aunt and transferred to University Prep. Because the teen was unfamiliar with the community and had to walk to school, she was not motivated to regularly attend school. The FACE truancy prevention coordinator continued to work with the teen and her family. The teen was referred to a mentoring program at the University of Pittsburgh. She continued to be involved with the mentoring program and the FACE program.

“The last quarter of the school year, she made honor roll and was featured in an article due to her improvement.”

Education (Out-of-School Time)


Several Future Makers at The Citizen Science Lab 

M., a quiet 8th grader, attended a Future Makers presentation at a Hill Youth Partnership for Enrichment (HYPE) partner location in December. He braved below-freezing temperatures to attend the first Maker Day in January. During the first few workshops, M. kept to himself, though he always participated in the activities. Slowly, M. began to open up and engage more with the staff and other students. M. responded to every message and would get up early on Saturday mornings, regardless of the temperature, to attend the workshops. In fact, M. attended every 7th-9th grade workshop offered and learned something new at each Maker Day. M. loves learning, and he enjoyed all of the opportunities that Future Makers provided. In particular, he excelled at the Techno Teens Robotics Challenge, loved the Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) workshop, and was especially proud to share his new résumé with his mother.

“The Maker Days opened his eyes to hands-on, engaging, real-world careers that he previously had not been exposed to in his school.”

M. expressed an interest in participating in Shool2Career (S2C) and, in June, visited S2C with his mother. His experiences in Future Makers workshops were just the beginning steps to building his very bright future.

Capacity Building (General Operating Support)

Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise (PACE): Executive Coaching Program

J. is the chief executive of a nonprofit organization. She had been in her job only three months when she was selected for Cohort II of the Executive Coaching program. The fact that the program was free was crucial since as a new employee, she was reluctant to ask her board of directors to fund her professional development.

“’To have this opportunity without the financial aspect as a barrier was awesome,’ said J.”

J. was matched with a Texas-based certified coach whose practice specialty is assessing leadership strengths.

“The coach helped J. to identify her top attributes and strategize how to work with her 28 employees, including seven direct reports. The sessions also helped J. to identify her own leadership style.”

Living in different cities, they met mostly through 90-minute, online technology sessions and the coach traveled to Pittsburgh once for an in-person session with J. and others on her team. Additionally, J.’s organization participated in the Program to Aid Citizen Enterprise Intensive Services (PACE IS) Program. Because J. had gone through coaching, she wanted to provide the same opportunity and experience to her team. They are utilizing the capacity-building IS grant funds to hire a local coach to provide group and individual coaching.

Uptown Partners of Pittsburgh

“On behalf of the deaf community, Uptown Partners of Pittsburgh advocated for and secured from the city street bollards as a traffic-calming measure at the busy intersection of Forbes Avenue and Gist Street.”

The dangerous corner previously was the site of an average of 15 motor vehicle accidents yearly. We hosted two meetings with residents and neighboring businesses, Pittsburgh Association of the Deaf, Pittsburgh City Planning, the City Traffic Department, Zone 2 Police, and the Port Authority to identify feasible solutions, in addition to the street markings and signs that Uptown Partners secured over the past several years.