Grantmaking Principles

The following principles guide McAuley Ministries’ grantmaking decisions:

  • We believe that the largest proportion of our resources should be used to assist under-resourced communities. We have specifically targeted the Hill District, Uptown, and West Oakland, neighborhoods of Pittsburgh where the Sisters of Mercy have ministered and where there is persistent poverty and the personal and social ills which accompany it. Grantee organizations must sponsor programs or projects that specifically target these neighborhoods. A minimum of 25 percent of the applicant’s clients must reside in the Hill District, Uptown, or West Oakland. This threshold also applies to organizations with offices located in the target neighborhoods.
  • We believe that a portion of our resources should be used to sustain and strengthen programs that are sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy in Southwestern Pennsylvania. We have specifically targeted the programs of Pittsburgh Mercy and Mercy-sponsored ministries.
  • We believe in supporting nonprofit organizations that have limited financial resources and limited access to financial resources. Our priority is to establish funding partnerships with organizations with budgets that are less than $50 million and/or with assets less than $75 million.
  • We believe in supporting initiatives that meet immediate basic human needs, such as wellness initiatives, housing, and food.
  • We also believe in supporting transformative initiatives that assist our neighbors in becoming self-sufficient and enabled to achieve their God-given potential.
  • We believe that environment is important. Blight leads to despair while healthy and attractive environments engender hope. We believe in supporting initiatives that result in such environments — quality schools and academic supports that help our children achieve; quality housing where people of all income levels can live; green neighborhoods; community art and culture; and local small businesses where residents can work and shop.
  • We believe in engaging historically under-represented people in both developing and executing strategy.
  • We believe that all people and all communities have assets and/or strengths which can be leveraged and from which change can happen. We also acknowledge that challenges exist in under-resourced communities — health care and educational disparities, blight, a lack of employment opportunities, distressed families, poverty, and violence — and that the challenges cannot be ignored. We believe that the solutions must come from within the community in order to realize positive and sustained change.
  • We value diversity and inclusiveness and believe that the best solutions are discovered by listening to diverse perspectives. We expect our nonprofit partners to reflect diversity in leadership, staffing, and governance.
  • Our preferred approach to planning, development, and implementation is through collaboration. We believe in sharing knowledge and lessons learned between and among McAuley Ministries and our nonprofit partners.
  • We believe that resources for community-building are limited. We will avoid funding projects that duplicate existing programs unless there is a clear need for additional services. Our preferred approach is to strengthen existing nonprofit providers in the community so that they have the capacity and resources to lead social change and provide community benefit.
  • We believe that we must be courageous by providing a portion of our resources to test unchartered territory with organizations that may not have a long track record, but which demonstrate creativity and the potential for breakthrough initiatives.

“The simplest and most practical lesson I know…is to resolve to be good today – but better tomorrow.”
– Catherine McAuley