Seeding a Legacy of Healing

Seeding a Legacy of Healing

Seeding a Legacy of Healing's goal is to invest, or seed, the funds received when FSPA transferred its partnership with Mayo Clinic into collaboration—into making something good happen. All sisters are eligible to present a Seeding a Legacy of Healing proposal to an internal committee for consideration, considering this criteria:

- Four or more sisters determine a project for funding.
- The Franciscan value of "relationship" must be operative.
- Address broad global/national or local concerns.
- Recipient must be a non-profit organization.

To date, Seeding a Legacy of Healing has established relationships with more than 30 organizations. The impact is greater than $6 milllion over the next three years.

Seeding a Legacy of Healing Relationships

St. Maria Goretti, a Catholic grade school in Uganda

This story is told and produced by representatives of St. Maria Goretti. It was shared with FSPA and, with permission, is shared with you.

St. Maria Goretti is a community Catholic grade school in Kyojjomanyi village, Mubende District in Central Uganda. They produced and submitted this video to share the story of "community members coming together to build up the school of their own." 

The school has eight permanent classroom teachers and four staff members. It is on two hectares of land donated by Mr. Ssenoga Experito, one of the village elders. There are two unfinished buildings on the school campus with a total of five classrooms, principal’s office and a staff room. These have been built in the period of nine years with the help of community members coming together to build a school of their own. St. Maria Goretti not only provides education but is also a home to 150 orphaned and disabled children from Kyojjomanyi and other surrounding villages. This school has given meaning to these children’s lives and brightened their future.

The relationship between FSPA and St. Maria Goretti School is through Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Katie Mitchell, who  is on the FSPA Formation Team and teaching faculty at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. She works directly with the seminarians from Uganda. Father Peter Walusimbi is one of her students. Sister Katie is in close communication with him and other priests in this village and has spent time there.

Hope Restores

Congratulations to Hope Restores, recipients of the 2023 National Education Association's prestigious Reg Weaver Award. Watch WXOW TV 19's full story: NEA honors Hope Restores with prestigious national award.

Also available ... "We feel like we've gained a sister, said Tashyra Bernard from Hope Restores in a WXOW News 19 story that includes Sister Karen Neuser. "It's been just really, really beautiful, the relationship that we've been able to foster."

Franciscan Sister of Perpetual Adoration Karen Neuser- Hope Restores

This bond is blossoming between FSPA and Hope Restores, an organization “founded to “… support, advocate, listen, and bridge the gap between African Americans in our [Western Wisconsin] community.” Committed to “celebrate authentic unity in diversity by challenging our white privilege and working toward equity and inclusion of all,” FSPA jumped at the opportunity to support Hope Restores with a $200,000 Seeding a Legacy of Healing grant each year for three years.

Get more information about FSPA's staunch commitment to eradicating systemic racism on our Justice and Peace Anti-Racism Vision page.

LULAC Denison Chapter

The Denison (Iowa) chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens has started a new legal aid fund to assist minorities in the community. “With legal fees, there are always language barriers and the applications are complex. It can be overwhelming for these individuals to apply for legal assistance," said LULAC Denison President Alma Puga. Read "LULAC Denison creates legal aid fund" Learn more about LULAC here.

Black Leaders Acquiring Collective Knowledge

BLACK works to empower and elevate the Greater La Crosse Black Community through innovative leadership, education and advocacy. Executive Director Shaundel Spivey's10-minute Tedx talk’s message: “You can’t do true authentic equity work without doing work on you first. As we strive to build an equitable and loving community, we have to imagine the work differently. To do this we must truly examine ourselves and the roles we all play in the perpetuation of this inequitable community we live in.” Shaundel provides a visible reminder of how to build an equitable community.

Mashkiiziibii (Medicine River) Culture Revitalization and Youth Center in Bad River

As reported in ITC, "The sisters recently donated $250,000 toward the establishment of the Mashkiiziibii (Medicine River) Culture Revitalization and Youth Center in Bad River." Read "Our ancestors risked their lives and freedom."

Economy of Francesco

The Pope’s letter struck a chord with us: we felt called to play a role in giving a “soul of the economy of tomorrow,” particularly in the realm of finance. We first set out to re-examine our current social-political realities and ask ourselves how we could better integrate our spiritual heritage, formation of conscience and work with investors. We have been students of heterodox economic schools of thought pointing to a new praxis through things like cooperative enterprises and solidarity. We also recognize the conventional logic that is so deeply entrenched in our dominant training and ways of working, particularly in finance and investing. Read "Economy of Francesco: 'Soul of the economy of tomorrow.'"

Kino Border Initiative (KBI)

Kino Border Initiative is a bi-national organization located in Nogales, Arizona, United States of America and Nogales, Sonora, Mexico. They provide humanitarian aid, advocacy and education to migrants on both sides of the border. Kino Border Initiative focuses on promoting humane immigration policies and addressing the root causes of migration. They offer services such as meals, shelter, clothing and medical assistance to migrants, as well as legal support and advocacy for their rights. Learn more about Kino Border Initiative on their website. 


WAFER is the largest food pantry serving all of La Crosse County and nearby La Crescent, Minnesota. The pantry serves about 1300 families monthly. For the past decade, WAFER's Board of Directors has searched for a new facility to relocate operations. On June 15, 2022, the organization formally announced its plans to rejuvenate a building on La Crosse's Northside.  And on May 15, 2023, the dream becomes reality as in-person shopping opens in WAFER's renovated building!  Watch "WAFER Food Pantry hosts open house for new facility ahead of May 15 launch to learn more and see inside."

The Good Fight

The Good Fight is a community center providing youth with a safe environment to develop personal goals. "'What I hear from a lot of my friends who are parents is that consistency is important,' said Thomas, executive director of The Good Fight Community Center in La Crosse. The Good Fight is getting help on that front. The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration Wednesday announced a grant of nearly $100,000 to help the center bolster the consistency of its youth development team. The grant will fund three part-time youth development coordinators for the next three years." Read "Franciscan Sisters help La Crosse youth center fund consistent staff."

WIZM News: "Good Fight club has nuns in its corner"
WXOW News 19: "Franciscan Sisters award The Good Fight with a $100,000 grant"
WKBT News Channel 8: "Franciscan Sisters contribute to La Crosse's The Good Fight"

NETWORK, advocates for justice, inspired by Catholic Sisters

NETWORK is a Catholic leader in the global movement for justice and peace, educates, organizes and lobbies for economic and social transformation. "I’m excited to share with you a brief video sharing some of the highlights of our work made possible by FSPA’s grant support, featuring our four new staff members who started this year." - Maggie Brevig, NETWORK

Juanita Sims Doty Foundation

The Juanita Sims Doty Foundation is positively impacting the lives of children, specifically children of color, through mentoring, youth development, health, education and advocacy and the overall wellness of the family. "When we were awarded the funding, I felt joy, relief and gratefulness all at once, crying at least a week straight. This grant would support youth and families we serve, as well as the racial-equity arm of our foundation. The grant and every step leading to it are wonderful representations of God’s divine faithfulness and the intercession of our ancestor, Sister Thea Bowman." Read "Sister Thea inspires FSPA relationships and legacies of healing."

"In November 2018 on their way to the Diocese of Jackson, Mississippi, for the opening of Sister Thea Bowman's cause for canonization, Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration Marla Lang, Helen Elsbernd and Eileen McKenzie had a chance encounter with Karla McCullough, the executive director for Juanita Sims Doty Foundation (JSDF). That chance encounter at the airport led to the beginning of a relationship that today has resulted in a $600,000 FSPA investment in JSDF's mission to disrupt the dehumanization cycle and empower black youth." 

Bakhita Mountain Home

Bakhita Mountain Home creates community where love heals, restores and empowers. "FSPA understands ending modern-day slavery will require a multi-pronged approach, including educating, reporting and advocacy along with healing its victims. That’s why the congregation was quick to approve Seeding A Legacy of Healing grants for the organizations. The support will seed an endowment for sustainability and expand transitional housing for Dawn’s Place, adding two bedrooms to its transitional housing unit, and help cover Bakhita Mountain Home operational costs." Read "Seeding a Legacy of Healing: helping exploited women build healing relationships."

Family & Children's Center

Family & Children's Center serves thousands of individuals and families every year, helping them enjoy happier, healthier relationships. Sister Julie Tydrich, past board member and finance chair of the Family & Children’s Center in La Crosse, shared her experience on Newsmakers, a weekly news talk show of the Wisconsin Public Radio. During this interview, Sister Julie discussed FSPA’s gift and why the congregation believes so strongly in supporting the operating costs of this local organization. Listen to the episode of Newsmakers and read "Franciscan Sisters grant $1.1 million to Family and Children's Center."

WKBT News Channel 8 and WXOW News 19 also shared the story. Click the following links to learn more:
WKBT News Channel 8: "FSPA gives $1.1M grant to La Crosse's Family & Children's Center"
WXOW News 19: "Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration announce a major grant to Family & Children's Center."


"CADA is a private, nonprofit organization, a Community Action Agency, whose mission is to assist low-income citizens achieve self-sufficiency and a better quality of life. A recently donated $25,000 grant from the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, based in Wisconsin, is helping CADA address those issues. CADA is using the funds to create Project Choices, a program that works with participants to create individual plans to become self-sufficient — wherever the participant is in northeastern North Carolina and in life." Read "Doing it for their hearts, doing it from God."

Northside Community Garden / School District of La Crosse

The student-run garden brings the classroom outdoors. "Northside Elementary/Coulee Montessori students, the Logan Northside Neighborhood Association, and the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration joined forces to seed a legacy of learning and share the benefits of healthy living with the creation of a new school garden. These relationships and this garden began to develop when the reality of food insecurity was identified in La Crosse's northside neighborhoods." Read "New student-run community garden at Northside/Coulee Montessori."

WKBT News Channel 8 has also shared two stories about the grant that track the evolution of the garden:
"New community garden installed at Northside Elementary in La Crosse
"New garden at Northside Elementary in La Crosse to help grow learning opportunities" 

A fall festival was held at Logan Northside Neighborhood Garden program's fourth location, La Crosse Fire Department's Station No. 4, celebrating the heritage of learning, healthy living and care for creation that’s grown from it — all sown by the FSPA Seeding a Legacy of Healing grant. The La Crosse Tribune shared an announcement of the festival.

St. Anthony Spirituality Center

St. Anthony Spirituality Center is a special place of spirituality, peace and hospitality. It is a community welcoming all seeking healing, hope and transformation. "Late last year, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in La Crosse gave St. Anthony's a 'Seeding a Legacy of Healing' grant. Their community's generosity funded technology upgrades needed for virtual programming and will support our program development for years to come. The grant will allow us to carry on their legacy of healing and hope along with our mission of providing opportunities for deeper connection with God, Self, Others, and Creation." 

People Incorporated

People Incorporated serves people with mental illness through integrated behavioral and mental health services. "In 2020, the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration joined us in this effort by providing a transformational gift that will allow People Incorporated to expand this important work. This gift will support the growth of our Service to Community programming, so essential to community health and wellness, while also supporting training efforts in the areas of cultural understanding and awareness, and the development of career pathways in the mental health field for individuals of diverse backgrounds desiring such." Read "Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration Help People Incorporated Look to the Future."

Seeding a Legacy of Healing FAQs

Q. How long is Seeding a Legacy of Healing initiative?
A. FSPA Seeding a Legacy of Healing Team completed the grant cycle for 2022-2024. That was the last granting cycle until 2025 when again all sisters will be invited to consider their relationships with non-profit organizations and how a Seeding a Legacy of Healing partnership could address a global, national or local concern.

Q. How can my non-profit apply for a Seeding a Legacy of Healing investment?
A. Seeding a Legacy of Healing is not a traditional grant program. It is an internal initiative that allows sisters the chance to build upon existing ministry partnerships they have with non-profit organizations.

Q. Is this FSPA's first effort toward becoming a foundation?
A. FSPA is not a foundation. We have a long-standing tradition of wisely stewarding our resources and investing our means as allowed, time, talent and financial resources, back into global, national and local concerns. The FSPA Ministry Grant program started in 1993 and since then has invited both sisters and our affiliates to make investments into partnering organizations. The Ministry Grant program continues alongside Seeding a Legacy of Healing.

Q. FSPA says Seeding a Legacy of Healing addresses broad global/national or local concerns: is this mostly La Crosse based?
A. The seeds are planted in places that sisters have been ministering. Seeds are planted in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Washington, D.C., Mississippi, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, Washington, Arizona, Illinois, Africa and Canada.


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