2018-19 Report of the Board Chair to the 5th Annual Meeting of Members of The Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation

I am pleased to present this report for the period June 18, 2018, to June 26, 2019, to the Annual meeting of members of the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation (Foundation).

Board members as of June 26, 2018 are: Rita Janes, Chair (appointed director January 2015); Neysa Finnie, Vice-Chair (appointed director January 2015); Becky Kallal, Secretary (appointed director January 2015); Irene Lefort, CWL Appointee (appointed director November, 2016), Irene Dayler (appointed director January 2017); Adrienne Castellon (appointed director January 2017); Diana Wielgus (appointed director January, 2018); Theresa Schopf (appointed director January, 2018).

The work of the Foundation Board is directed by the mission of the Foundation, “to fund leadership education that inspires Catholic women to be transformational and influential leaders where they live, work and volunteer” and our vision of a “  just, merciful, and compassionate world nurtured by the genius of women”. 

The Foundation was incorporated in 2014 under the Canada Not-for-Profit Corporations Act and as a private foundation under the Canadian Income Tax.  By-Laws for the Foundation was approved by the Board and registered with Industry Canada in 2016.

Gift agreements were made between the Foundation and the Daly Foundation (Sisters of Service)  for $500 000 in 2015  and between the Catholic Women’s League of Canada for  $500 000 in 2016 and  $350 000 was restricted from each fund.

Structure and Administration of the Foundation Board

The Board operates within its Articles of Incorporation (2013) and approved By-Laws( 2016). Meetings are held monthly by conference call and/or as deemed necessary.  One two-day face –to–face meeting is held during the year.  This year this meeting was held in Toronto, February 2019.  At this meeting Board Committee Chairs were approved:

Governance – Rita Janes; Finance – Diana Wielgus;   Program –  Rita Janes; Fund Development – Neysa Finnie; Communications – Theresa Schopf; Selection – Linda Dayler; Nominations – Adrienne Castellon.  Becky Kallal serves as secretary for the Foundation.  All Committees are encouraged to form committees to include people not presently sitting on the Board.

In 2018, the Board signed a three-year contract with ManageWise, a company who will handle a portion of the part-time administrative duties of the Foundation, assist with fundraising and donor recognition, the website and social media. We agreed to continue with this contract for another year.  During 2019-20, Diana Wielgus will review the contract along with other Board members who access their services regularly so that changes can be made as necessary.

We are especially grateful to Betty Anne Brown Davidson, past CWL National Chair, for volunteering her services to receive and receipt all donations, along with sending thank you letters to all donors. Betty Anne deposits all monies received, pays all expense claims, and communicates with the Treasurer on a regular basis.  A special thank you to Betty Anne.

Fund Development

In June 2018, the Foundation completed its fundraising contract with the consulting firm of BNP Philanthropic. Consideration was given to a proposal from BNP to be a consultant for a Planned Giving Program but the Board decided it would not contract these services with BNP. Planned giving would become the responsibility of the Foundation Fund Development Committee, chaired by Neysa Finnie, as would other fund development initiatives of the Foundation, such as fundraising and donor recognition. A more comprehensive plan for fund development will happen when the Board schedules a Strategic Planning session in the 2019-20 year.

We remain very grateful to our many donors from across Canada, especially religious congregations and dioceses. In particular, we appreciate the generous donation of $500 000 from the Sisters of Mercy and the Presentation Sisters of Newfoundland.  Special appeals were made to the Catholic Women’s League members and councils in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 spring editions of the Canadian League Magazine. Besides financial donations, many dedicated Catholic Women League members and Councils at all levels promote the Foundation at parish, diocesan and provincial meetings and distribute Foundation brochures.

Nominations and Appointment of Board Members

There will be a separate report by Adrienne Castellon, Chair Nominations subcommittee. New members to the Board will be approved at the Annual General Meeting, including the member appointed by the Catholic Women’s League.

Leadership Program
A main objective of the Foundation, based on our mission and vision, was to develop and fund a Leadership Program and find an educational institution that could deliver the same. We are very proud that after four years of dedication to this task a one-year Leadership Program, delivered both online and face-to-face and so ably facilitated by the School of Transformative Leadership and Spirituality at Saint Paul University with Sister Miriam Martin, psvm, as Director, was launched with Foundation funding in May 2018.

A four year funding agreement was signed with Saint Paul University, December 2018, meaning the Foundation is currently in the second year of a four year agreement.

Rita Janes was responsible for monitoring the Program in the initial year of delivery and accompanied the candidates through all aspects of the Program from April 2018 to May 2019.  Rita met with the Director of the Program at Saint Paul and other facilitators several times by telephone and in-person to discuss the progress of the Program and make changes as needed.

A more detailed Program report will be presented to the Board.

Linda Dayler has been appointed as monitor for the 2nd Cohort and will accompany the candidates in the Program throughout 2019-20.

Communications

A website for the Foundation was approved in 2016 (cwlfcanada.com). There is also a Facebook page which has been very active over the past year. A social media policy was developed over the past year and waiting final approval.

The National Catholic Women’s League had graciously offered the Foundation a space to post information in each issue of the Canadian League Magazine (2016 -18), but this was discontinued in fall 2018 edition of the League Magazine.

The Foundation hosted an exhibit table at the 2018 CWL National Convention in Winnipeg and was pleased to be invited to give a presentation about the Leadership Program to Convention participants. Two of the participants in the 2018-19 Program were included in the presentation and spoke of their experiences in the Program. This was very well received by the Convention delegates. This year we were not successful in getting an exhibit table at the 2019 Calgary Convention or a place to speak about the Foundation on the Convention agenda.

Because of the decrease in the number of applicants for the 2019-20 Leadership Program, time was spent at the February, 2019 face-to-face meeting discussing possible causes of this. A discussion took place on ‘who is a Catholic woman’.  This discussion led us to consider other possible places to advertise the call for applicants for the Program. Also, an article has been prepared for the Catholic Missions in Canada Magazine and an advertisement will be placed in the Living with Christ September Booklet. 

Appreciation

As Chair of the Board, I thank and express my appreciation to:

  • The Directors of the Board for their support and generosity of time and talent to the work of the Foundation and also to those who chair and serve on Committees. Their work and dedication to the Foundation are very much appreciated.
  • Betty Anne Brown Davidson who volunteers her time and expertise as bookkeeper for the Foundation. Her many prayers for the Leadership Program and for the participants are very much appreciated.
  • The Catholic Women’s League members from every Canadian province, who have so generously worked to secure the financial resources in support of Catholic Canadian women’s leadership education and the CWL Councils at all levels who continue to support the Foundation in so many ways.
Rita Janes

Rita Janes

Chair

Rita has been a member of the Catholic Women’s Leadership Foundation since January 2015 and was appointed Chair on January 1, 2017.

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