Sarah Hanley

The Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia (CFGP) is thrilled to once again host the Women in Philanthropy Forum this October. I am genuinely looking forward to being a part of this event, which empowers women in the philanthropic sector of our community.

There are many things to be grateful for as we prepare for this important meeting — especially the fact that we will gather in person after our last two years of virtual forums. While we are fortunate to live in a time when technology keeps us connected, nothing compares to coming together as a community, looking each other in the eyes and knowing that we continue to learn about and share ways of doing good in the world.

As Catholics, we have so many role models for philanthropy, beginning with Christ himself. Scripture tells us that “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power,” and that “he went about doing good and healing all those oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). Our Lord Jesus Christ is preeminent among those who embody the work of doing good in the world. His ministry has inspired so many people to dedicate their fortunes to helping others.

Along with Mary, two female saints — one lay, one a woman religious — particularly embodied a spirit of charitable giving. Some eight centuries ago, St. Elizabeth of Hungary lived a life of charity and prayer amid her duties as a noblewoman. “How can I,” she asked, “a wretched creature, continue to wear a crown of earthly dignity when I see my King Jesus Christ crowned with thorns?” In her 24 short years, St. Elizabeth established a hospital and tirelessly cared for the sick. In 2010 Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI described St. Elizabeth as “a true example for all who have roles of leadership: the exercise of authority, at every level, must be lived as a service to justice and charity, in the constant search for the common good.”

Closer to home, in time and space, is St. Katharine Drexel. A native of Philadelphia and heiress to a family banking fortune, Katharine learned from her father that “wealth was meant to be shared with those in need,” and she did just that both as a lay person and a nun. In 1891, she founded the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament and for the next 44 years led them in their mission to live in community with Black and Indigenous people while helping them gain education and grow in faith. St. Katharine Drexel is considered the patron saint of philanthropists.

Here in Philadelphia, we have a community of women in whom the value of philanthropy continues to grow — and some of them will join us as panelists during our 2022 Women in Philanthropy Forum, which will take place on Oct. 26 from 8:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. at the Drexelbrook Catering and Event Center’s Brandywine Ballroom (4700 Drexelbrook Drive, Drexel Hill).

Patricia Holloway, chair of the Paoli Hospital Foundation’s board of directors, has spent her career focused on nonprofit organizations, including St. Edmond’s Home for Children, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, and St. Mary Magdalen School. She is a benefactor of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, and several other Catholic organizations. Pope Francis named her a Dame of  the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great, the highest honor the pope can bestow on an individual.

Marisally Santiago, director of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Office for Ministry with Youth, is a passionate ministry leader whose mission traces its roots to her teen years. Prior to her arrival in Philadelphia, Santiago served as an associate director at the Archdiocese of Newark’s Office for Youth and Young Adult Ministry. She loves sharing the salvific joy of the Gospel, while instilling leadership formation in teens and adults, and advocating for the full integration of the voices and gifts of youth in the work of the church.

Kasey Brown is president of Young Catholic Professionals (YCP) Philadelphia. Through YCP, Kasey helps empower and equip young professionals to live their Catholic faith through everyday work and to perform all work with excellence for the glory of God.

Sister of St. Joseph Meaghan V. Patterson is the executive director of Dawn’s Place, a residential care program for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation or sex trafficking. Along with a Master’s degree in social work, Sister Meaghan has an extensive background in teaching and educational administration in the Philadelphia area, and over the years has worked with various school stakeholders, participating in development and fundraising opportunities and coordinating community partnerships. We are pleased to announce that our 2022 Women in Philanthropy Leadership Fund grant recipient has been awarded to Dawn’s Place.

As the CFGP’s president and CEOI am also honored to be a panelist this year. At the foundation, I am responsible for the growth and strategic oversight of the CFGP and for leading a team of dedicated staff who support our philanthropic mission. My commitment to philanthropy comes from my lifelong dedication to both my faith and my hometown of Philadelphia.

Please join us in October as we delve into the world of Women in Philanthropy, with conversations exploring such questions as:

  • What challenges do you feel women face in the nonprofit industry?
  • What advice would you give women who are looking to get involved in philanthropy or organizational leadership?
  • How has the pandemic altered the nonprofit industry? What effect has it had on the philanthropic landscape, and how will that affect philanthropy moving forward?

We hope to see and hear from you at the forum, so that we can advance the great tradition of Catholic women in philanthropy. Register now at thecfgp.org, and help us build a future filled with hope.

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Sarah Hanley is the president and CEO of the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia.