Sarah Hanley

Let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15

In the United States, November is traditionally a time of giving thanks. Officially, the fourth Thursday of November is the Thanksgiving holiday. Friends, families, and loved ones gather to share a meal and say thank you for the blessings in their lives. As I reflect on this, I realize there are so many things I am thankful for, but perhaps above all, I am grateful for my faith which guides, restores, and anchors me.

My faith teaches me how to live a life built on the principles of compassion, service, and trust. For me, a part of that is the work we do at The Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia. At The CFGP, we strive to inspire and foster philanthropy. As Catholics, when we are baptized, we make promises which bring us closer to Christ; one of the most important promises we make to God is to serve all people following the example of his son, Jesus. We are his disciples here on earth and are called to share God’s love. In a sense, we become responsible for each other as one family of God.

I am incredibly thankful for our CFGP team of dedicated professionals who are committed to growing philanthropy according to the teachings of Jesus Christ. They show kindness, compassion, generosity, and hope not only in their work but also in how they do it. They recognize that it is our job to share our many blessings willingly. They understand that Catholic giving is one way we ensure our baptismal promise is fulfilled. Catholic giving goes beyond charitable giving. It puts a particular emphasis on our faith.

I am also extremely thankful for our donors. Like our team, they are working to make an impact on our faith communities and ministries. Whether it is through a Donor Advised Fund, which allows the fund holder the freedom to decide where and how often they want to give, through the support of the Archbishop’s Ministry Support Fund, or one of the myriad of other ways people choose to give, Catholic giving ensures our baptismal promise is fulfilled.

Additionally, I am always grateful for the relationships we have built with individuals and organizations throughout the Greater Philadelphia region who are working every day to ease the burdens of their brothers and sisters. Organizations like The Little Sisters of the Poor, which serve the elderly poor, and the Communities of Don Guanella and Divine Providence, which embrace adults with intellectual and physical disabilities and provides them with compassionate care, to name just two, are doing life-sustaining work in our community. I am so thankful that organizations like these and many more are our partners in compassion.

And, of course, I am extraordinarily thankful for our Board of Trustees who are truly supportive of our endeavors as well as our founding Board members who have been with CFGP from the beginning and have been so instrumental in our growth. Likewise, I am immensely grateful for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Archbishop Nelson J. Pérez, and all the dedicated clergy of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who have committed their lives to helping others.

In 2020, recognizing the enormous good that could be done, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, through Archbishop Pérez, and in conjunction with CFGP, brought #iGiveCatholic to Philadelphia. #iGiveCatholic is nationally recognized by the Church as the official Catholic Giving Day, celebrating all aspects of our Catholic faith. It unites Catholic communities and donors and calls on them to give back in support of the organizations that have always supported them: parishes, schools, and nonprofit ministries.

We are so thankful for everyone who participates in this initiative which brings resources to our Catholic community. In 2021, more than $1.7M was raised for 124 organizations throughout the Archdiocese! We invite you to participate in the 2022 annual day of Catholic giving, #iGiveCatholic. The advanced Giving option opens on November 14th and runs through #GivingTuesday, November 29th. You can find an organization and donate at: philadelphia.igivecatholic.org/search. Be a part of the incredible swell of Catholic giving that unites us all during this Thanksgiving holiday.

On behalf of The Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia, our board, team, partners, and donors, we wish you a blessed Thanksgiving. May the grateful heart of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you always.

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