The Dewan Foundation implemented a vigorous grant making effort in 2022 that deepened support for inner city Catholic schools and broadened efforts to address the needs of the poor around the world. The Foundation made a record 56 grants to 53 different organizations for $331,650, an amount unsurpassed by any previous year in the Foundation’s history.
In Chicago, support for four Catholic schools totaled $177,650. This included major capital support for Chicago Jesuit Academy to assist the opening of a second campus for girls. Their focus on helping elementary school graduates bridge the changes to high school, and then further supporting them with college persistence and career transition programs, serves the whole person in keeping with the Jesuit tradition of “cura personalis”.
There were 24 grants to homeless serving and other programs in Chicago totaling $56,500. Over the last few years, these partners seamlessly shifted their methods of program delivery in the face of COVID protocols and pioneered new shelter models to keep homeless people safely housed.
The repercussions from COVID continued to impact the 23 grantees that received $ 86,500 from the Foundation for their work overseas. In a number of places around the world, the long-term effects of the pandemic severely compromised their efforts as they faced everything from gang warfare and the breakdown of civil order to unreliable public utilities.
In spite of all of these problems, both in Chicago and around the world, Dewan Foundation grantees delivered on their promise to provide education and job opportunities, assisting people in poverty create a better life through their own efforts.
Every grantee can tell the stories of the people who achieved a better life. Our smallest grantee, The Central Honduran Education Fund, provides education support to high school students in Honduras and accompanies them through college completion. They achieved a milestone as one of their beneficiaries received her degree in electrical engineering, and went to work for the national utility company. New Moms helped 67 young homeless mothers on Chicago’s west side to sharpen executive skills, complete an on-the-job training and then move into stable housing and regular employment. In Guatemala, Strategies for International Development assisted 2,900 small coffee-growing family farmers to adopt specific agricultural practices that increased their productivity and quadrupled annual income from coffee.
The Foundation extended support to seven organizations that received a first time Dewan Foundation grant These included grants supporting school renovation and tuition support in Jamaica and Guatemala, adult literacy programs in Nepal, community health worker training and employment in the high Andes Mountains in Peru, a program design grant for a new two-year college model geared to the needs of disadvantaged students, a volunteer program tapping the skills of late-career professionals and a new local Catholic high school partner.
Just as 2022 was a year of great accomplishment, it was also a year of significant transition. Executive Director Tom Teeling has retired following over 21 years with the Dewan Foundation. In that time, he directed the operations of the grant program beginning with just a couple of non-profit contacts and growing the grant portfolio to reach more than 180 organizations. These organizations covered Chicago neighborhoods from Rogers Park to Englewood to Austin and extended to more than 30 countries overseas, literally from Timbuktu to Kathmandu. Ongoing direct work with grantees that included board memberships, grant writing, coordinating the travel of mission groups to Honduras and a host of one-time special projects complemented grant making. The expectation is that this two-decade tradition of grant making and direct involvement in the ongoing work of grant partners will continue from this strong base.
We look forward to continuing progress and the expansion of efforts to serve the poor under the guidance of our new Executive Director, Maria Lefkow Sorensen. She comes to the Dewan Foundation with more than two decades of experience and success in development work.
With great hope for the future, we remain grateful to all of you for your support and continuing interest in our work.
The Board of Directors
John and Sue Dewan Foundation