Collaboration Among Ministries
Jesuit ministries in urban centers indicate that it is very important to them to build solidarity with other Jesuit institutions and ministries as well as other faith-based and non-profit groups in their respective cities and provinces, and view it as a significant element in increasing their capacity to serve.
- Interviews highlighted the way collaborations among Jesuit ministries have been very effective in addressing strategic issues facing inner-city ministries and communities. For example, leaders highlighted the benefits of collaborating within a particular ministry sector within the new province configuration (i.e. all retreat house directors meeting to discuss strategically how to better serve Spanish speaking population in the region)
- Leaders also highlighted some of the benefits they’ve gained by coming together with other religious orders, faith communities and non-profit groups to address issues facing the low-income poor on a city-wide level (i.e. the New Orleans Rebuild Center, or the Cleveland Urban Center).
- Most ministries would welcome greater connection with social researchers from the local Jesuit university to assist them in collecting data that would enhance their capacity to serve, that could augment their advocacy work, and that could be incorporated into their grant proposals. (The collaboration between the Center for Urban Research and Learning [CURL] at Loyola Chicago and homeless ministries in Chicago exemplifies the benefits of this kind of partnership). Only a few ministries indicated that they already have such connections with Jesuit social research centers. The conference that CURL is planning to host for community-engaged research centers at Jesuit Universities will seek to further promote these connections.
- Ministries indicated that they would be pleased to host greater numbers of volunteers from Jesuit universities, colleges, high schools, and parishes to build strong and sustained bonds of solidarity between these groups with the poor.
- It would be of strategic importance to find ways to encourage these local collaborations and to highlight models that demonstrate how this can work well to the benefit of all parties.
Several Jesuit urban ministries have developed unemployment assistance programs. There is interest in exploring further what makes these kinds of programs successful; what are some of the challenges in managing these programs; what models exist for those interested in developing or augmenting their programs; and how Jesuit ministries can collaborate together to enhance their capacity to serve the unemployed. Consider hosting a conference call to begin dialogue among those with existing programs with those interested in initiating a program.
Ministry leaders are noting a heightened level of personal, psychological and spiritual despair among the people they serve. Leaders are interested in exploring ways that other ministries have successfully been able to structure their work to place strategic emphasis on the spiritual, psychological and overall personal empowerment of the poor. There are a number of best practices, creative ideas and effective collaborations in this area including partnerships between ministries and retreat houses; and partnerships between parishes, ministries and community organizing groups.
Creative Fundraising and Development Initiatives
There are many best practices to be found among Jesuit urban ministries in relationship to fund-raising. There is an acknowledgment among ministries that they could learn from one another in this area and there is a desire for increased collaboration. Ministry directors acknowledge that many foundations want to see a collaborative approach when reviewing grant applications and are interested in exploring possibilities.
Feedback on Resources provided by Jesuit Conference and National Consultation on Inner-City Populations
- Most ministries were not yet familiar with the “Solidarity with Inner-City Populations” website or the “Consultation on Inner-City Populations” web forum; many admittedly only skim email newsletters promoting resources that might be helpful to them; most are busy running ministries and “wearing many hats.” Most said that as a result of the survey interview, they will definitely take some time to check out these existing resources.
- Some ministry leaders suggested engaging a second tier of staff who would welcome resources and be able to use them and respond.
- Most indicated a desire for more strategic networking and resources but need to consider how to do this in a more multimedia way.
- People indicated an interest in holding webinars, conference calls or video conferences on concerns and best practices related to addressing needs with a particular ministry sector (ministries serving homeless); or addressing a common need (grant-writing and fund-raising).