Donors Inspired to Ensure CSA Legacy Carries On by Helping Establish Sister Joan Gallagher Endowment Fund

The following article appears in the spring 2019 issue of the Joseph’s Journey newsletter. Read the full newsletter here.

Pictured with Sr. Joan Gallagher, CSA, (center), are Richard M. and Jeanne Colleran Weaver, who made a visionary gift that has become the seed of the first endowment fund, which will help ensure the healing ministry of Joseph’s Home can continue well into the future.

Sr. Joan Gallagher, CSA, served the poor through the Famicos Foundation and Joseph’s Home

For more than 165 years, the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine (CSA) have taken as their mission an “openness to the needs of others.” Their “willing response,” in the words of their mission statement, reflects “a unity of purpose achieved through our ministries of health care, social service and education.” In this spirit, the work of the CSA sisters is both rooted and dynamic: they are dedicated to alleviating poverty and homelessness, but they also believe their work must be innovative, responsive and transformative. As communities change, the sisters adapt their ministries to meet new and emerging needs.

Joseph’s Home is one example of the sisters’ recognition of an unmet need and their innovative response. As health care experts, the sisters saw that old models for treating illness among the homeless population were inadequate. In April 2000, they created Joseph’s Home, a place where medically frail homeless men could recuperate after leaving the hospital. Here they offered the men transitional housing and medical respite care so that they could regain the health, energy and hope needed to build stronger lives. Years later, Joseph’s Home has helped many men regain their health, leave the streets with jobs and homes, and make vital reconnections to family, friends and their own sense of personal dignity. Joseph’s Home is the only homeless service provider in Northeast Ohio exclusively focused on medical respite care.

Sr. Joan Gallagher, CSA, was one of the initiative’s planners, and she served as the first executive director. The vision and accomplishments of Joseph’s Home are due to Sr. Joan’s tireless efforts. For her, the word “transitional” and “recovery” have spiritual as well as physical and material meanings. Transitional care means giving deep attention to the needs of the men as individuals so that they have the confidence to live healthy and meaningful lives. Recovery, in the most important sense, means a deeply-felt restoration of intrinsic worthiness and love. Joseph’s Home is a place of hope and spirit, qualities that define Sr. Joan’s lifelong commitment to the poor and to the mission of her congregation. The Sister Joan Gallagher Endowment Fund was established to honor her service and her spirit. Before leading Joseph’s Home, Sr. Joan worked as the associate director of the Famicos Foundation, another ministry of the Sister of Charity of St. Augustine. Founded by Sr. Henrietta Gorris, CSA, after the Hough riots, Famicos Foundation is one of the oldest and most successful community development corporations in the city of Cleveland. In its 50 year history, it has recovered or built more than 1,000 homes and apartments. When Sr. Joan needed development assistance for Joseph’s Home, she enlisted the aid of the Famicos Foundation.

Richard Weaver and Jeanne Colleran Weaver: Friends of CSA ministries

Richard M. and Jeanne Colleran Weaver began volunteering at Famicos Foundation while students at John Carroll University. There they met Sr. Henrietta, CSA, Sr. Bertha Cross, CSA, and Sr. Joan and began a lifelong friendship with the sisters. Since then, Richard and Jeanne have remained deeply involved in the Catholic and nonprofit communities in Cleveland. Richard is an attorney and a retired executive of The Sherwin-Williams Company, and he has stayed connected to the Famicos Foundation as a volunteer, board member and board president. Jeanne completed her doctorate and joined the faculty at John Carroll University, eventually serving as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, provost and academic vice president, and interim president. So when Joseph’s Home opened with Sr. Joan at the helm, Richard and Jeanne fully supported the mission.

In the spirit of responding to the needs of the community and in recognition of the tremendously loving, caring and transformative work being done by the CSA sisters, Richard and Jeanne wanted to ensure the healing ministry of Joseph’s Home could continue. Having witnessed firsthand the exceptional impact of the CSA sisters and Joseph’s Home, they made a visionary gift that has become the seed of the first Joseph’s Home endowment fund. The Sister Joan Gallagher Endowment Fund celebrates the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine’s enduring legacy of responsive ministry and service to those in need, as well as Sr. Joan’s leadership. Christine Horne, Joseph’s Home current executive director observed, “As I sat in the meeting when the Weavers came into Joseph’s Home with their generous donation, I was struck by how their sentiment of being inspired by Sr. Joan mirrors mine. Sr. Joan has not stopped her work in this ministry. Her love, prayers and support continue in a very active way.”

The board of directors, staff, residents and alumni of Joseph’s Home extend our sincere gratitude to Richard and Jeanne Weaver for their astounding generosity toward the neediest members of the Cleveland community. We are also asking our other friends and benefactors to join us in growing the endowment with the goal of reaching $1 million. The endowment fund will provide annual income in perpetuity to support ongoing operations and ensure that we can continue to serve the homeless individuals who have become part of the Joseph’s Home family.

“I am deeply grateful to Richard and Jeanne Weaver; their gift will support our healing mission in the long term,” said Sr. Joan.