History of SC Ministry Foundation

Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati

Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton, founding mother of the Sisters of Charity

The roots of SC Ministry Foundation begin with the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati, whose origin is with Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton.

Elizabeth was born into a prominent Episcopalian family in New York City in 1774. She married William Seton, a wealthy merchant, and together they had five children. She showed a deep concern for those living in poverty and sickness, ministering to them with care.

Soon after William died Elizabeth converted to Catholicism. In the years following, Elizabeth continued to care for the underserved and founded the first religious community of women in the United States, the Sisters of Charity, in 1809. Influenced by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Elizabeth wrote the community’s rule to enable the sisters to respond to the suffering and those in need. She laid the foundation of the American Catholic parochial school system and in 1975, Elizabeth was canonized as the first American-born saint.

In the fall of 1829, four Sisters of Charity from Emmitsburg arrived in Cincinnati to care for orphans and to open a school. The sisters eventually assumed responsibility for St. John’s Hospital, which later became Good Samaritan Hospital.

In 1852, the congregation separated from the Emmitsburg community to form an independent congregation, the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati. In 1853, Sister Margaret George was elected the first Mother Superior.

Throughout the first century of its existence, the Congregation grew in membership and diversified services. From its firm base in Cincinnati, the Congregation sent sisters in all directions to perform in a variety of ministries. Sisters opened schools and hospitals and responded to needs internationally in places such as Wuchang, China, Malawi, Peru and Rome. In 1869, the sisters purchased Biggs Farm in Delhi and in 1884 built Mount St. Joseph Motherhouse.

Today, Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati live and minister throughout the United States, Mexico, Guatemala, and Dominica. The congregation also sponsors five ministries: Mount St. Joseph UniversityDePaul Cristo Rey High SchoolSenior Care Corporation that includes BayleySeton High School, and St. Joseph Home of Cincinnati.

The Sisters of Charity Health Care Foundation

Sr. Grace Marie Hiltz, SC

In 1979, the Sisters of Charity established the Sisters of Charity Health Care Systems. Sister Grace Marie “Amazing Grace” Hiltz, a Sister of Charity, served as the first president. Sister Grace Marie was a nurse and administrator of hospitals and served on many boards such as the Catholic Health Association and Ohio Hospital Association boards, which she chaired.

Sister Grace Marie’s untimely death in 1985 was a tremendous loss. As the Paschal Mystery teaches us, out of death and loss, painfully, and usually slowly, comes life. From the proceeds of the insurance policies on Sister Grace Marie came the $200,000 that began the Sisters of Charity Health Care Foundation.

The Sisters of Charity Health Care Foundation corpus began to grow under the leadership of visionary Sisters of Charity. In spite of its limited funds, the Foundation provided its first grant in 1986.

In 1995, the board of the Sisters of Charity Health Care Foundation approved amended articles of incorporation. The name changed to Sisters of Charity Foundation, Inc., with the member being the Sisters of Charity. In 1996, the board established mission, purpose and vision statements for the Foundation. Goals, guiding principles and criteria for funding were put into place and the Foundation began awarding grants. In 1998, the name was changed to SC Ministry Foundation.

SC Ministry Foundation

Since 1996, the Foundation has awarded more than $158 million in grants locally, regionally and nationally. The Foundation partners with grantees to provide other services besides grant-making, including direct community investments in the form of loans, education workshops, capacity building opportunities, and one-on-one grant development and writing.

The Foundation collaborates with other funders in partnerships focused on economic opportunity, healthy futures and youth development.