Vincentian Endowment Fund awards grants to 19 projects

DePaul urban garden
“What Must be Done? An Urban Garden Project,” proposed by student Tyler Bogartz-Brown, will enable an upgrade and needed repairs for DePaul’s existing urban garden in Lincoln Park. The project aims to ensure the garden continues to be an asset for the entire university community. (DePaul University/Jamie Moncrief)
What do an urban garden in Lincoln Park and a historical research project about Vincentian missionaries in the early modern era in Europe have in common? Each was a project selected to receive a Vincentian Endowment Fund grant because it serves in some capacity as a concrete manifestation of DePaul’s mission in action.

Now entering its 27th year, the VEF awarded grants this month to 19 projects from faculty, staff and students totaling over $82,000. Since its inception in 1992, the VEF has awarded 450 grants totaling just under $2 million, as well as another 288 discretionary grants totaling nearly $330,000.  

“When viewed cumulatively, over the last 25 years, the VEF has proven to be a catalyst for our mission and values being put into action at DePaul, as well as for addressing important social issues,” says Rev. Edward Udovic, C.M., vice president for Mission and Ministry, who has directed the fund since its inception.

VEF grant funds often serve as seed money to develop a new mission-based project or concept model. Grant funds also have helped supplement other funding to make one-time mission-related events or research projects possible, or to fund DePaul-sponsored community engagement work.   

A fixed amount of total funds are made available each year based on interest accrued from an endowed fund that supports the program. Each fall, the VEF Board puts out a request for principal grants, those in excess of $1,500, to the university community, which then move through a formal review process. In addition, a limited number of discretionary grants under $1,500 are awarded on a rolling basis throughout the year until all funds are depleted for that fiscal year.  

This year’s principal grants reflect the spirit of VEF, as well as the broad range grants awarded in the defined categories of Catholic identity, community service, diversity, Vincentian heritage, legal service, service to students and university ministry. This year’s principal grants include the following:
  • DePaul University Special Collections and Archives will mount an exhibit, “The John T. Richardson Legacy Display,” in DePaul’s Lincoln Park Library. 
  • Mark Potosnak, an environmental science faculty member, and Amanda Thompson, director of Catholic Campus Ministry, will host a weekend retreat for faculty, staff and students based on Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical, “Laudato ‘si.” The second encyclical of Pope Francis has the subtitle "On care for our common home."   
  • “Project Bluelight,” led by JoAnne Zielinski, an associate dean in the College of Computing and Digital Media, will work with a team of faculty and staff to create video projections, surrounded by unified art direction, bringing Christmas at DePaul to life at the Loop campus.
  • Peter Steeves, a philosophy faculty member, will develop a multi-sensory book taking up questions of ethics, religion and art.
  • “One Faculty, One Mission,” a project proposal from Mission and Ministry, will develop a video to represent the diverse ways that faculty put DePaul’s mission into practice in their teaching.
  • Led by Muslim Chaplain, Abdul-Malik Ryan, a celebration of the 20th anniversary of DePaul’s Muslim student organization, UMMA, will help launch the UMMA Alumni Association. It also will recognize the 10th anniversary of Muslim chaplaincy at DePaul.
  • Emanuele Colombo, a Catholic studies faculty member, will further develop his research project exploring early modern Jesuit and Vincentian missions, showing the different missionary methods and their evolution between the 17th and the 19th centuries.
  • Lili Calfee, an adjunct faculty member in the College of Computing and Digital Media, will produce, “Mama’s Circle,” a documentary film about the work of Sister Donna Liette. Sister Donna is a 78-year-old nun at Precious Blood Ministry and a DePaul community partner, known for her anti-violence ministry on the south side of Chicago. 
  • Leonard Jason, a psychology faculty member, will work to create an open-source textbook on community psychology, collaborating with professors, practitioners and students in the field of community psychology at DePaul, across the United States and internationally. 
  • The “Male Mentoring Collaborative Project,” proposed by Bernadette Sanchez, brings together the College of Science and Health, the Center for Access and Attainment, and the Office of Multicultural Student Success to provide training to campus and community practitioners leading male mentoring programs.
  • “What Must be Done? An Urban Garden Project,” proposed by student Tyler Bogartz-Brown, will enable an upgrade and needed repairs for DePaul’s existing urban garden in Lincoln Park. The project aims to ensure the garden continues to be an asset for the entire university community.
  • Isidore Udoh, an adjunct faculty member in environmental science, will lead a project aimed at building a broad partnership among DePaul faculty and students, and counterparts at the University of Uyo in Nigeria, as well as key community-based organizations and citizen groups. 
  • Chris Tirres, a faculty member in religious studies, will work with the Center for Religion, Culture and Community to host three panel discussions featuring the work of nine community organizations that engage social justice work through an interfaith framework.  
  • Maria del Rosara Acosta Lopez’s project, “Liberatory Memory Work with Survivors of Police Torture,” will further develop healing liberatory memory initiatives for police torture survivors at the Chicago Torture Justice Center.
  • “Collaborative Initiative: Asylum Evaluation Training Program,” a project led by Ida Salusky, an assistant professor of psychology, aims to increase the availability of high quality mental health evaluations for individuals seeking legal asylum. 
  • “Arts for a More Democratic Society,” by James Duignan of the College of Education, highlights how artists and cultural leaders create practical avenues to connect people and amplify their individual voices in a moment of civil disconnect.
​Visit the VEF Grant Fund website for more information. ​​