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Sister Donna Markham Recognized Among Top 50 Non-Profit Leaders

September 26, 2017, Washington, DC – For the second year in a row, Sister Donna Markham, OP, was recognized by The Non-Profit Times (NPT) as one of the Top 50 Power and Influence Leaders of non-profit organizations. She and the 49 other leaders were feted September 14 at the 20th Annual NPT Power and Influence Top 50 Gala at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

The top 50 leaders are chosen from 300 top executives by a committee of NPT staff members, contributors, and other executives in recognition of the impact that the leaders have had on society in the past 12 months.

Sister Donna, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA), was honored for her efforts to serve immigrants and refugees – a service named by CCUSA as a top priority. In its program, the NPT describes Sister Donna as a “national strategic thinker for combatting the impact of the expurgated federal budget.” 

Speaking of her efforts at CCUSA, Sister Donna said, “Our commitment to care for those who are most vulnerable resides at the core of our faith.” 

The impact of CCUSA was felt in a strong way in August when the agency, the U.S. Catholic Church’s official domestic relief agency, launched a Disaster Mobile Response Center vehicle to bring relief to victims of natural disaster. The vehicle was dispatched to San Antonio, Texas, to bring relief supplies to Houston after Hurricane Harvey. 

Sister Donna, former Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, is the first woman to head CCUSA, a national network of 164 agencies that serve people in need. Services include disaster relief, food banks and pantries, emergency shelter and a variety of housing options, educational and training opportunities for adults and children, and advocacy on behalf of those who are in need.

Feature photo at top: Sister Donna Markham, OP, poses with two other Top 50 Power and Influence Leaders, Brian Gallagher, CEO of United Way (left) and Kevin Washington, CEO of YMCA.

Aquinas Literacy Center Opens New Site on International Literacy Day

September 22, 2017, Chicago – Aquinas Literacy Center celebrated International Literacy Day, September 8, in a very special way – with a grand opening celebration for its new site. 

Sister Kathleen Klingen, OP, Chapter Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Midwest Mission Chapter, based in Chicago, opened the celebration with a heart-felt blessing. Officiating at the ribbon-cutting ceremony were Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia; State Representative Theresa Mah; and Aquinas staff members: Alison Altmeyer, executive director; Sabrina Poulin, volunteer coordinator; and Meg Green, program director.

“It was a perfect evening, [celebrated by] learners, volunteers, neighbors, supporters, political leaders and 19 Adrian Dominican Sisters,” Alison wrote in an email describing the event.

The Adrian Dominican Sisters opened Aquinas Literacy Center in 1996 in the basement of the convent at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church. Aquinas has grown from a small center with two tables and five chairs to one that continues to offer tutoring in the English language.

“Aquinas Literacy Center has bridged the cultural divide in the McKinley Park community by offering English as a Second Language instruction to adult immigrants,” Alison said. One-on-one tutoring is supported by programs such as conversation classes, book clubs, writing workshops, computer learning opportunities, and job assistance workshops.

Alison is pleased with the new site. “Our location is ideal – on a main street, next to the local elementary school and two blocks away from the local library,” she explained. “We have experienced an increase in new student registrations because we’re more visible.”

For more details, read this article by Joe Ward in DNA Info.


Image of ribbon-cutting ceremony at Aquinas Literacy Center for new location

Attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Aquinas Literacy Center’s new site are, from left, Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, State Representative Theresa Mah, Aquinas Literacy Center Executive Director Alison Altmeyer, Program Director Meg Green, and volunteer Tutor Rita Janco.



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