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April 7, 2021, Washington, D.C. – Sister Donna Markham, OP, President and CEO of Catholic Charities USA, was one of eight faith leaders to meet with Vice President Kamala Harris on March 31, 2021, to discuss ways that they can collaborate on pressing issues.
Along with Sister Donna, three other faith leaders met in person with Vice President Harris in her formal reception room: Bishop Mary Anne Budde, Episcopal Bishop of Washington, D.C.; Rev. Walter Kim, President of the Evangelical Churches of the U.S.; and Bishop Leah Daughtry, Bishop of the Churches of the House of the Lord. Four other faith leaders participated via Zoom.
In her opening remarks, Vice President Harris thanked the faith leaders for all that they have done throughout their lives, but in particular during the dark times of the past year. “You all throughout this time … as you always do, have been a source of strength, a source of comfort, a source of counsel.” She also thanked the faith leaders for what they have done to meet the daily needs of people, such as housing the homeless and feeding the hungry.
After her opening remarks and the departure of the press, Vice President Harris and the faith leaders began a “candid conversation about how we can be helpful in mitigating vaccine hesitancy in communities of color and underserved communities,” Sister Donna said. They also discussed ways that churches and other faith-based organizations can provide vaccine sites.
“Altogether, we were with the Vice President for about an hour and we will be having follow-up meetings with her on issues such as the migrant situation and food security,” Sister Donna said. “I felt very honored to be invited to the table!”
In her work with Catholic Charities USA, Sister Donna leads a network of agencies throughout the United States that advocate for social justice and provide services for local people in need: from adoption and pregnancy care to housing, senior care, immigration and refugee services, food and nutrition, leadership development, and disaster relief.
Sister Donna, Prioress of the Adrian Dominican Congregation from 2004 to 2010, has been President of Catholic Charities USA since 2015. A clinical psychologist, she served as founding director of the Dominican Consultation Center in Detroit from 1980 to 1986 and, from 1993 to 2003, as President and CEO of the Southdown Institute, a residential treatment program based in Ontario, Canada, for priests and women and men religious dealing with addictions or other psychological issues.
April 7, 2021, New York, New York – Sister Corinne Florek, OP, has been praised as the “Godmother” of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDIFs) for her decades of ministry in the field of economic justice and community investment. She was profiled in a special Women’s History Month newsletter produced by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), founded in 1979 by executives of the Ford Foundation.
Through the years, Sister Corinne helped to shape the practice of community development, in which organizations such as the Adrian Dominican Sisters and other religious congregations invest in or make low-income loans to nonprofit organizations that serve the needs of local communities and low-income people.
Sister Corinne was one of the earliest members of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board and now serves as its consultant. She managed craft co-ops for women in Kentucky, ministered at the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, managed community investments for the Sisters of Mercy, and helped to found the Religious Communities Impact Fund.
Read about Sister Corinne and her community investment ministry in the LISC newsletter.