Last month brought the news that CWR a new grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Catholic Sisters Initiative. This month we share some of the key grant objectives.

In addition to the ongoing work of CWR, a key focus will be devoted to these two major initiatives:

1. Establish a professional certificate program for members offering specialized education programs and courses specifically designed for professional growth and development. CWR is uniquely prepared to authentically produce, develop and implement this program, focused on communicating and serving the distinctive needs of congregations of women religious and their sponsored ministries.

2. Strengthen our relationships with and outreach to media and collaborating organizations by providing CWR members with targeted resources to promote the mission and spirituality of congregations and sponsored ministries of women religious.

The Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Phase II grant will enable CWR to enhance our professional educational offerings and further networking among our members to better communicate and advance the mission and ministries of Catholic sisters.

We will do this by surveying our members regarding our current educational offerings, developing a quality certificate program for congregational communicators, and offering specialized training programs on the ever-changing technology that will assist members in effectively communicating congregational messages.

In other words, this grant will:

1. Assist CWR to identify the ever-changing needs of the membership and our partners.

2. Enable CWR to develop new education programs, including juried review and recognition, that moves beyond current levels of professional education and networking.

3. Broaden the scope of CWR’s outreach as the needs and demographics of religious women and their leadership change.

4. Provide specialized formation that addresses the unique communications, public relations and marketing needs of our members and partners.

5. Increase our capability to respond quickly to issues facing women religious while utilizing and communicating about new technologies that enable this response.

In addition, CWR will collaborate with other industry leaders in Catholic organizations and provide resources and opportunities for mutual support and media recognition. Whether it be through programs to raise awareness of the ministries of the sisters and the causes for which they advocate (i.e. Catholic Sisters Week), or through activities such as “Meet Our Sisters” (open house events throughout Chicago during National Vocation Awareness Week) or the Cycling with Sisters event, these programs and events will offer sound bites and storylines for media content.