Faith and Service Award

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Faith and Service AwardKappa Gamma Pi has conferred the distinguished Faith and Service Award biennially since 1963. This award is given at National Conventions to outstanding men and women who are not members of Kappa Gamma Pi, who have exemplified leadership in local and national church and secular affairs. The selection of the recipient is made by the National Awards Committee.

The name of the medal is based on the Kappa motto, Faith and Service.



Mary Jo Copeland, the founder and director of Sharing and Caring Hands and Mary’s Place in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sharing and Caring Hands is a nonprofit organization that provides a host of services that include food, clothing, shelter, transportation assistance, medical and dental help to those in need. Sharing and Caring Hands built Mary’s Place, a $7.5 million transitional housing apartment complex. Sharing and Caring Hands is an extension of the community to the desperate needs of the poor and exists as a vehicle for volunteers to commit their time and resources towards making a difference in the lives of others. Sharing and Caring Hands stands as an emotional anchor and a beacon of hope to those who are alone, afraid, or in need.


Sister Virginia Welsh, OSF, Director of the Padua Center in Toledo, Ohio. Padua Center serves a predominantly African-American area of Toledo’s central city known as Kwanzaa Park. All of the Padua Center programs seek to recognize and instill the seven principles of Kwanzaa: unity, self-determination, collective work, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.


Sister Marybeth McDermott, CSJ, Founding Director of School on Wheels, the mobile literacy program for immigrants in Chicago’s western suburbs.


Both of these recipients were involved in Hurricane Katrina recovery and support:

Brenda B. Brown , Director of Projects for the University of New Orleans and a specialist in education for multiply-handicapped students; noted for her work with the House of Ruth which provides financial assistance to families in crisis.

Rev. Anthony E. Rigoli, OMI , pastor, chaplain and theology professor; opened the St. Jude Community Center as a shelter for homeless, hungry and desperate people in the city.


Cynthia Canning, SNJM and Rosemary Delaney, SNJM, are recipients of the 2007 KGP Faith and Service Award. They are co-founders and directors of Next Step Learning Center in Oakland, CA. Next Step is a non-profit organization with the goal of teaching reading skills to men and women over the age of 17. The center helps clients prepare to take the GED high school equivalency exam. The efforts of the honorees, their staff and volunteers echo Kappa's service project supporting literacy initiatives.


Rev. Donald H. Dunson, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Moral Theology at Saint Mary Seminary Graduate School of Theology, Cleveland. In 2001, Father Dunson spent a six-month sabbatical in Africa and Central America. His book, No Room at the Table: Earth's Most Vulnerable Children, shares the shocking realities of poverty: hunger, violence, child labor, AIDS orphans and lack of education, side by side with warm personal stories of children and families he has met. Father Dunson's book and his numerous articles highlight the needs and suggest that we act in solidarity with the poor through contributions to Catholic Relief Services, UNICEF, and the International Red Cross. The St. Kizoto Scholarship Fund that Father Dunson initiated provides education to African children.


Mary and Bill Carry, full time justice and peace activists and advocates who have traveled the world working for the transformation of society through non-violence and conflict resolution methods.


Blanche Macdonald Francis, outstanding community activist and organizational volunteer; New Orleans, LA


Marcy Kaptur, U.S. Representative from Ohio House District 9, defender of American jobs, workers and businesses


Sisters Carol Anne O’Marie and Maureen Lyons, ministers to homeless women and children at A Friendly Place, urban drop-in center; Oakland


Mary Ann and Robert J. Kresse, community activists and philanthropists; Buffalo


Mary Bill, Director of the Great Lakes Theatre Festival, outstanding advocate for arts in America; Cleveland


Mary Elizabeth Kennedy, CoFounder, principal and director of a community country day school for emotionally disturbed children; Erie


Sister Sally M. Furay, RSCJ, Vice President and Provost, University of San Diego; San Diego


Florence Edelbrock, Organizer of international service programs for the poor, including the African Water Project; Detroit


Sister Mary Peter, SP, Director of support agencies for women and children; Springfield


Barbara H. Willke, Right-to-Life leader; Cincinnati


Zoe Dunphy, Educator and advocate of legislation for the elderly; Toledo


Virginia Breher Colson, Childrens’ Services, social worker; Columbus


Lucienne Gourdon Biggs, International figure in liturgical music and Catholic philosophical thought; Los Angeles


Eleanor Josaitis, Cofounder and Director of Focus Hope, a food prescription project; Toledo


Sister M. Aquin Gallagher, OP, Advisor-Educator; Grand Rapids


Dr. Francis Quinlivan, noted educator; Cleveland


Teresa Posey, activist laywoman; Washington, DC


Marie Kilgannon, Supervisor of Unwed Mothers Services, Catholic Charities; Chicago


Margaret Sullivan, outstanding laywoman; Chicago


Kathryn O’Hay Granahan, Treasurer of the United States; Philadelphia