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$35 million gift to help Mercy Housing Northwest build new housing and services facility

May 1, 2017, Seattle, Washington – Mercy Housing Northwest received a gift of $30 million from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and another $5 million from the City of Seattle to “develop, own, and operate” a supportive housing and services facility for families experiencing homelessness in Seattle, according to a press release from the City of Seattle, the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, and Mercy Housing Northwest. 

“Yesterday we received an anniversary gift beyond our biggest dreams,” Sister Judy Byron, OP, wrote in an April 27 email to Adrian Dominican Sisters and Associates. Sister Judy serves on the Board of Directors of Mercy Housing Northwest. “The [Paul G. Allen Family] Foundation came to us and invited us into this partnership.”

The purpose of the project is to create permanent, stable homes for families experiencing homelessness and, through a number of onsite services, help them to break the cycle of homelessness. Some 1,684 families in King County, Washington, are homeless. 

Sister Judy and Sister Lorene Heck, OP, have been involved in Mercy Housing Northwest from its beginning 25 years ago. They were Edmonds Dominican Sisters and the organization was founded as Intercommunity Housing. The Edmonds Dominican Sisters and the Adrian Dominican Sisters merged in 2003.

“Each year, more than 5,000 children and adults, including single-parent families, multigenerational households, elders, immigrants, and refugees in Washington State are at home in one of our properties,” Sister Judy said. “And, because a home is just the beginning, we provide on-site services such as health and wellness classes, life skills training, and after-school programs that help residents live up to their potential and move out of poverty.” 

Sister Judy expressed deep gratitude to Paul Allen and to the religious communities of the Northwest – the Tacoma Dominicans, the Edmonds (now Adrian) Dominicans, the Sisters of Providence, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, and the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary – for their long-time commitment to the housing ministry.

To learn more about the project, read this article by Vernal Coleman of the Seattle Times.

Socially Responsible Investors Encourage Banks to Support Re-route of Dakota Access Pipeline

February 20, 2017, Adrian, Michigan – More than 130 socially responsible investors – representing $653 billion in assets – sent a joint statement to banks throughout the world who are financing the Dakota Access Pipeline. In the statement, they encourage the banks to “address or support the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s request for a reroute of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) to avoid their treaty territory.”

Among the signatories of the statement are Kathleen Woods, Chair of the Corporate Responsibility Committee of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Portfolio Advisory Board; Sister Judy Byron, OP, of the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investment; and representatives of other Congregations of Dominican Sisters and other communities of women religious.

The Standing Rock tribe had actively and peacefully opposed the pipeline’s projected route, which “crosses their drinking water, sacred sites, and treaty territory,” the investors note in their statement. The Sioux at Standing Rock had gained a victory in December when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers denied the necessary easement to complete the project. President Donald Trump, however, directed the Army Corps of Engineers to approve the grant the easement.

“We are concerned that if DAPL’s projected route moves forward, the result will almost certainly be an escalation of conflict and unrest as well as possible contamination of the water supply,” the investors write. Banks that are tied to the project, they add, could face “long-term brand and reputational damage resulting from consumer boycotts and possible legal liability.”



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