Stephanie Sullivan is passionate about providing all students with the resources needed to succeed in school. After teaching at Bon Air Elementary for several years, Stephanie realized that many of her Latino students faced unique obstacles that created a disadvantage from the start. Her compassion moved her to action - she wanted to do something that would help all students learn on an equal playing field.
The Sacred Heart Center was first introduced to Stephanie by a staff member at The Community Foundation. Her father, John McCann, established a donor advised family fund at the Foundation with the hope of engaging his children and grandchildren in philanthropy. Annually, each sibling has an opportunity to propose a grant suggestion to the family.
The Sacred Heart Center embodies Stephanie’s passion for serving the Latino population in Richmond, serving as a hub that brings families together, offers educational opportunities for adults, and prepares first generation Americans for success.
After learning more about Sacred Heart’s mission and programs through a site visit, Stephanie was immediately hooked. “I was blown away and inspired by the unwavering commitment of the leaders at the Sacred Heart Center,” said Stephanie, “It felt like an extended family to those they serve.” Knowing firsthand the many challenges the Latino population faces, Stephanie was eager to share more about this hidden gem with her family members.
Together, the McCanns were able to help Sacred Heart Center provide mental health services for youth and additional transportation for families through a grant from their family fund. Now families will have greater access to much needed counseling services and learning opportunities that help them reach higher education and employment goals. Stephanie and her family are pleased to have discovered this special place and they are encouraged by its continued growth and expanded early childhood programs and legal services.
*Stay tuned for a follow up blog post including an interview with Sacred Heart Center staff and more information about ways to engage in the incredible work Sacred Heart is doing in our community.