2024: What Lies Ahead?

(A conversation between MPS Executive Director, Artie Pingolt & MPS Funding Guide Editor, Jennifer Pingolt)

ARTIE PINGOLT:  As I look ahead to the new year, 2024, that is exactly the word that comes to mind: “new.”  Missionaries should make an effort to do something new in 2024, that is, something that they did not do in 2023.  Specifically, I suggest two new things:   ONE, writing a grant for a project or program that is new, that they have not asked for before, and TWO, writing to a foundation or foundations that they have not written to before. 

QUESTION:  What’s your word for the year, Jennifer?

JENNIFER PINGOLT:  I am inspired by your word and mine is along the same line.  I would encourage grant writers to make “expansion” their guiding force in 2024.  Expansion in a variety of areas – from grant writing skill building to casting a wider research net and considering new and different ways to raise funds:  perhaps that looks like seeking smaller award amounts from multiple funders for a single project or partnering with another congregation and sharing the financial burden.  It’s about Be open to doing things differently in 2024.

When I refer to expansion, I mean not only widening our path, but also going deeper.  So that would be something else I’d want folks to consider in 2024. In the book the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People, Steven Covey cites “sharpening the saw” as one of his keys to success.  And I think that rings true today.  Make grant writing training and skill development an ongoing commitment.  Whether you are new to grant writing, or are a seasoned pro.  There is ALWAYS something new to learn!  Well-written, sharp grant proposals get funded!  

QUESTION:  Outside of additional training, what other advice do you have for our readers in terms of increasing their funding success in 2024?

ARTIE PINGOLT:  Hey, nice reply to my question…or should I say good expansion!? ?

What other advice?  I’ll go way back for this one, to the old Chinese proverb: “journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”    There is also a second translation of the original Chinese: “a thousand-mile journey begins where one stands.”

What this means is that wherever you are, ‘right now’ is the place where your journey in grant writing begins.  There is no perfect place to begin, we will always be busy and perhaps even have reasons to feel discouraged.  But we can’t escape where it is that we stand right now.  Just jump in and begin the journey!

QUESTIONOK, Jennifer, you get the last word. So far, we have our words of the year (new and expansion), sharpened saws and a thousand-mile journey.  What is one last thing you would want to give our missionaries as they start 2024?  (and keep it short, they’re busy people! ?)


I don’t often get the last word, so I consider it an honor to bring our conversation to a close.  In keeping with your analogy of grant writing being a journey – my final bit of advice is to not go it alone in 2024.  There are so many resources available to help you on along the way:  from the MPS Funding Guide and our GW 101 online, on-demand grant writing course, to Google search and various blogs, YouTube videos and forums dedicated to grant writing.  I encourage you to network with other grant writers (along with foundation staff) and create your own grant writing support circle where you can share ideas and solicit feedback. 

GOD:  And of course, don’t forget to pray for all the good things you need to love and serve the people I have given you!  We’re all in this together. ?

One of my favorite lines is from the famous and beloved Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore: “Hope is the bird that sings to the dawn in the darkness of the night.”

The line is lovely, but what about that bird that chooses to keep singing in the dark? What is he or she like?

I got my answer recently, in reading an article about St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits but also author of the famous Spiritual Exercises that have transformed our Church. I took interest in the article because of my own two years spent as a Jesuit novice, which included the privilege of experiencing the Exercises.  It turns out that Ignatius was, it seems, one of these birds that Tagore wrote about. 

Ignatius composed the foundation of the Exercises during his time at Manresa, a small town in Spain. We know that he spent much of his time during his days at Manresa in the darkness of a cave, which is visited in our present day as the Cave of St. Ignatius.

What many do not know, and I sure didn’t until I read the article, is that at precisely this time when he was composing the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius was beset with some of the lowest days of his life, filled with self-doubt, guilt, fear, and deep depression. It is said he even considered ending his own life.

Yet at exactly the time when he felt most useless but managed to continue composing the Exercises, God was making the greatest use of him for all the world!

How does this apply to us missionaries, trying and failing to obtain help for those we care about?

At the very least, it means we cannot give up hope in our uselessness.  Like Ignatius, our own limitations and feelings of failure have the paradoxical effect of wiping the slate clean for God to come in and do what cannot do ourselves.

Writing grant proposals can feel like singing to the dawn in the darkness of the night.  But even if we cannot see, it does not mean that God is not at work, perhaps in the grants we don’t receive just as much as the ones we do! 

162 Reasons for Catholic Sisters to Enroll and Complete GW101

Earlier this year, Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) initiated a project of information sharing among 162 communities of Catholic sisters.  The goal of the exchanges, conducted monthly via ZOOM, is to increase international understanding of the healthcare-related needs of sisters and to share “best practices” or other innovative approaches that communities of sisters are using to address their challenges.

And the challenges are numerous.  Here are just a few of the challenges that have already been identified:

*40% of congregations don’t have adequate beds for their sisters

*Only 36% of congregations provided regular medical check-ups for sisters

*In Africa, congregations estimate that 40-45% lack the infrastructure to address future needs

Not surprisingly, limited financial resources only exacerbate these problems:

*Health expenses for sisters currently total about 60-65% of a congregation’s budget

*80% of congregations have no advisors to provide expertise in managing these issues

*75-90% of congregations are financially constrained to begin addressing these issues

One thing is clear:  more financial resources will be needed in the future to help those sisters who have helped so many others throughout their lives as religious.

One way of preparing for the future will be to increase the number of sisters who are more knowledgeable in the areas of finance and fundraising.

MPS, through its partnership with the Hilton Fund For Sisters, is offering its online course Grant Writing 101 (GW101), FREE to sisters through the end of 2023.  GW101 will not solve all of a congregation’s problems and challenges, BUT there is little doubt that it will be more helpful for a congregation to have more sisters educated in finance and fundraising than not.

Please take advantage of this opportunity to increase your sisters’ skills!

To learn more about GW 101 – click here and select your preferred language (English, Spanish or French).  You will then be directed to a landing page that explains the course and curriculum. To register in order to obtain the course for free (courtesy of Hilton Fund For Sisters), click here.


Dear fellow missionaries,

I recently was asked to review a “letter of intent/project description” written by a missionary for a project that serves women and children.  The form allowed for 1 page of writing.

You can imagine my surprise (and concern) to find, upon review, that nearly one-half of the letter was taken up describing the missionary’s congregation, its history of serving women and children, and its commitment to this part of the world.

While the commitment of one’s congregation is important, that importance should only be highlighted after the foundation knows what the project is.  Then the missionary can suggest that they are just the right people to make the project work.

To focus the grant applicant on the important issues first, our recently-launched Grant Writing 101 course included a process called NSMO (pronounced  “nizmo”).  Use NSMO as your guide for the core of your project description and then add on other attractive elements-such as your congregation’s commitment-after establishing this core description first.

N is for Need.  Give the foundation an understanding of the compelling nature of the need that the project will address.  Indicate, where possible, that this compelling need is currently unmet by any other project or missionary presence.

      EXAMPLE:  The incidence of HIV in the rural area of Country X is the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa.

S is for Solution.  Establish clearly and with conviction that your project offers a solution to this need, based on your review, the endorsement of the people it will serve, and objective data available to you.

      EXAMPLE:  A multi-media campaign will greatly increase of awareness of HIV prevention strategies.

M is for Method.  While ‘method’ may seem like the same as solution, it is more specific.  It lets the foundation know that among the possible project choices, the one you have chosen is deemed to be the best. 

      EXAMPLE: The use of media is shown to capture a larger audience than in-clinic education.

O is for Outcomes.  Where possible, the result of implementing your project should always be measurable and these outcomes will be reported back to the foundation.

      EXAMPLE:  We estimate that 10,000 women and 5,000 men were exposed to the campaign.

NSMO is a framework that can and should be applied to every application request, letter of intent, abstract, or full application document.  It will help you organize your thoughts and may even cause you to rethink or refine the project you hope to get funded.

MPS sends its best wishes to you and your amazing work serving others!

Starting your engines for 2023!


Fellow missionaries, the start of a new year can sometimes be difficult, to get things moving, so to speak.  Because of this, MPS would like to share with you some research it has done, to help you get your engines started…or to help you get those engines, if you don’t have any!


Below is a list of agencies we found in the MPS 10th Edition Funding Guide and/or online that support applications for mission vehicles.  This list is no guarantee, but we hope it helps point you toward funders that might take an interest in a vehicle request. 


NOTE: be care of agencies that offer help to procure vehicles for you at a reduced cost.  MPS found one such agency in the US that claimed to be connected to the Anglican Church. It required payment up front, then would drag out the process of finding a vehicle.  In one case we are aware of, the missionary finally just gave up, rather than try and pursue legal action against an entity thousands of miles away.


Foundations That Fund Vehicles



Name of Funding Agency





New Zealand

Transport Aid Japan – Wheels for Africa






The Chatlos Foundation



Frank J. Lewis Foundation



Loyola Foundation



Order of Malta, American Association



Strake Foundation



Raskbo Foundation for Catholic Activities, Inc.



Mazza Foundation



The Walsh Foundation



Logos Charitable Fund, Inc.



James and Catherine Denny Foundation



Aileen S. Andrew Foundation



Sehn Foundation



Margaret Mudd Fletcher Charitable Foundation



Helen Brach Foundation

By this time, even those of us living in relatively remote areas know of the conflicts and crises around the world. The war in Ukraine has set off a cascade of events that is now reaching thousands of miles beyond that part of Europe. It is leading not only to the tragic death of thousands, it has also caused energy shortages and food insecurity around the world.

One of many lessons to take away from all that has happened is how very connected we have become on this little floating planet we call Earth. The doctrine of the Body of Christ, and our abiding connectedness to each other, shines through even more clearly at a time like this!

One other effect of this cascade has been the triggering of investment and financial crises around the world, too. In the United States alone, the stock markets have not seen a drop in value like this in over 50 years!

HOWEVER, just because foundations and other funders might be seeing a dramatic drop in their investment accounts, that does not necessarily mean they stop making grants or even that they make fewer grants.

Why is this?

Because most foundations and other charitable fiduciaries operate by what is known as “the prudent investor rule”. They choose a fixed percentage of their assets, usually 4 or 5%, to distribute in grants each year. This “prudent” approach means that 4 or 5% may be less than their investments make in a given year, but it also means that they are still able to donate 4 or 5% when their investments make less in other years, like now!

So, keep the focus on your needs, which might even increase at a time like this, and continue to submit grant applications where you can. Continued regards and best wishes!

Lent: Developing A Grant Writer’s Superpower

Happy Lent to all missionaries out there!

In late 2021, we shared a message with you at the beginning of Advent.  We wrote about “waiting”, waiting for a birth that changed our lives forever.  We also quoted the French spiritual writer Simone Weil, who wrote that “waiting is the basis for any relationship with God.”

Now here we are again, entering another time of waiting: Lent.  But our waiting is different this time and as grant writers, I believe these 40 days hold a time of paradoxical “superpower” for us.  What do I mean?

During Advent, we know what we are waiting for and the story ends in joy, the birth of the Christ, God’s entering humanity with an unmatchable, irreplaceable gift.

During Lent, we also know what we are waiting for: resurrection, another irreplaceable, unmatchable gift.  BUT the paradox of Lent is that this gift comes through the appearance of failure, rejection, denial:  the complete humility and surrender of Jesus.

I suggest to you that this paradox is our superpower.  To center ourselves in humility and surrender does not mean that we don’t give 100% effort and try and write the best grant application (in fact, many applications!) BUT THAT ONCE WE HAVE DONE THAT we center ourselves in humility and surrender to the outcome.  And there is great freedom in this surrender.  There is also great confidence in this because who better than the Crucified did exactly the same thing?

I think this is why another famous spiritual writer, Thomas Merton, wisely reminds us in New Seeds of Contemplation: “Humility is the surest sign of strength.”

So do your best. Apply. Get denied or rejected.  Apply again.  Use all aids available, then submit with hope and ask for the grace of humility that these 40 days of Lent are here to give us.

Our continued hopes and prayers for your ministries and your own experience of God’s closeness to you!

The 10th Edition Mission Project Service Funding Guide 


The 10th edition of the Mission Project Service Funding Guide is coming soon and we couldn’t be more excited to share it with you! The MPS Funding Guide is a catalog of grantmakers that support Catholic missionary projects. This edition has the most up-to-date list of funders sourced to help you achieve funding success.  Read on to learn how Mission Project Service and the 10th edition of the MPS Funding Guide can benefit your funding efforts.  


As Catholic Missionaries, Congregation Leaders, and other members of the church know, there are plenty of things that can be done that can help to improve the communities you serve. However, pastoral and human development projects are costly.   Without the funds and resources you need, your ability to make a positive impact is limited. At Mission Project Service, it is our goal to bridge the gap between project needs and funding shortfalls.


We do this in several ways, beginning with Grant writing education and information.


Effective grant writing is a viable tool to help you obtain the funds you need through, you guessed it, grants! At Mission Project Service, we have decades of experience in grant writing, and we can help you learn the skills to become a proficient grant writer.  The 10th edition of the MPS Funding Guide includes an entire section devoted to enhancing your grant writing capabilities.  Additionally, MPS continues to produce and provide free grant writing tools and resources on our website (check out our learning library) and Facebook page.  In late 2021, we will also begin to offer online grant writing workshops for those that wish to participate in a virtual workshop experience.


Of course, understanding the basics of effective grant writing is only one part of the funding equation. Once you’ve written the perfect grant, you need to be able to research and identify grantmakers who are most likely to fund your project(s).  And that’s where the 10th edition MPS Funding Guide comes in. 


The 10th edition includes detailed profiles of over three hundred potential funders looking to hear from missionaries just like you! So, in the guide, we not only break down the components of writing the perfect grant, we provide you with the contacts willing to provide funding to the right applicants. 


With the typical grant amount being between $10,000 - $15,000 USD, we are confident that when used properly, the 10th Edition Fund Guide is a purchase that will pay for itself tenfold. 


Any questions about the guide? Reach out! We are happy to answer. Would you like to be added to the waitlist for the 10th Edition Funding Guide? Click Here.


Happy Grant Writing!