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Supporting Marian University’s Working Families

August 27, 2023
By CSA Sisters of St. Agnes

This article appears in the August Issue of Reflections and Connections

On May 9, 2023, SSM Health Greater Fond du Lac gave a $50,000 gift to Marian’s Working Families Grant program. The Marian University Working Families Grant (WFG) Program provides tuition, along with stipends for rent, childcare, and food to economically disadvantaged single parents and is co-sponsored by the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes and an anonymous donor,

“We’re proud to be a part of this tremendous program, which has benefited so many families over the years,” Katherine Vergos, president of SSM Health St. Agnes Hospital says. “It is important to us to support the communities we serve in so many ways, and to help provide individuals and families with the resources they need to live healthier and more productive lives.” 

Kerry Strupp, Director of the WFG program, expressed her gratitude for the donation, stating, “This not only helps our students, but it helps their children, too. We’re very blessed to have partners like SSM Health and their generous donation.”

The WFG program blossomed from a simple seed of an idea from Sister Deb Walter in 1996 and was ultimately supported by the entire congregation. The Education Grant for Women and Children program, as it was originally called, initially began in response to changes in welfare programs that almost entirely eliminated opportunities for economically disadvantaged women to pursue higher education.  The groundwork laid by this program grew into a partnership with an anonymous donor, resulting in what is now the Working Families Grant program.

Participants in the Working Families Grant Program are literally working hard every day. Eligible recipients are single parents who have primary placement of their children. The grant provides stipends for monthly rent and childcare, monthly grocery gift cards, tuition assistance, budget/credit counseling, academic counseling, career counseling and workshops on life skills. Students are expected to be full time, maintain a 2.5 GPA, and complete 20 hours of community service per semester.

Pictured above (left to right): Katherine Vergos, president of SSM Health St. Agnes Hospital; Kerry Strupp, Marian University’s director of the Working Families Grant; and Michelle Majewski, president of Marian University.

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