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RFP--Strategic Planning Consultant
Giving Voice: The Voices of Younger Women Religious
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A special Giving Voice message 

Giving Voice, in Partnership with CTU, submits the following - Request for Proposal (RFP)


Consultant Responsibilities:


Giving Voice (GV) seeks to engage a consultant who will help the organization define and establish a realistic five-year strategic plan.  The plan will include concrete and practical ways: to expand the Giving Voice digital network, enhance communications across the nation, learn and use related software and technologies for instant translation, build relationships, grow leadership through training among younger Women Religious Sisters and expand funding sources.


Organization Information:


Giving Voice (GV) is a peer-led organization that creates spaces for younger women religious to give voice to their hopes, dreams and challenges in religious life.  Further, it is a network of relationships that seeks to open spaces for younger women religious to build relationships, learn from one another, and build skills for the future with peers across religious congregations.  As a peer-led network of younger sisters, GV uses the Circle Process (developed by Christina Baldwin and Ann Linnea) as its organizational model. The Circle Process is centered on three principles: rotating leadership, shared responsibility, and reliance on wholeness.  Initiatives identified in this strategic planning process will be designed to prepare younger sisters to deepen their network and assume positions of leadership.


Project Description:

Over the years it has become apparent to GV that more, easier and better communication is needed to further relationships and the organization.  GV also wishes to find ways to prepare younger Catholic Sisters to assume leadership positions in their communities, ministries, and the Church.  GV is also

committed to developing the sustainability of the organization through the identification of expanding funding sources.


Identified Challenges:  


Age peers- While there are approximately 3,000 younger sisters in the U.S. today, they are spread across 450 institutes or congregations, resulting in a limited number of age peers within their own community.

Leadership Development- Sisters under the age of 60 make up only 9% of U.S. women religious, resulting in a limited pool of qualified leaders for future leadership. 


Increasing Diversity- Younger sisters are a very diverse group, especially compared to the dominant age cohort in the U.S. While 90% of professed sisters in the U.S. are Caucasian, 42% of sisters in initial formation are from other racial and ethnic groups (21% Hispanic/Latina, 14% Asian/Pacific Islander, 6% Black/African American, 1% Other).

Time Urgency- Religious life in the North American context is poised to enter a period of rapid demographic change. While the number of sisters has decreased 69% since 1965, the decrease in the next two decades will be even more dramatic given that the vast majority of today's sisters are over the age of 65. Within the next 5 to 15 years, members of the younger generation of sisters will be called upon to move into positions of formal leadership in their communities, ministries, and the wider church.




The project will provide younger women religious the opportunity to engage in creative visioning, strategic planning, relationship building, leadership development, technology awareness and attending to the identified needs of younger sisters within the Giving Voice network.

Project Objectives:


Objective One:

To enhance the capacity of the Giving Voice network to do creative visioning, strategic planning, relationship building, and leadership development.

  1. Develop a strategic planning process-The planning process will be participative and include a diverse representation of younger GV sisters.  The plan will highlight the needs and solutions for leadership development.  Further, it will define multiple ways for younger sisters to network. 
  2. Key Identifier of the Strategic Plan- The plan will include ways to broaden the GV network and provide opportunities for leadership development.
  3. The Strategic Initiative process will be attentive to the participation of younger sisters ministering in the U.S. whose first language is not English.  This may include the need for translators, translation equipment and/or the translation of written materials.


  1. A diverse group of 30-50 younger GV sisters will participate in the strategic planning process.
  2. This Strategic Plan will identify key initiatives to broaden GV network and provide opportunities for leadership development.
  3. There will be a 20% increase in participation by younger sisters, in online GV spaces, within 3 years.

Objective Two:

To implement the initiatives designed into the strategic plan, expand outreach and increase diversity.



  1. Fifty to one hundred younger sisters will be trained in the Circle Process or other leadership skills.
  2. Within 3 years, at least 10 new communities will have their younger sisters involved in the GV network.
  3. Within 3 years, the participation of younger sisters will be more representative of the population and diversity of younger sisters in terms of language, culture, and ethnicity.
  4. Appropriate and deep training will increase the pool of potential leaders in GV.
  5. Confidence for and leadership skills of younger sisters will increase.
  6. A larger database of contacts and members will be established

Objective Three:

To identify sources of long-term financial viability for the GV network and to raise visibility of GV with various publics.



  1. Within 3 years, increased revenue will pay for a half-time administrative assistant position.
  2. There will be 5-10 media mentions per year (more in conference years).
  3. Viable funding sources, such as foundations, individual donors, and grants will be identified.
  4. A media outreach process and campaign for all events and retreats will be in process (start in 2015).
  5. An annual appeal will increase funding by 25% within 3 years.


Estimated Project Duration:

Project duration is three years.

Successful Consultant Candidate will be notified by March 2015


Assumptions and Agreements:

Consultant candidates, with experience and knowledge of women religious, especially younger women religious, will be given preference.

Work with non-profits and/or other religious entities is strongly recommended

Ability to begin in the near future

Consultation fee is negotiable and based on related consulting experience


Submission Information:

Catholic Theological Union is the fiscal sponsor for Giving Voice.

Submission Open: February 6, 2015

Submission Deadline: March 6, 2015      

Mail to:  CTU with Attention: Giving Voice, 5401 S. Cornell Ave., Chicago, IL 60615

Email Acceptances:    This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it   please put "Consultant Candidate for GV" in the email subject line.

For clarification please contact GV Core Team members at   This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it   Contacts for core team are: Sarah Kohles, OSF, Leslie Keener, CDP, and Priscilla Torres, OP


From the Giving Voice Core Team

Rejane Cytacki, SCL, Jeannie Humphries, OSU, Leslie Keener, CDP, Sarah Kohles, OSF, Priscilla Torres, OP, Nicole Trahan, FMI
A Special Message from Giving Voice- Hilton Grant Announcement

Giving Voice in Partnership with Catholic Theological Union Awarded $1 Million by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation

Giving Voice Core Team: 
Sarah Kohles, OSF, Rejane Cytacki, SCL, Nicole Trajan, FMI, Leslie Keener, CDP.  Jeannie Humphries, OSU, and Priscilla Torres, OP are not pictured.

(August 27, 2014) The Board of Directors of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation voted on August 19, 2014, to approve a $1 million grant in support of the efforts of Giving Voice in partnership with Catholic Theological Union (CTU) to prepare young Roman Catholic women religious to assume leadership positions in their religious communities, ministries, and the Catholic Church.


Giving Voice is a peer-led network created by younger sisters to give voice to their hopes, dreams, and challenges in religious life. CTU is one of the largest Roman Catholic graduate schools of theology and ministry in the U.S. It prepares women and men religious, as well as lay people, for leadership in the Church. 


In receiving this grant, Giving Voice in concert with CTU will promote efforts to network and prepare younger sisters to be qualified and effective leaders for the Catholic Church and future religious life. The grant will also assist in advancing strategic planning, enhancing leadership development within the Giving Voice network, hiring administrative staff to supplement the Giving Voice volunteer leadership team, and improving Giving Voice's website and communications tools.


On behalf of the Giving Voice Core Team, Sr. Leslie Keener, CDP, said, "Giving Voice is delighted about this opportunity to work with the Hilton Foundation and Catholic Theological Union to strengthen our ability to build the network of relationships among younger women religious, as these relationships are essential for religious life today and for how religious life will continue to evolve in the future."


In receiving this grant, the Rev. Mark R. Francis, CSV, President of CTU, said, "As a school funded by a union of religious communities, CTU has always had the development of religious and consecrated life at the heart of its mission. We are very pleased to be able to provide a service to this group of young women religious whose voice needs to be heard as we face the challenges of living the consecrated life in the 21st Century." 

Mark Francis, CSV, President and Barbara Reid, OP, Vice President and 
Academic Dean of CTU


The Hilton Foundation was created in 1944 by international business pioneer Conrad N. Hilton, who founded Hilton Hotels and left his fortune to help the world's disadvantaged and vulnerable people. The Foundation currently conducts strategic initiatives in six priority areas: providing safe water, ending chronic homelessness, preventing substance abuse, helping children affected by HIV and AIDS, supporting transition-age youth in foster care, and extending Conrad Hilton's support for the work of Catholic Sisters. In addition, following selection by an independent international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $1.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to a nonprofit organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. From its inception, the Foundation has awarded more than $1 billion in grants, distributing $92 million in the U.S. and around the world in 2013. The Foundation's current assets are approximately $2.4 billion. For more information, please visit

About Giving Voice

Giving Voice is a peer led organization that creates spaces for younger women religious to give voice to their hopes, dreams and challenges in religious life. 


Sisters at national conferenceSisters at MLK retreat Sisters at 20s and 30s Retreat
Circle at 20s & 30s Retreat
2015 National Gathering

Register for our 2015 Giving Voice National Gathering

Save the Date GV 2015

Giving Voice is pleased to announce our next National Gathering:

Crossing Boundaries in Religious Life 

Date: Thursday, August 6 to Sunday, August 9, 2015

Location: Savior Pastoral Center, Kansas City, Kansas

Speakers: Sophia Park, SNJM and Teresa Maya, CCVI


Single $375 ($400 after January 1, 2015) - Limited availability

Double $325 ($350 after January 1, 2015)

Commuter $225 ($250 after January 1, 2015) - Fee includes meals

To register click here:

We look forward to seeing you in Kansas!

2014 Gathering of Sisters in their 40s

Retreat for Sisters in their 40s

North Lake HouseGiving Voice will be hosting our first ever retreat weekend for women religious in their 40s this summer for prayer, reflection, conversation and relationship building. The retreat will take place August 1-3, 2014 at North Lake outside Seattle, Washington.

The response has been incredible and we are at/near capacity with those who have indicated they are coming.  Please email This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it if you are interested in attending to see if there is space or  to be added to the wait list in case of cancellations.  


2015 Gathering of Sisters in their 20s and 30s
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Are you a Sister in her 20s or 30s?

Register for our 20s/30s Retreat!

Plan on joining us on MLK Weekend 2015 (January 16-18, 2015) for our Giving Voice 20s and 30s retreat at the beautiful Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery in Phoenix, Arizona.

This annual peer-led retreat is a wonderful opportunity to connect with other younger women religious for prayer, reflection, conversation and relationship building.

Click here to register:

Read about our 2013 MLK weekend retreat 

Supporting Congregations
Giving Voice thanks the congregations that have become supporting members in 2014 (updated December 1, 2014)
Cenacle Sisters 
Congregation of Bon Secours
Congregation of Divine Providence (Melbourne, KY) 
Congregation of Divine Providence (San Antonio, TX) 
Congregation of the Humility of Mary (Davenport, IA) 
Congregation of Saint Agnes
Dominican Sisters of Mission San Jose
Franciscan Sisters of Allegany, NY 
Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, MN 
Franciscan Sisters of the Atonement
Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration
Hospital Sisters of St. Francis 
Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters 
Sinsinawa Domincans 
Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Dubuque)
Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati 
Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth 
Sisters of Charity of New York 
Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine 
Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth (Convent Station, NJ)
Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word (San Antonio, TX) 
Sisters of the Divine Savior 
Sisters of the Holy Cross  
Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary (US-Ontario Province) 
Sisters of the Humility of Mary (Villa Maria, PA)  
Sisters of the Living Word 
Sisters of Mercy, NYPPAW 
Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Community 
Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of O'Fallon, MO 
Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur (Everett, PA)
Sisters of the Precious Blood (Dayton, OH) 
Sisters of Providence, Mother Joseph Province (Renton, WA)
Sisters of St. Anne 
Sisters of St. Benedict (Rock Island, IL)  
Sisters of St. Dominic (Racine, WI) 
Sisters of St. Francis of Dubuque 
Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia 
Sisters of St. Francis of Tiffin, Ohio 
Sisters of St. Joseph of Boston  
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (Los Angeles Province) 
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet (St. Louis Province)  
Sisters of St. Joseph of Concordia
Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield 
Sisters of St. Joseph of the Third Order of St. Francis
Sisters, Servents of the Immacualte Heart of Mary (Monroe, MI) 
Society of the Holy Child Jesus (American Province) 
Ursuline Sisters of the Roman Union (Central Province)
Ursuline Sisters of the Roman Union (Eastern Province)  
Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk 
Ursuline Sisters of Toledo
Without the generous support of congregations and organizations, Giving Voice would not be able to continue offering spaces for meaningful conversations on religious life across generations.


If you would like to be a supporting member of Giving Voice, you can find more information here in  Giving Voice 2014 Supporting Membership.


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