Seton Enablement Fund Celebrates 40 Years
The Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Seton Enablement Fund (SEF) during the Congregation’s Fall Congregational Days in September. Established in 1979 to provide loans and investments to community-based organizations that may not qualify for conventional financing, the Fund was created through the initiative and persistence of Sister of Charity Mary Assunta Stang. Always known for her dedication to those on the margins, Sister Mary Assunta’s vision inspired the Community into a new moment in its investment history.
SEF serves primarily not-for-profit organizations who are unable to receive reasonable loans, if any, at banks. Monies are loaned at a low-interest rate of usually 3 percent per year. The dedicated organizations SEF works with are engaged in creative and effective ways to simultaneously give back and economically empower the people they are serving. Through the SEF loans, the Gospel values and mission of the Sisters of Charity continue to reach far and wide.
Over the past four decades, the Seton Enablement Fund has given more than 400 loans to nonprofit organizations which provide housing, community development, small business assistance, job training, and environmental services to individuals and groups which would otherwise not be able to obtain funding. Mercado Global, a Brooklyn-based accessory brand and nonprofit that empowers rural Latin American women to become entrepreneurs, is a recipient of SEF funding. The organization wrote, “SEF’s line of credit provides the sales financing Mercado Global needs to connect indigenous women in rural Guatemala to sales with major international fashion retailers, giving them the income they need to provide for their families and to send their children to school.”
Sister Patricia Wittberg is the current administrator of the Fund. “Our loans have benefitted recipients in more than 30 states and numerous foreign countries,” Wittberg said. “It is hard to say who benefits most, however: our borrowers or we who are so inspired by what they are doing. We are honored to help support them.”