35 Years of Hope: Carol Cronin
Carol Cronin’s family foundation has been supporting St. Martin de Porres House of Hope for more than 20 years. “My sister Hannah first heard Sister Connie speak to a group of women in Northbrook about 1985. She made a contribution and still has the thank you note signed by Sister Therese. When our family started a foundation several years later, Hannah suggested St. Martin de Porres and we have been funding them for general operating costs ever since.”
Carol’s family foundation has also supported St. Martin de Porres House of Hope with strategic planning. “We thought that it was important that the board and leadership at St. Martin’s take a hard look at issues related to sustainability in order to assure the community and the women, kids and funders that we have the infrastructure and strategic plan to be around for the future. That led to a real commitment to upgrade the development function and strategic planning.” As a result, Yaisa Hagood was brought on as a development consultant, and after a year, assumed the role of executive director.
“As a foundation we are particularly interested in organizations that serve single moms and their kids. We did research about the most in-need population in the country and came up with single moms and their kids. The fact that St. Martin de Porres House of Hope provides care that allows moms to stay with the kids, and that women stay as long as they are able is a real plus. Other organizations have to exit pretty fast, after just three to six months.”
Carol, who has a background in gerontology and health policy, served as president of her family’s foundation, and is now a member of its governing group. She and her family members have made numerous visits to St. Martin de Porres House of Hope. “Half of my family of 15 people has been there. I remember one Thanksgiving, we went to St. Martin de Porres House of Hope to visit. It’s a very warm setting with the kids, the smell of good food cooking and a dog wandering around. It felt like a home. “