“Humankind, full of all creative possibilities, is God’s work. Humankind alone is called to assist God. Humankind is called to co-create. With nature’s help, humankind can set into creation all that is necessary and life-sustaining.”

-St. Hildegard

GIVEN participants take what they have learned at the leadership forum and leave with an Action Plan in hand. That plan is meant to put their gifts in service of the Gospel within a particular community.

The Action Plan can be large- or small-scale, but all Action Plans are new initiatives that benefit others. Through their attendance at the Forum and participation in GIVEN’s year-long leadership training program, cohort members each learn how to activate the gifts that God has given them and offer the gift that only they can give. Click here to access a document with helpful tips about discerning and writing your Action Plan.

“Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.” Mt. 10:8

Read below a few samples of GIVEN Action Plans. GIVEN commits to one year of support for an Action Plan after initial approval and acceptance into a Forum cohort. GIVEN aims to help shape the plan as faithful and innovative through the Forum experience and the Art of Accompaniment Mentoring Program.

Astounding Glory seeks to make the fullness of God’s healing accessible to survivors of sexual abuse by empowering those who are channels of God’s healing as well as providing resources and support for sexual abuse survivors. They believe the fullness of hope, healing, and freedom is found in Our Lord, through the treasures of The Church, and allows survivors to exclaim, like Saint Augustine, “In my deepest wound I saw Your Glory, and it astounded me!”

Hope Acquilano '21, Astounding Glory

“My action plan was to do a 5-week program on praying with art, particularly on the theme of the feminine genius. I found praying with art transforming in my own journey with God and wanted to share that with others. Since GIVEN, my action plan has turned into a full-time mission. I founded an organization called Behold, which has published a guide to the practice of “visio divina” and provide workshops in parishes and in our online community.”

Katie Weiss '16, Behold Visio Divina

“Bioethics and Dignity Initiative is a curriculum that brings philosophy and bioethics to Catholic high schools. Once implemented into the classroom, schools are encouraged to foster “youth advocacy groups” and the possibility of a pro-life and pro-dignity sexual education curriculum. The goal is to equip students with resources rooted in proper Christian anthropology and instill the confidence to build up the Culture of Life to sanctify the world!”

Clarissa Prisinzano '21, Bioethics & Dignity Initiative

“The Catholic Woman nonprofit organization is a storytelling platform with the mission to illustrate the many faces and vocations of women in the Church by publishing stories from Catholic women of all walks of life to show millennial Catholic women that there is a place for them in the Church. Our reach is over 70,000.”

Corynne Staresinic '16, The Catholic Woman

“My GIVEN action plan was a reflections series for Christian PhD students to help with discerning the next step in their careers. This series provides helpful tools for better understanding what personal prayer and discernment looks like, especially when asking big questions about the future. Although written initially for my PhD student community, the principles can be applied to any kind of life discernment.”

Kathryn Brewer '21

“More than a ministry, Eden Invitation is a movement. We provide community & formation for young adult Catholics who experience same sex desires or gender discordance and are striving to be disciples of Christ. So many people on the LGBTQ spectrum don’t feel they have a home in the Catholic Church. We hope the witness of Eden Invitation shows otherwise!”

Anna Carter '16 & Shannon Ochoa '19, Eden Invitation

“My GIVEN action plan was to create a platform to reconcile the messages of empowerment in feminism with the truth of Catholic teaching. The three-fold goal of FemCatholic is to educate people on what the Church actually says about women, encourage women to explore the tough questions with how to live out Church teachings, and empower women to bring their feminine gifts to the Church and the world.”

Samantha Povlock '16, FemCatholic

“My GIVEN plan was to form and launch FIERCE Athlete Inc. FIERCE Athlete (Femininity, Identity, Embodiment, Receptivity, Catholicism, and Encounter) exists in order to promote true and authentic femininity within female athletics based on the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

Samantha Kelley '16, FIERCE Athlete

“The Hildegard Collective connects Catholic musicians both online and at in-person events, provides formation in applying the Catholic faith to their craft, and supports new musical endeavors across genres that glorify God, explicitly or implicitly.”

Cecilia Blackwell '21, The Hildegard Collective

Jennifer Monsalve learned how St. Mother Teresa became dear friends with a young mother in Minnesota through letters she wrote while nursing her baby in the middle of the night. This inspired Jennifer to launch a six month letter writing initiative between GIVEN Forum lay women participants and religious sisters – bringing together women from different vocations and recovering the lost art of letter-writing. Women who had never met religious sisters were finally engaging in conversation and simply walking with one another.

“Religious sisters are such a gift and a treasure to the Body of Christ, yet so many within the Church are distant from them. I decided to create an Action Plan to bridge the gap.”

Jennifer Monsalve '21, Letters Among Sisters

“The Magdalen Project recognizes that every woman has a story. Inspired by our patroness St. Mary Magdalen’s conversion, we share women’s stories of transformed shame. By giving a platform to the ways the Lord has encountered other women’s shame and resurrected it, we hope to inspire other women to let the Lord into the dark places of their heart and to empower them to reach out to their sisters in true vulnerability. Together we can step out of the darkness of shame and into the Light of Christ.”

Ann Gennaro '19, The Magdalen Project

“I founded and launched Managing Your Fertility as a ‘one-stop shop’ for individuals and couples to learn about the basics of reproductive health and the variety of NFP methods available. Managing Your Fertility is a resource for individuals and couples to review reproductive health science, criticisms and praise of specific methods, and research on the topic at large.”

Photo of Bridget BusackerBridget Busacker '16, Managing Your Fertility

“As part of my Action Plan for miscarriage ministry, I organized a Mass for Pregnancy Loss & Infertility at St. Mary Parish in New Haven, CT with Fr. John Paul Walker, OP who gave an incredibly moving homily. During the offertory everyone was able to process up the aisle bearing a candle in memory of child(ren) lost or children hoped for, laying it at the feet of our Heavenly Mother. It was a powerful moment of solidarity and bringing light to each other’s darkness. I hope to make it an annual event and implement even more resources at the Archdiocesan level and beyond”

Emily Naylor '19, Mass for Pregnancy Loss & Infertility

After years of giving her parish’s “NFP Talk,” Ellen Holloway noticed the lack of formation and support for couples. She created FP Basics, an add-on module to give couples a comprehensive introduction to Natural Family Planning. With the help of her GIVE Mentor and the GIVEN network, Ellen developed a scalable program and built her business. At the end of Ellen’s mentoring year, the program began running in 5 dioceses, with 6 coaches working under Ellen, and plans to expand!

“I honestly got a little scared. I wasn’t sure that I could do it. If it wasn’t for GIVEN, I likely would have left it as a small program run through my home diocese.”

Ellen Holloway '22, NFP Basics

“I put on a music and arts festival in the spirit of the Florida Martyrs to offer relief to Christians in the Middle East called the “No Greater Love Festival,” which had over 500 attendees. Together we donated $31,704.25 to the Knights of Columbus’ Christians at Risk initiative. Additionally, a Native American community was so impacted by their experience that 30 of their people returned to the Catholic faith of their martyred ancestors.”

Photo of Mary Catherine DamonMary Catherine Florence '16, No Greater Love Festival

“Pray Like a Girl is a YouTube channel for young women seeking sainthood. As young women discern God’s will for their lives and future careers, we are grateful to share with them the light that women in every career path and vocation can bring to the world. We highlight the stories of women boldly living out their faith in the real world, dwelling on the passion that God has given us to contribute to His Kingdom.”

Kathleen Loesel '19 & Kelly Griffith '19, Pray Like a Girl

“For my Action Plan, I organized a day of recollection inspired by the life and writings of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. The day of recollection offered an encounter with this gentle but powerful saint who encourages all the baptized to embrace the great gift of intimacy with the Holy Trinity who dwells within us by grace. Fr. James Brent, O.P. generously led the day of recollection and offered a conference on the spirituality and writings of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, and contemplative souls. It was a day of grace that revealed a deep thirst for contemplative prayer among the participants. From the retreat, a group called “Contemplative Souls” formed, who continue to meet approximately once a month to pray for one another to grow in greater union with God.”

Kelley McNutt '19, Contemplative Souls

“The aim of The Visitation Project is to grow a group of volunteers to visit those who are isolated and lonely. St. Teresa of Calcutta said: “We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love.” In my work as a nurse, I often see the consequences of loneliness and hopelessness in the lives of my patients. My goal with The Visitation Project is to have volunteers imitate Mary who ran to Elizabeth when she was in need, and offer time and friendship to those who are isolated for reasons of health, age or life circumstances.”

Claire Brown '19, The Visitation Project

As a young adult seeking Catholic community in North Carolina, Nnemka Nwajiaku went to almost all of the young adult groups in her city and was always the only black person or one of two. For Nnemka, “skin color isn’t one’s total identity” but familiarity is crucial to “feel welcomed and seen within the Church.” Because of her experience, Nnemka started the ministry Young, Black & Catholic to create a community for young adult Black Catholics aged 18-39 to grow in their faith and love of God alongside others with the same goal.

“GIVEN was the catalyst for my desire to create community for people like me, looking for genuine young adult friendships…it changed my life.”

Nnemka Nwajiaku '22, Young, Black & Catholic