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Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
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Veteran Catholic Charities Development Director moves away from full-time role
Story and photos by Bonita Lawhead, Inland Register staff
(From the Feb. 6, 2003 edition of the Inland Register)
Mary Ann Heskett steps back
this year from full-time work as Catholic Charities’ Development Director. She has worked with
the organization since 1978.
Loreen McPaul (center) is
Charities’ new Director of Development. She will be working with Communications Specialist
Camille Bollinger (left) and Special Events Coordinator Karen Orlando (right). (IR
Mary Ann Heskett said good-bye to Catholic Charities this month after more than 24 years in the
organization. She is not retiring completely; she will work one day a week, coordinating
special projects and training her replacement, Loreen McFaul of Spokane.
“It’s been a wonderful place to work,” Heskett said as she reflected on those years. “There was a freedom to put together (ideas and programs) and a ‘let’s go for it’ attitude that was very positive.”
Heskett’s start at Catholic Charities was modest. She knew Donna Hanson, the director of Catholic Charities — “we had done volunteer work together” — who asked her to help with the Christmas Collection. That was in 1978. The work was very part-time: “I worked 10 hours a week in my home,” Heskett said.
Donna Hanson tells the rest of the story: “I had only been director since March and in those days, the director did everything. By October we still did not have the materials ready for the Christmas Collection. So I called Mary Ann and asked if she would take a small-stipend job for three months. She agreed, and in one week, she had the materials printed, the billboard spaces arranged, and public service announcements prepared. I’ll never forget it.”
The “small-stipend, three-month job” soon evolved into steady part-time work. Heskett went to work “from 20 to 30 hours a week” in the Charities’ office in the Catholic Pastoral Center. At first her job title was public relations consultant, and then she became the communications coordinator.
About 10 years ago, her title changed again, and she became Director of Development. Her job description also changed, and her department reorganized. Duties that had previously been her responsibility now fell to a part-time staff.
Over the years, the list of projects Heskett developed has lengthened: a monthly newsletter for the Charities’ office and a quarterly newsletter titled Loaves and Fishes, the Caring for Kids luncheon for St. Anne Children Home and Morning Star Boys’ Ranch, and the Spirit of St. Patrick benefit for St. Margaret Shelter.
Another is the Poor Man’s Meal which, she said, has “consistently raised $30,000 to fund the House of Charity’s winter sleeping program.”
Another of Heskett’s projects is the “100 Ways in 100 Days.” This project connects school students with the needs of the poor served by Catholic Charities. Students collect items in multiples of 100 – toiletries, toys, food, school supplies, even toilet paper. The collected goods are given to a facility such as St. Anne Children’s Home or the House of Charity.
This year’s “100 Ways in 100 Days” will culminate Feb. 11, with a ceremony at St. Mary School in the Spokane Valley.
A more recent project is Good Works in Action, in which people all over the diocese are invited to spend a day visiting Catholic Charities’ facilities.
One of the biggest projects that Heskett directed, and one in which she put the most hours, was the Shelter 2000 campaign. The campaign raised $6.5 million to build two new facilities for existing ministries, St. Margaret Shelter for homeless women and the House of Charity. Heskett said she didn’t know anything about capital campaign projects but “I talked to a lot of people who did.” She was a good learner, since the project surpassed its goal by $1 million. Both facilities were paid for when they opened in 2000.
Heskett was honored Jan. 30 at a “Transitional Event” at the Catholic Pastoral Center and presented with a framed print signed by staff members. The print is a collage of the “Postcards from St. Margaret’s,” a project Heskett started that raises funds for the shelter which assists homeless women.
She plans to work one day a week, coordinating special projects and helping with the orientation for her replacement, Loreen McFaul of Spokane.
McFaul started work Jan. 15. What she has in common with Heskett is a deep interest in volunteerism. She was very involved in student activities during her college years at the University of Montana in Missoula.
After college she moved to Spokane, and wasted no time getting involved once more. She signed on with the Spokane Symphony Women’s Association. “It was a good way to get acquainted,” she said, and that time gave her invaluable experience in fund-raising.
McFaul soon went to work at Goodale and Barbieri in convention sales and later became director. In 1992 she got to know Hanson and Heskett as they worked to bring the 1994 National Catholic Charities convention to Spokane.
Another important event happened in McFaul’s life in 1994: A daughter was born to her and her husband, Greg. While she was on maternity leave, she realized she wanted to be at home raising her children, at least until they went to school. A son was born later to the couple and children are now students at Cataldo School.
Now her work hours are coordinated with school hours so she can be at home when her children arrive. “I have an opportunity to blend two worlds,” she said. Daughter Shannon is eight and son Ben is six.
McFaul continued her volunteerism during her time at home, serving on the board of the Children’s Museum and as a doula, a mentor to teenage mothers, at St. Anne Children’s Home. She is also on the board of the Hutton Settlement, which, she said, is “quite an honor.”
The new director has been busy in her three weeks on the job. She has taken a tour of Charities’ facilities — “I made beds at the House of Charity” — to see firsthand the work done by the organization. She has worked on the final follow-up for the Christmas Collection and is “gearing up for the St. Patrick’s Day luncheon.”
She is also getting to know her two staff members: Communications Specialist Camille Bolinger and Special Events Coordinator Karen Orlando.
Both Heskett and McFaul are appreciative of people’s generosity in helping the poor. McFaul said she had no doubt the community’s generosity would continue in spite of rough economic times and troubled times in the church. “The poor are still hungry,” McFaul said. “They still need an education and a home. Single teen moms still need mentors.”
McFaul knows it will be “a big challenge, filling Mary Ann’s shoes.” But, “we need to stay focused on our mission and be positive,” she said.
As of Jan. 29, the 2002 Christmas Collection raised nearly $650,000, about $25,000 short of the goal, but a generous outpouring nevertheless.
All is not work in the two women’s lives. Both Heskett and McFaul love to garden. Heskett enjoys her home and loves to cook. Her parents recently moved to Spokane from Iowa and she is delighted to have them close by. She said there would likely be some trips to see the grandchildren. McFaul said that many of her outside activities revolve around her children.
In the transition, Hanson praised her former development director: “She’s always been enthusiastic, supportive and positive. She’s one of those rare individuals who always puts people first.”
For her part, Heskett said she had been “so blessed to work with such wonderful staff and volunteers. It’s been a great trip and I have nothing but gratitude. It’s been nice...to work for such faith-filled people.”
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