The Martin de Porres Foundation supports the spiritual growth of African American Catholics in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We do this through funding the education and training of effective black Catholic leaders as well as programs that evangelize the black community.
We envision an increase in educated Black Catholic leaders throughout the diocese, in our parishes, schools and community, evangelizing the AA thereby enriching the church.
WE believe that education and training empowers leaders.
WE believe that Black Catholic spirituality is a gift to the whole church.
WE believe that the staff, volunteers, and board members of our parishes and schools reflect the culture of the people they serve.
WE believe that recipients of past and present grants should be energized and encouraged to use and share their gifts.
“Always consider others as more holy and more worthy than you, at the same time strive to be as holy as you can be.” —St. Martin de Porres
The Martin de Porres Foundation was founded in 1948 by Matthew H. McCloskey, Jr, prominent Philadelphia builder and philanthropist. The first formal meeting of the incorporators and original members of the foundation took place January 29, 1949. Mr. McCloskey owned and operated a construction company headquartered at 1620 Thompson Street in North Philadelphia. The company was near the Church of the Gesu and not far from St. Elizabeth Church.
He became friendly with the pastor of St. Elizabeth Church, Msgr. Edward Cunnie, who recognized the need to develop black lay leadership in order to advance Catholicism in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Msgr. Cunnie thought the best way to accomplish this was through education. He asked Mr. McCloskey to assist some of the neighborhood children with scholarships. Initially McCloskey established six scholarships – three for boys and three for girls – to St. Joseph’s, LaSalle, and Villanova, and to Immaculata, Rosemont, and Chestnut Hill Colleges.
Through the years, the Martin de Porres Foundation has provided partial college scholarships to African American adults; has underwritten the cost of pursuing religious studies at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary and subsidized many of the programs of the St. Peter Claver Center for Evangelization. Presently, a portion of the Foundation’s budget funds the Directors of Religious Education serving in the Urban Ministry parishes.
We applaud the original Martin de Porres scholars, all former scholarship recipients and present grant beneficiaries, the Administrators, Coordinators, and Directors of Religious Education who have served inner city parishes throughout the years.