Since its inception in 1944, the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation has supported the work of Catholic sisters. In 2013, the Foundation inaugurated the Catholic Sisters Strategic Initiative with a focus on building the internal capacity of Catholic sisters’ congregations to improve leadership and membership, to strengthen collaboration among congregations, and to increase public understanding of the work of Catholic sisters. The initial years of grantmaking have underscored the importance of education and training in improving the operations of, and collaboration among, Catholic sisters’ congregations and the importance of communications as a key element to sisters’ success in their ministries. Grantmaking has also revealed the importance of improving sisters’ ability to monitor and report on the results of investments that the Catholic Sisters Strategic Initiative is making in order to assess performance and impact.

The objective of this analysis is to suggest the structure and approach that could anchor the Catholic Sisters Strategic Initiative grantmaking strategy for the next five-year period. The Catholic Sisters Strategic Initiative engaged over 200 stakeholders in more than 40 focus groups, meetings and interviews. These interviews and focus groups took place throughout the United States and in Italy, Kenya, Uganda and Zambia. Three quarters of the stakeholders were sisters.