Catholic Charities Charity in Action Awards 2023

(from left) Catholic Charities board chair Gretchen Martinez Penny presented Charity in Action Awards for a parish to Allyson and Deacon Burt Martin, and Mary Gosline from St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church; Catholic Charities President and CEO Cynthia N. Colbert, MSW; volunteer and board member Ellen Ginty, with His Eminence Daniel Cardinal DiNardo standing next to Dr. Robert Sanborn with Children at Risk.

Charity in Action Awards Recognize Faithful Support for Catholic Charities’ Mission

Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston presented its annual Charity in Action Awards to a parish, an individual and an organization for outstanding support through gifts of time, talent and treasure.  Awards were presented at the agency’s annual meeting.

Outstanding parish partner is St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, historically connected to Catholic Charities through Msgr. James Jamail, former pastor of the parish and past executive director of Catholic Charities.  “St. Vincent de Paul has a strong Vietnamese parish presence,” said Gretchen Martinez Penny, current chair of the Catholic Charities board of directors.  “The parish was an active partner with us when we first began our Refugee Resettlement work.”  The parish maintains support by donating to Catholic Charities’ Christmas gift campaign for clients.

The Charity in Action award for an individual volunteer recognized Ellen Ginty, past chair of the Catholic Charities board of directors.  “Ellen is servant leadership incarnate,” said Martinez Penny.  “She brought her genuine love of people and Christ to her leadership of the board during an incredibly difficult time – the COVID-19 pandemic.”  Ginty volunteers with several Catholic Charities efforts, ranging from the Blessed Beginnings Life Center to food pantry distribution.

The award for outstanding organization was presented to Children at Risk, which supports, advocates and educates community organizations.  “Children at Risk and Catholic Charities are a natural blend for a healthy and long-term collaboration,” said Martinez Penny.  “For example, they collected a think tank to ensure that trauma-informed care was accessible for children and families post-Hurricane Harvey and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The board also thanked and congratulated Cynthia Colbert for serving 10 years in her leadership role at Catholic Charities.  “God has truly blessed us with Cynthia’s sharp mind, determined spirit and love for the most vulnerable in the community,” said Martinez Penny.  Among Colbert’s achievements: leading the agency through the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters and geo-political crises.