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(The following article appeared in the Annual Report for the Religious Communities Investment Fund, www.RCIF.org)

Sisters of the Holy Family, Fremont, CA
“We can do more together than we can do separately,” said Gladys Guenther, SHF, president of the Holy Family Sisters in Fremont, California. So the congregation’s decisions to become founding members of the Religious Communities Investment Fund (RCIF) in 2007, and to significantly increase their financial commitment in 2009, were, as Sr. Gladys described it,
“kind of a no-brainer.”
“Our mission statement is ‘to seek out and advocate for families, especially poor families, for the kingdom of God,’” said Sr. Gladys. “As we have fewer sisters in direct advocacy roles, our desire to advocate through RCIF increases.” When RCIF was forming, it presented the Holy Family Sisters with a unique opportunity for collaboration and high impact. Judeana Davidson, SHF, who serves on RCIF’s board of directors, noted, “The benefits are in terms of helping those where we have target areas: women, the poor, and in particular housing issues.” Said Sr. Gladys, “RCIF enables us to be present on a national scale. We appreciate RCIF’s allocation approach of 30 percent West, 30 percent national and 30 percent international.”
“There are two challenges,” noted Sr. Judeana. “One is the international part. RCIF needs to reach five million dollars in assets to be certified for certain international investments. We are motivated to be part of that growth.” In the past year, the Holy Family Sisters added to their commitment by tithing some large bequests they had received. “It’s important to have goals,” said Sr. Gladys, “and one we have dreamed about is to have one million dollars in alternative investments with RCIF. With that in mind, we are looking to make another infusion of funds after we sell some property this fall.”
The other area for growth, said Sr. Judeana, is in encouraging other religious congregations to join RCIF. “Even though the founding members invested a higher minimum amount,” she explained, “communities can become a participant in RCIF with only a small investment of $25,000.” The effects of any investment are exponential, she stressed. “We are so impressed with the investments RCIF has made in such a short amount of time. RCIF expands our horizons.”
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