News & Resources

News & Resources

Nazareth Family Foundation continues the legacy of our sisters in Western Pennsylvania

August 23, 2019

The Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth (CSFN), after sponsoring a local hospital in Altoona, PA for almost 70 years, continue their good work in the community through the Nazareth Family Foundation.

Our sisters came to Altoona from Pittsburgh in 1935 to operate, staff, and sponsor Mercy Hospital. As sponsors, our primary responsibility was to ensure the hospital's integrity as a ministry of the Catholic Church and make the healing presence of Jesus integral to all its services. Our sponsorship also brought tremendous growth in services and built a reputation for outstanding health care.

In 1996, we transferred the assets of the hospital to Bon Secours Health System, Inc. and continued as cosponsors with the Sisters of Bon Secours until handing off the torch of sole sponsorship in 2003.

In 1997, with proceeds from the transfer, we established Nazareth Family Foundation. Since its inception, the Foundation has granted more than $10 million to organizations in Pennsylvania whose work advances its mission, including such organizations as Blair County Respiratory Disease Society, Altoona; Blair Regional YMCA, Hollidaysburg; Care for Creation Gardens, Hollidaysburg; Crossroads Bible Church, Altoona; Family Life Office, Lilly; Friends of L’Arche, Cambria County; FOCUS Pittsburgh; Habitat for Humanity, Hollidaysburg; and, The Door, Bellwood.

The Foundation’s ministry embodies the mission and values of our Congregation and our belief that holy, healthy families are central to the transformation of the world. Accordingly, the Foundation commits its resources to the advancement of family life as described in its mission statement:

In the tradition of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, the Nazareth Family Foundation exists to fund programs and services which create communities of love and hope, celebrate the oneness of the human family, enhance the quality of family life, promote the rights of the disadvantaged and denounce forms of injustice that erode the integrity of the human family.

With this mission guiding them, Foundation members address issues that so often damage families. Problems run the gamut from social, economic, cultural, and spiritual issues, to concerns over health, education, and housing.

The work of funded programs includes:

  • Housing the homeless, assisting in care to the indigent, and addressing other critical family needs.
  • Empowering families to contribute to society and be self-determining and self-sustaining.
  • Changing structures that endanger the foundation of family life.
  • Addressing issues of poverty and injustice.

"We recognize that every family which experiences wholeness and holiness contributes to building up of the family of God," says Sr. Janice Fulmer, CSFN, the Nazareth Family Foundation’s newly appointed board president. "Therefore, we gladly partner with all willing to address the complex needs of today's families."

The nonprofit corporation is governed by a board of trustees. Officers are Sr. Janice Fulmer, CSFN, president; Sr. Cynthia Meyer, CSFN, vice president; Martin Culp II, secretary, and Fred O'Brien, treasurer. Other trustees are Deborah Fernicola, Gregory Melvin, Sr. Maryann McKeough, CSFN, Jarrett Stull and two newly appointed trustees Rosemary L. Corsetti and David J. McConnell. Sister Michele Collins, CSFN, serves as the executive assistant to the board.

Although we withdrew sponsorship of Mercy Hospital in 2003 to focus on new and expanding family ministry programs throughout Western Pennsylvania, we continue to sponsor St. Leonard's Home in Hollidaysburg, PA, near Altoona, and operate Nazareth Family Foundation.

Nazareth Family Foundation makes grant applications available annually in December to organizations in Pennsylvania. Deadlines are in mid-March. Funding decisions are announced in May. Applications must support the mission and embody the values of Nazareth Family Foundation. An organization not sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth must have the endorsement of a CSFN who is familiar with its work.


  • Meet a critical community need in Pennsylvania, especially the Western Pennsylvania area.
  • Strengthen the family as a societal unit.
  • Demonstrate collaboration.
  • Consciously address the moral and religious renewal of family life.
  • Demonstrate a holistic approach to serving families in need.
  • Further the tradition, spirituality, and charism of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth.

Inquiries regarding grant applications can be directed to


Photo: Mercy Hospital Pharmacy, left to right: John Bender, pharmacy assistant; unnamed Department of Health visitor; Sr. Teresa Leja, CSFN, pharmacist and department head; Sr. Margaret Mary Sikorski, CSFN, administrator of Mercy Hospital. October 1969

Share this!

Would you like our sisters to pray for your intentions? Send us a prayer request.