An Announcement from the Board of Directors and Executive Director Diana Faust
After 18 years of service to our brothers and sisters who find themselves without a home in Chicago, Diana Faust, our Executive Director, has announced her plans to leave Franciscan Outreach. In 1997, following a successful career as an attorney, Diana began her tenure with Franciscan Outreach as our first full-time Director of Development. In 2008, she was promoted to Executive Director. Through expanding our fundraising efforts and relationships with persons of good will, she enabled us to grow from two sites in 1997 and a budget of $600,000 to our present five sites and a budget of over $2,400,000. Diana advanced our mission and made us a stronger, more effective organization.
Diana’s initiatives, as well as the dedicated work of our staff and volunteers, lead to the twenty-fold growth of our case management program from one half-time case manager to ten. Diana’s work also led to the addition of Franciscan Annex as a second shelter site, the start of our Day Program, the implementation of our Streets to Home permanent housing program, the development of our Interim Housing Program, and the South Dorm Housing Intervention Program at Franciscan House. We’ve grown from not even counting how many persons we moved off the streets to verifying that 240 persons were placed into housing with our assistance last year. While our commitment to providing basic food and shelter to persons who are without a home has not dimmed, during Diana’s time with us a whole new dimension was added to our work: changing lives. Diana has kept us focused on using the synergy of these two distinct but interrelated program models to improve the lives of those we serve.
A member of the Secular Franciscan Order, Diana has also kept us focused on the Franciscan values upon which we were founded over 50 years ago by Fr Phil Marquard, OFM, a member of the Sacred Heart Province of Franciscan Friars. She lead the staff in articulating and living out the Franciscan values that we treasure: respecting the dignity of every person who comes through our doors, relieving suffering as an end in itself and the starting point of a relationship, believing that transformation is always possible, and leveraging the power of collaborative efforts. For all of this we are very grateful.
We will be conducting a search for our next Executive Director with the assistance of Kittleman & Associates. We look forward to continued growth as we start the next chapter in our service to the men and women of Chicago who are in need of a home. Diana will remain as Executive Director until she accepts her next opportunity. She has agreed to assist us with the transition when a new Executive Director is hired. Please join us in wishing Diana well as she continues to carry out her life-long commitment to making the world a better place.
~ The Board of Directors of Franciscan Outreach
As I look back over the last 18 years, I am most appreciative for having had the opportunity to lead an organization with such a critical mission: saving the lives of persons who are homeless and helping them change their lives for the better.
The importance of this work has kept me motivated for all this time. However, I have to say that I leave with a variety of emotions. While I am excited for what the future holds and am confident that I will continue to make the world a better place, I am sad that I will no longer be working with so many wonderful persons of good will.
Optimistic, hopeful, and courageous are the words I’d use to describe the men and women whom I’ve known that have worked their way out of homelessness and into a stable lifestyle. Empathetic, generous, and kind are the many donors who have chosen to live simply so that others may simply live. Strategic, insightful, and forward-looking are the many foundation executives, City of Chicago officials, and service collaborators who work together to create a system that leaves no one on the streets or alone. Hardworking, dedicated, and caring are the staff, full-time volunteers, part-time volunteers, and board members who have given their time to bring everything together for the benefit of those we’ve served. So many good qualities in so many good people! The world is truly better because of all of you.
My greatest pleasure has been to bring all of you together – to coach the staff, inspire the donors, and be accountable to all so that everyone can see how effective their sacrifices are in saving lives and changing lives. My personal mission, as stated on my LinkedIn page, has been “to help people help the homeless.” Yet I have done nothing on my own. Together we have worked miracles.
Thank you all for your confidence in me and the support you have given to the good work we’ve done together. I’d especially like to thank the Franciscan friars of the Sacred Heart Province, particularly Bro. Herb Rempe who hired this idealistic lawyer who dreamed of a better world and Fr Larry Janezic who mentored me when he was Executive Director and then trusted me to carry on this good Franciscan work. When I was nearing the conclusion of my legal career, I felt the fire of love burning in my heart and searched for a way to let it out so that it could change the world. The Franciscans I met at St Peter’s Church in the Loop, both friars and Secular Franciscans, showed me the way. I am honored and grateful to all of you and God for this opportunity.
I ask you all to continue to support the good work of Franciscan Outreach. Although I will not be at the helm, its mission will continue. Join me in having confidence that the board will select someone highly qualified to lead the organization into the future.
With gratitude and love,
Diana Faust, JD, OFS