Hoy relies on faith, people of good will to help struggling families

| August 18, 2016 | 0 Comments
LaDonna Hoy strives to build relationships through her work at Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

LaDonna Hoy strives to build relationships through her work at Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

LaDonna Hoy, 82

Organization Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners
Title Executive Director
Parish St. Bartholomew, Wayzata
Spouse Tom (died in 2008)
Children Patty, Judy, Tom Jr., David, John Matthew (deceased), Elizabeth, Jane, Joe, Kathy, John Michael; 13 grandchildren
Volunteer activities St. Bartholomew parish and school, Meals On Wheels, West Hennepin Human Services Planning Board, Way-12, St. Thomas BeFriender Ministry Board, Park Nicollet Foundation Board, board of the School of Theology at St. John’s University
Education DePaul University, 1951-52, Mundelein College, Chicago, 1952-1953; graduate studies in liturgy and catechetics at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, and St. John’s University, Collegeville, 1977-1985; mini MBA from the University of St. Thomas

What does leading with faith mean to you?

Actually, faith has always led me. I grew up around people of faith, and Catholic education from grade school through college and graduate work definitely had its impact. I believe we are all called and gifted to bring forth the kingdom of love and justice in our midst, and that the God who promised to be with us always is filling what is lacking in our vision, energy, opportunity, time and courage with the just-in-time people, resources and miracles needed. My lived experience in the good times and through the hard times has only strengthened that belief. Also, at Interfaith, I’ve been privileged to work with people of all faiths over the past 37 years whose lived values have greatly inspired and enriched mine.

How do you concretely apply your faith and Catholic values at work?

I believe faith is experienced and shared in relationship and in community. The ways I strive to do work relationships and the practice that leads me have been greatly influenced by Father Henri Nouwen’s practice of radical hospitality, Michael Cowan’s work on mutuality, Robert Greenleaf’s teaching on servant leadership, Regis Duffy’s view of the Church as a room of healing, and Parker Palmer’s and Martin Luther King’s reflections on community. The writings of Sister Joan Chittister, Father John Shea, Thomas Merton and more recently, Father Richard Rohr, are where I go for spiritual direction and ways to reflect on relationship as the path to each other and to God.

Tell a story about a time when applying your faith at work really made a difference.

Any and all of the difference-making stories I’ve been privileged to be part of have always been the stories of many people applying their faith together. A current and concrete example is the all-in investment of our whole community in acquiring and rehabbing a former 40,000-square-foot supermarket into Interfaith’s new Family Service and Learning Center during the 2010-2012 recession.

In 2010 and throughout a recession that drastically impacted nonprofit giving patterns, we were successful in raising the $5.5 million needed to acquire and rehab our new headquarters and bring the care of our community to a new level. It took a lot of believers and not just a few miracles to make that difference. There are all kinds of stories like that.

Who or what has most inspired you to bring your faith to the marketplace?

When early in our organizational history it became clear that churches alone couldn’t bear the weight of all the need that was coming to our doors, we went to the marketplace — to the larger community — with that need. We met with businessmen and women, corporate leaders and leaders from the public sector who completely altered any assumptions I may have had about needing to persuade them to care about struggling families and kids in our community. They were already there — good, faithful people with great hearts and pent-up good will looking for ways to help, and willing to use their savvy, influence and treasure to make it better for families and kids of our community. What was needed were structured opportunities for people of good will to do good. That became our role.

What achievement at work are you most proud of?

I am simply more grateful than proud of any and all achievements, and can only smile at the idea of personal or organizational achievement. We’ve worked hard, there have been obstacles, but, truly, any and all of the major achievements we’ve had along the way have been the result of an amazing combination of community heart, will and just-in-time miracles that we have learned to count on.

In what specific ways have you experienced God’s presence in your workplace?

There are so many: Listening to a food shelf volunteer who recently lost her spouse share what a healing place this has become for her; hearing stories of faith from people who come here in the midst of seemingly insurmountable obstacles; seeing the joy in the eyes of our summer camp kids over simple things like the mask they made, a Popsicle, a newfound friend or the trip to the water park; welcoming the daughter of a former client to a volunteer leadership role because, as she said, “The people here were always so good to my mom;” and opening a hastily scrawled note that reads “keep up the good work” with an enclosed check from a busy CEO.

What advice do you have for others who want to lead with faith?

Start somewhere. Trust that the call to bring forth the kingdom of love and justice in our midst is not an unfunded mandate. The God who promised to be with us always is just waiting to shore up our efforts with people, power, resources and miracles of hope and healing for the people he places in our path. We only need to step out in faith and turn that power on.

Tags: ,

Category: Leading With Faith