RCIF Board highlights
At the start of 2021 the rcif welcomed three new board members and three members
began their terms as officers. In this issue of
Currents, we highlight each of the board members – talented individuals with rich experience in finance, organizational management, social justice, and community service – who share their gifts and steward RCIF’s ministry, each from a unique perspective.
Sr. Margaret Mary Cosgrove, BVM
Board member since 2016; Board Chair beginning 2021
Sister Margaret Mary has a broad résumé from which
to draw on as RCIF’s board chair. She currently serves
on the board of trustees for Clarke University in Dubuque, IA and Loyola University of Chicago. She has past and current experience serving
on investment/stewardship committees for a university, religious communities, and a social service agency.
She served as treasurer and chief financial officer for
the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary for 12 years. Sr. Margaret Mary has a Bachelor of Arts degree in theology from Mundelein College (now Loyola University of Chicago) and a Master of Business Administration in finance and accounting from the University of Iowa.
Sr. Margaret Mary recognizes the importance of building community resilience in the wake of the debilitating freezing conditions and record low temperatures that struck Texas in February. She is interested in supporting organizations that help formerly incarcerated people as they transition to a new life and, said “I am very interested in working to see if we can offer some competition to payday lenders.”
Sr. Margaret Mary also sees an important role for RCIF during the Covid pandemic. “I think the challenge right now is to help small businesses to weather this crisis. How can we lend money to help sustain these companies until the economy is more open? This is especially critical in communities of color.”
Sr. Sue Artone-fricke, OSF
New Board member
Sister Sue is a multifaceted person
who brings diverse skills and talents to the RCIF board. Sr. Sue holds
a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and a master’s degree in non- profit management, both from Regis University in Denver.
Since 1998, Sr. Sue has served as chief financial officer of her community, the Sisters of St. Francis, Sacred Heart Province. She has studied theology, conscious evolution, and life-enhancing communication and, in 2014, founded Soul Spring in Denver to provide spiritual and personal growth programs for people seeking to make positive contributions in their community and the world around them.
In addition to all her training and experience,
Sr. Sue brings her fullness of spirit, rooted in
the Gospel, to the board. “I bring my passion to advocate for people who are underserved in our world,” she said. “I also bring humility in knowing
I don’t know what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes. For that reason, I continually need to hear others’ perspectives, needs, and desires when I’m navigating how best to communicate and relate in this wonderfully diverse world.”
New board member
Jason Battista is new to the RCIF board, but he has been affiliated with RCIF for more than a decade. Jason works for Denver-based Mercy Housing, Inc., the largest non-profit affordable housing provider in the country. Mercy Community Capital, a subsidiary of Mercy Housing, is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and one of RCIF’s earliest investments.
Jason has been with Mercy Community Capital since 2009, becoming its president in 2015.
Jason holds a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from the University of Northern Colorado, a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Colorado and a certificate in Real Estate Development and Finance from MIT.
“The longer I have worked in this social justice space, the greater respect I have for the Sisters,” he said. “There is a lot of what the spiritual teacher and prominent psychologist Ram Dass would call ‘phony holiness’ these days. Not with the Sisters. For more than a decade, I’ve had a front-row seat watching their work and ministries that lift up our most vulnerable. The Sisters, I’ve found, focus on ‘orthopraxis’ or the belief that lifestyle and practice are just as important as – and sometimes more important than – mere verbal orthodoxy.”
Board member since 2015; Board Treasurer beginning 2021
Vicki Cummings’s career as
a CPA and CFO to several religious communities makes her an ideal board treasurer. Vicki serves as the chief financial officer for Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary in Lake Oswego, OR, and treasurer for the Sisters of the Holy Family in Fremont, CA. In these positions, Vicki oversees the investment portfolios for Sisters of the Holy Names and Sisters of the Holy Family, as well as coordinating the CDFI loan program for the Sisters of the Holy Names.
Vicki previously was the chief financial officer for the Sisters of Mercy in Burlingame, CA. She spent her first 10 years as a CPA in public accounting with a large accounting firm.
As the Covid pandemic continues, Vicki shared her growing concern that “the gap between
the wealthy and the economically challenged continues to widen.” As such, she said RCIF’s mission is more important than ever. “I would like to see our investments benefit the economically poor, especially those who are unserved through traditional financial sources.”
Board member since 2018; Board Secretary beginning 2021
After 10 years as a traditional commercial banker, Dutch Haarsma has been in the community development finance field for the last 20 years. Since 2016, Dutch has been president of NewWest Community Capital. NewWest Community Capital, an RCIF borrower, is a nonprofit CDFI loan fund that
supports economic opportunity throughout the Western United States through affordable housing and community facilities financing. Dutch holds a Bachelor of Science degree in applied economics from the University of San Francisco.
“I firmly believe in the ministry of using capital to alleviate poverty,” Dutch said in an interview for the Winter 2018 RCIF newsletter. “Philanthropy is a big tool, but investment can be bigger. If we make good choices about how we use our money, we can change the world. RCIF has been a leader in social justice investing for many years.” He added that he hopes to help RCIF grow as much as possible. “I believe in its mission and the spirit of the organization. The challenge with most funds is that generally there is not enough to go around.”
Sr. Grace Hartzog, S.C.
New board member
As a result of her vast experience, Sister Grace said, “I have grown
to understand and appreciate the critical impact that religious leaders have in the United States, and I value the work we must do collaboratively to advance the mission of the Gospel in our world today.”
Since 2017, Sr.
Grace has served as the executive director of the Sisters of Charity Federation. She has also served in leadership
positions with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). Sr. Grace holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA and a Master of Education degree from Penn State University.
In her letter accepting her nomination to the RCIF board, Sr. Grace wrote “The RCIF mission to empower low-income people
through access to affordable capital, which will assist in overcoming social and environmental in equities, is so needed in our world today.” She added that “There is no doubt that Covid has opened our eyes more clearly to the inequities in our country and world.”
Sr. Leora Linnenkugel, OLVM
Board member since 2015
Sister Leora Linnenkugel hales from Our Lady of Victory Missionary Sisters in Huntington, IN. She brings invaluable expertise in accounting, finance, and business to the
RCIF board. Sr. Leora earned her bachelor’s degree
in business the
University of Toledo, OH, and worked for many years in business in the areas of accounting and purchasing. She earned a master’s degree in theology from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago.
In recent years, Sr. Leora has focused on the issue of immigration and is a member of Sisters and Brothers of Immigrants, a group of religious congregations working to improve the life of immigrants. “I have worked for many years in social justice opportunities. By being involved in immigration justice issues, I have learned the joy, grace and hope that is present in those in need. I understand they do not want a handout, rather they want to learn how to provide for themselves. This is what RCIF helps to accomplish.”
Sr. Leora is also tuned into the needs that have emerged from the Covid pandemic. “The pandemic and its resulting economic crisis causes more needs than ever before,” she said. “RCIF, I believe, is set to help mitigate the effects of the crisis. We are able to help finance those who help those living in poverty or oppression and are struggling with finding ways of continuing due to lack of capital.”