In precisely how many dioceses is Endow at the moment?
We are approved in over 100 diocese in the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
In how many states of the USA are there Endow groups?
We currently have approval from dioceses in 45 states.
Where are there Endow groups outside the USA?
We are approved in dioceses in the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. We also have had groups in Guam and in Germany on military bases, as we have the approval of the Diocese of the Military Services.
How many girls and women have participated in Endow groups?
Since our inception in 2003, we have had over 17,000 women and girls participate in Endow study groups.
What age of girls and women does Endow serve?
Our youth program offers courses for girls in 6th to 12th grade. Our adult program is designed for women 18 and older. (Our oldest facilitator is 87!)
When was Endow founded?
We are quickly approaching our 10 year anniversary! We began in May 2003 in the Archdiocese of Denver in Denver, CO.
How was Endow founded?
Endow was founded through the Holy Spirit working in the lives of women in Denver, CO. Specifically, Marilyn Coors and Terry Polakovic. The message of the Church, as articulated by Pope John Paul II in his Letter to Women and On the Dignity and Vocation of Women (Mulieris Dignitatem), amazed the hearts of these women, and it became clear to them that they had to share what they had learned.
Transformed by the message of authentic femininity and dignity of the person, Terry quit her job to found what would become Endow, and Marilyn became the Chairman of the Board. With the great support of Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, who offered Endow two offices and two computers to use in the Archdiocese of Denver, Endow was born.
Initially the founders weren’t sure how to go about sharing this mission – as an NGO, a think-tank, etc. However, it was soon clear that the Holy Spirit was leading them to found an educational organization for women. Instrumental in the foundation was Sister Prudence Allen, RSM, one of the world’s experts on authentic feminism, who was leading the philosophy department of the seminary in Denver. Her teaching style and guidance helped shape the style for the Endow study courses as they are today. She taught in a style that was academic, but accessible to all, giving the historical background, definitions to Church terms, and outside information needed to better grasp the message of the Church documents.
From those humble beginnings, Endow now offers 4 youth studies and 13 adult studies – ranging from John Paul II’s Letter to Women, Setting the World Ablaze: Saint Catherine of Siena, and Pope Benedict XVI’s God Is Love. While the core mission of Endow revolves around study courses, we also offer other events such as retreats, summer schools, seminars, and parish talks.
Who is Endow’s Spiritual Advisor?
Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is our Spiritual Advisor. He came to know Endow as an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Denver when Endow was just beginning, and he has been a supporter and advisor for many years.
What is the fundamental message and the purpose of Endow?
Endow’s mission is to educate women and girls toward a deeper, more profound understanding of their God-given dignity and vocation as women. Rooted in the teachings of the Catholic Church, the Endow study program recognizes and affirms the “true genius of women” and responds to our culture’s desperate need for an authentic feminine presence in every aspect of life and society.
Endow offers small study groups as a primary means of connecting women and girls in faith and friendship while exploring Catholic teachings with trained facilitators. Groups typically consist of 8-12 adults or 10-30 youth who meet at local parishes, schools, or in members’ homes. We recommend that each adult group begin with Letter to Women, a study of the teachings of Pope John Paul II on the dignity of women. For youth, we provide the three-part Girl Genius series for middle school girls and True Beauty Revealed for high school girls.
Has Endow developed any new approaches to meeting the needs of women who are underprivileged?
Our mission includes the important work of outreach to those in need. Pope John Paul II’s Letter to Women begins, “I write you most cordially all women of the world.” We understand that the message of dignity and hope present in our core teaching, Letter to Women, is a message that needs to be shared with women everywhere. In response to this need, we have begun an Outreach aspect of our program.
We serve the needs of unique populations such as college students, inner-city schools and youth clubs, and religious and consecrated communities. And in a particular way, we desire to serve the needs of those women in homeless shelters, pregnancy centers, women’s clinics, and jails. Specifically, we have adapted our Letter to Women course to be used in unique environments, and we have begun several groups in both homeless shelters and jails. We are in the process now of beginning to work with pregnancy centers and homes for women, with much excitement from various volunteers. (http://endowgroups.org/outreach/)
Why is there a charge to participate in the Endow courses?
We are a separate 501©3 non-profit entity, and we do not receive financial support from the dioceses we serve. To carry out our mission, we charge a registration fee for our courses and rely heavily on donations to help us cover our costs. Roughly 40% of our expenses are covered from registration fees – and the other 60% is covered through actively seeking grants and donations from generous foundations and individuals. It is our hope that the women involved in our ministry will see the value of the program, and, as such, they would also be moved to support us in this effort.
Please note, the writing and design of our course material is not our only expense. We have five full-time employees, two part-time employees, rent, writers, editors, insurance, scholarships, a website, a database, a copier, supplies, marketing expenses, shipping costs, training materials, etc. We also have an outreach program to homeless women and women in jails. To further reach this mission, we have a truly dedicated staff that sees their work at Endow as a vocation, rather than a job. Rarely do any of us work 40-hour weeks. The hours are long, and the work is very challenging – but the mission is real for all of us.
We believe our mission to help transform the culture - to educate women and girls toward a deeper, more profound understanding of their God-given dignity and vocation as women – is vitally important in our society. We have received hundreds and hundreds of letters from the women in our program, telling us how much Endow has helped them. They tell us that their families have been changed, babies have been born, marriages have been saved, friendships have been mended, children have actively pursued religious vocations, and most importantly, they themselves have grown to understand and love their Catholic faith. We know that this program is very valuable in the lives of so many!
How does the Endow program reach girls and teens?
Our youth program provides a way for young girls and teens to come together in small groups to learn about their faith, live out their faith with others girls their age, and ultimately to fall in love with God. These groups are usually formed through a school or a parish. Every group is led by an Endow trained facilitator that is formed in Pope John Paul II's teachings on the dignity of the human person, authentic femininity, and the feminine genius.
These studies open up the world of the Catholic faith to these girls in a way that excites them and makes them actually want to live a different life than the world offers them. They learn to see the difference between the lies of our culture and the truth that they have dignity and are worthy of love just because God made them. And they learn about these things with other girls their age, so a bond forms among them as sisters in Christ and they are able to encourage and support each other in this new way of life. Our vision is to educate the girls and women in the Church, so not only do the girls have a fun time but they are actually receiving rich content full of Sacred Scripture, Church documents, and the saints.
Can a parent be assured that what is being given to the girls is reliable in terms of Church teaching?
Absolutely! Our youth program was born because parents were asking for it. Woman after woman was going through the adult program, and we just kept hearing, "If only I had heard this when I was younger!" Like our adult studies, the youth program is rooted deep in the Catholic faith and especially finds its inspiration in Pope John Paul II's teachings. Everything that the girls are learning is either in the study guide your daughter receives or on our website, so all the information is at your fingertips. In fact, we encourage parents to look through the materials so that they can dialogue with their daughter about these topics. We know that first and foremost, parents are responsible for the education of their children, and we just want to help you in your endeavor to educate your child in our beautiful faith. Anything that we do is only to assist you. An organization, even one rooted in the Church, could never take the place that you have in your child's life. We pray that Endow is something that can bring girls and their parents even closer together.
How does a Catholic know what are they “getting into” by joining an Endow group?
All our course materials are reviewed and approved by the Archbishop of Denver. We have received the imprimatur on all of our studies. An imprimatur (from the Latin, "let it be printed") is, in the proper sense, a declaration authorizing publication of a book. The term is also applied to any mark of approval or endorsement. With the Archbishop’s imprimatur, you can be assured that the content in Endow course materials has been seen to be in line with the teachings of the Church and will not lead the faithful astray.
Endow participants are not committing to a long-term relationship. Women love Endow because all the courses are only 8 chapters, so they will meet with their group 8-12 times, with no homework. Women really appreciate this kind of study group setting for their busy lives today. The normal Endow study participant meets with her Endow group, reads out loud together, and then stops every 3-4 pages to discuss the topics with the other women in her group. This discussion leads to fruitful conversation, friendship, and fellowship with other women.
What are advantages to joining an Endow group?
The advantages are many, but the most common experiences women have include building friendships with other women, authoritative material from the Magisterium of the Church, wisdom learned from other women in your group, and a space for women to speak about women’s matters and their faith. Young people have similar experiences, and they are especially edified by finding that they are not alone in trying to live a virtuous life in today’s culture.
These advantages bear fruit in numerous ways. Hearts are transformed. Lives are changed. Marriages are strengthened. Children are well-formed in their faith, and go on to live virtuous lives. Vocations to religious life are discovered. And ultimately, the culture is really changed, one woman at a time.
What topics do girls study?
There are three middle school courses:
Defining Dignity, Girl Genius Part 1: What is my dignity as a young Catholic woman?
Forming Friendships, Girl Genius Part 2: How do I make and keep friendships pleasing to God and will last a lifetime?
Loving Leadership, Girl Genius Part 3: How can I step up and be an authentic leader in my school, parish and community?
There is currently only one high school course:
True Beauty Revealed: How can I be a Catholic woman when the world wants me to be something else?
Below is a detailed explanation about each of these youth courses:
Endow Middle School Courses:
The Girl Genius Series
In an effort to reach younger women, Endow (Educating on the Nature and Dignity of Women) has created a special Girl Genius series for young girls in 6th-8th grade. The Girl Genius series helps young girls better understand their nature, dignity, and special role in society. The objective of Endow’s Girl Genius series is to introduce John Paul II’s teaching on the feminine genius and the authentic dignity each woman has been given by God.
Besides relaying Sacred Scripture and catechesis in the four chapters, the Girl Genius study guide also incorporates group activities, “girl-time reflections,” and journaling sessions that focus on issues affecting middle school girls today (confronting culture/media, friendships based in Christ, teen image/self-esteem, etc). Every lesson also highlights a saint that lived a life of holiness, despite the pressures and temptations of the world around them.
The Girl Genius series is made up of three courses that build on each other. Courses can be used in classroom settings, afterschool clubs, youth groups, or uniquely created Endow groups. Each course contains four chapters, and each chapter takes 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. As such, most groups meet weekly for a month – or choose to make a “Girl Genius Retreat” day to complete the course.
Defining Dignity: Girl Genius Part 1
What is my worth as a young Catholic woman? This course explores the teachings of Pope John Paul II on the feminine genius and the authentic dignity each young woman has been given by God. The world tries to convince young women that their dignity comes from having the right body type, hairstyle, clothes, athletic talents, or academic abilities. But in truth, they have dignity simply because they exist as human beings created in God’s image and likeness. Their intrinsic dignity is given to them freely as a gift from God, and nothing they do can ever add or subtract from this gift. Isn’t that amazing? They cherish God’s gift by choosing to live in a way that upholds their dignity.
Forming Friendships: Girl Genius Part 2
How do I make—and keep—friendships that are pleasing to God and will last a lifetime? Girls have a natural genius for relationships with all types of people—family, girlfriends, classmates, and teammates, to name a few. This course focuses on a young woman’s natural ability to form meaningful friendships marked with depth and love. They will discover how they are called to act upon their girl genius in relationships, with prayer, and in their actions to help others. Girls will study papal writings, learn what makes a good friend, and discover why Jesus is truly the perfect friend. Topics include challenges within friendships— including gossip, rumors, and peer pressure.
Loving Leadership: Girl Genius Part 3
How can I step up and be an authentic leader in my school, parish, and community? Being an authentic leader means taking care of others. Humble leaders know their strengths and weaknesses, and see their abilities as gifts from God. They recognize the decision to live for Christ is one that is made every day. With Jesus as their example of leadership, the third part in this series will help girls recognize they have each been given a specific mission. They are encouraged to discover their own call from Christ to be a leader in whatever areas He’s inviting them. The study helps young women to explore their roles as Christ’s daughters and live out their girl genius at their school, church, and at home.
Endow High School Course:
True Beauty Revealed
True Beauty Revealed (TBR) is Endow’s eight chapter high school study for teenage girls in graces 9th-12th. TBR was created as a foundational introduction into understanding the origin, identity, and mission of authentic womanhood through the eyes of a high school girl. TBR begins by breaking down the societal lies that these young women are constantly bombarded with regarding their dignity and self-worth. It is from this starting point that TBR then leads the young women through an explanation of their feminine genius, their capacity for others.
TBR seeks to give the foundational background into who teens are (Where do we come from?, Where are we going?, etc.) and challenges them to base each of their choices on the basic conviction that they were created by Love, to be loved, and in order to love others. Through study, group discussion, and group dynamic activities – teens are able to equip themselves with convictions to base their lives on, rooted in faith. Through this study and prayer, teens inevitably grow in knowledge and virtue, both of which will help them better love and serve others. Ultimately, the goal of TBR is to draw young women into a deeper, more profound relationship with Jesus Christ, God-made-man who is the author of our precious dignity as women.
Are there reliable “experts” involved in producing the materials, the discussion guides?
Yes, there are Catholic theologians, physicians, philosophers, etc. who write the Endow course materials. We seek out various experts on the particular topics, and then all studies are edited by the same Endow editing team. This allows the material to be written by experts, typically academics, – then formatted in a way that keeps the Endow style consistent across all the studies. When the writing and editing are finished, all Endow studies are reviewed (and revised if necessary) to receive the imprimatur.