Non-profit

Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order

Location:

DETROIT, MI

Tax ID:

38-1525161

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Website:

https://www.thecapuchins.org/

Location:

Detroit, Michigan

Formation:

1946

Type:

Left-of-Center Religious Order

 

President/CEO:

Michael Sullivan

Province of St Joseph of the Capuchin Order (also known as the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph) is a Catholic clerical religious congregation that advocates for left-of-center policy implementation in the private and public sector. It operates in seven U.S. states, Nicaragua, and Panama as a division of the larger Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, a subdivision of the Franciscan friars. [1] [2] [3] [4]

Though originally established in 1857 as a mission for education, care for the sick, and feeding the poor, the Province has become involved in the left-of-center environmental, social, and governance (ESG) movement in recent years. The Province frequently writes and co-signs letters alongside the Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investment (SGI) and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) to pressure large companies to adopt left-of-center policies, particularly concerning environmentalist issues. [5] [6]

In the early 1990s, accusations were made that friars in the order had sexually abused a number of students at St. Lawrence Seminary, a parochial school run by the Province. [7] Two accused members were allegedly promoted within St. Lawrence Seminary high school after allegations of sexual misconduct. None of the accused members were convicted. [8]

ESG Advocacy Initiatives

The Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order is a member of Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investment (SGI), a local affiliate of Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). The ICCR is a coalition of left-of-center religious organizations that work to use their substantial financial assets in order to pressure publicly traded firms to adopt left-of-center policy in accordance with ESG principles. [9]

The Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order was named in a 2015 report on the effects of shareholder proposals, the process through which ESG activists propose left-of-center resolutions for company shareholders to vote on and adopt. The report noted that religious organizations, including the Province, were responsible for 29% of all shareholder resolutions submitted to Fortune 250 companies. The report argued that few ESG shareholder proposals were successful and that nearly all of them resulted in financial losses for the companies at which they were filed. [10]

The Province has opposed all efforts to weaken the influence of ESG organizations. In December 2019, the Province wrote a letter to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to critique a proposed rule that would restrict ESG activism. The rule sought to create tighter restrictions on proxy advisory firms by making recommendations that would burden a company’s investors and managers without investor or manager approval. [11] [12]

Environmentalism

Most of the Province’s ESG activism has focused on promoting environmentalism. In 2017, the Province co-filed a letter to Schweitzer-Mauduit International requesting that the company publish objectives to change its business practices in order to be in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement. [13]  Later that year, the Province co-filed a letter with SGI to Time Warner, requesting that the company issue a report on how its activities advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically with respect to depictions of tobacco smoking in film. [14]

Also in 2017, the Province submitted a letter to Restaurant Brands International requesting that the firm implement a policy that would eliminate all business practices which the SGI deemed to be connected to deforestation. The resolution claimed that Restaurant Brands International uses various commodities produced with deforestation, though the implementation plan the Province proposed to eliminate such practices does not directly link the plan to abandoning any of the listed commodities. [15]

Labor and Financial Regulations

In one of its earliest shareholder actions, the Province supported increased labor regulations. In May 2013, the order signed a statement from ICCR to pressure companies into recognizing various trade unions, and requesting that the International Labor Organization (ILO) increase oversight following two factory fires in Bangladesh. [16]

The Province has also filed resolutions to prevent companies from interfering with labor policy. In 2017, the Province and SGI co-filed a letter to Philip Morris International requesting that the company form a committee to change its established human rights policy in order to prevent PMI from lobbying against government regulations. [17] [18]

Also in 2017, the Province filed a resolution with Merck and Company requesting an annual report reflecting price increases for pharmaceutical drugs. When filing the resolution, the Province expressed support for left-of-center measures to regulate and cap prescription drug prices. [19]

In 2021, the Province filed a resolution in coordination with ICCR which requested that Kraft Heinz publish a human rights impact assessment regarding its supply chain practices. After facing pressure from the Province, Kraft Heinz agreed to produce the assessment before the shareholder resolution was put to a vote. [20] The Province had previously clashed with Kraft Heinz in 2015 when it filed a resolution which requested that the company publish an annual ESG report. [21]

Sex Abuse Controversy

In the early 1990s, the Milwaukee Journal published a report in which eight men alleged sexual abuse at the hands of members of the Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order. [22]

Several students made substantiated claims of sexual abuse against Friar Thomas Gardipee in 1985 and 1988. After a psychological evaluation, the St. Lawrence Seminary Provincial Council voted to keep Gardipee on staff, but after learning of the sexual misconduct, the provincial minister fired Gardipee. Afterward, the rector and president pleaded for his reinstatement at the seminary, and the provincial council did so in June 1988. After his reinstatement, Gardipee was promoted to athletic director, where he received another complaint and was finally removed in 1993. [23]

Then-rector Gary Leifeld reportedly committed sexual abuse at St. Lawrence. Leifeld admitted to several of the allegations, although no there is no record of an investigation conducted by the school. Leifeld admitted to molesting 5 students while teaching at the seminary. Despite numerous reports about Leifeld’s abuse, which three provincial ministers had received, he was promoted to rector of St. Lawrence Seminary in 1976. [24]

In the 1980s and 1990s, then-provincial minister Ken Reinhart handled the seminary’s sex abuse cases, including legal, administrative, and disciplinary processes. Reinhart paid between $2,000 and $3,500 per abuse victim in exchange for expunged liability and confidentiality stipulations. Reinhart also failed to comply with his own promise to survivors to keep the accused friars from the vicinity of the seminary’s youth. [25]

An audit report on the abuse allegations was released in June 2013 tracking allegations in the order since 1932, the first year in which records were made available. Peter Isely, a victim abused by a friar in the order who is now Midwest director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, praised the province for commissioning the report, but noted his suspicion that some documents may have been destroyed by the order or withheld from the auditors. Celichowski admitted that “file management was historically a significant problem.” [26]

The final report contained 46 allegations of abuse, with 23 substantiated cases. The report also found that Reinhart misrepresented the findings of Leifeld’s psychological evaluation, which had explicitly stated concerns about future “impulsive sexual activity” by Leifeld. [27] The audit determined that the Province failed to follow both civil law and the ecclesiastical law of the Catholic Church. [28]

Several accused friars were promoted within the St. Lawrence Seminary high school after allegations of sexual misconduct, and some were terminated and retroactively reinstated by the Provincial Council. None of the accused members were convicted. [29]

Funding

Most of the Province’s funding is unknown. From 2010 to 2014, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation made $214,000 worth of grants to the Province  to address “the role of race” and “racism” in the food system. ” [30] In 2010, the Province received a $204,525 grant from the left-of-center Kresge Foundation. [31]

References

  1. “History.” St Lawrence Seminary High School. June 26, 2018. Accessed January 13, 2020. https://www.stlawrence.edu/history/ ^
  2. “Capuchin Soup Kitchen.” Detroit Historical Society. 2020. Accessed January 14, 2020. https://seventhgenerationinterfaith.org/our-work/sgi-shareholder-resolutions/2017-2/ ^
  3. “Capuchin Friars Minor.” New Advent. 2020. Accessed January 13, 2020. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03320b.htm ^
  4. “Province of St. Joseph.” Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph. 2020. Accessed January 13, 2020. https://www.thecapuchins.org/who-we-are/province-of-st.-joseph ^
  5. “Capuchin Soup Kitchen.” Detroit Historical Society. 2020. Accessed January 14, 2020. https://seventhgenerationinterfaith.org/our-work/sgi-shareholder-resolutions/2017-2/ ^
  6. “2017 SGI Shareholder resolutions.” Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investment. January 31, 2018. Accessed January 14, 2020. https://seventhgenerationinterfaith.org/our-work/sgi-shareholder-resolutions/2017-2/ ^
  7. Burnett, Michael, Doyle, Fr. Thomas & Freiburger, Dr. James. “Report of the Audit and Review of the Files of the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph.” Capuchin Communications. June 2013. Archived from the original June 27, 2013. Accessed January 7, 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20130627041234/http://sjpcommunications.org/files/pastoralcare/audit061813.pdf ^
  8. Rohde, Marie. “8 Men Tell of Sex Abuse by Friars.” BishopAccountability.org December 20, 1992. Accessed January 6, 2020. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news13/1992_12_20_Rohde_8Men_Gale_Leifeld_ETC_1.htm ^
  9. “Membership.” Seventh Generation Interfaith Coalition for Responsible Investment. Accessed February 22, 2022. https://seventhgenerationinterfaith.org/membership/ ^
  10. Copland, James R. “2105 Proxy Season Wrap-Up.” Manhattan Institute. 2015. Accessed January 13, 2020. https://www.proxymonitor.org/Forms/2015Finding4.aspx ^
  11. Mejdrich, Kellie. “SEC backs shareholder proposal change sin win for corporations.” Politico. November 5, 2019. Accessed January 13, 2020. https://www.politico.com/news/2019/11/05/sec-proxy-advisory-firms-shareholder-proposals-066097 ^
  12. Wotypka, Robert. “U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.” U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The Province of Saint Joseph of the Capuchin Order, December 9, 2019. https://www.sec.gov/comments/s7-22-19/s72219-6521630-200381.pdf ^
  13. “Greenhouse Gas Reduction – Science-Based Targets 2017 Schweitzer Mauduit International Inc.” Seventh Generation Interfaith CRI. 2017. Accessed January 4, 2020. https://seventhgenerationinterfaith.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/greenhouse-gas-reduction-science-based-targets_schweitzer-mauduit-international-inc_.pdf ^
  14. “Sustainable Development Goals – Smoking in Movies 2017 – Time Warner Inc.” Seventh Generation Interfaith CRI. 2017. Accessed January 4, 2020. https://seventhgenerationinterfaith.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/sustainable-development-goals-smoking-in-movies_time-warner-inc_.pdf ^
  15. “Supply Chain Impact on Deforestation 2017 – Restaurant Brands International.” Seventh Generation Interfaith CRI. 2017. Accessed January 4, 2020. https://seventhgenerationinterfaith.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/supply-chain-impact-on-deforestation_restaurant-brands-international.pdf ^
  16. “Investor Statement on Bangladesh.” Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility. May 16, 2013. Accessed January 13, 2020. http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/business/Bangladesh-Investor-Statement.pdf ^
  17. “Human Rights Policy Stressing Right to Health (Tobacco) 2017 – Philip Morris International.” Seventh Generation Interfaith CRI. 2017. Accessed January 4, 2020. https://seventhgenerationinterfaith.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/human-rights-policy-stressing-right-to-health-tobacco_philip-morris-international.pdf ^
  18. “Philip Morris International Comments on Tribunal’s Decision in Arbitration Between PMI and Uruguay.” Business Wire. July 8, 2016. Accessed January 4, 2020. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160708005828/en/Philip-Morris-International-Comments-Tribunal%E2%80%99s-Decision-Arbitration ^
  19. “Drug Pricing 2017 – Merck & Co., Inc.” Seventh Generation Interfaith CRI. 2017. Accessed January 4, 2020. https://seventhgenerationinterfaith.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/drug-pricing_merck-_-co.pdf ^
  20. “Investors Commend Kraft Heinz Co for Efforts to Advance Human Rights Due Diligence Throughout Its Supply Chain.” Food Industry Executive, May 6, 2021. https://foodindustryexecutive.com/2021/05/investors-commend-kraft-heinz-co-for-efforts-to-advance-human-rights-due-diligence-throughout-its-supply-chain/. ^
  21. “Sustainable Reporting – GHG Reduction Targets 2015 – Kraft Foods Group Inc.” Seventh Generation Interfaith CRI. 2015. Accessed January 4, 2020. https://seventhgenerationinterfaith.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/sustainability-reporting-_-ghg-reduction-targets_kraft-foods-group-inc_.pdf ^
  22. Burnett, Michael, Doyle, Fr. Thomas & Freiburger, Dr. James. “Report of the Audit and Review of the Files of the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph.” Capuchin Communications. June 2013. Archived from the original June 27, 2013. Accessed January 7, 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20130627041234/http://sjpcommunications.org/files/pastoralcare/audit061813.pdf ^
  23. Burnett, Michael, Doyle, Fr. Thomas & Freiburger, Dr. James. “Report of the Audit and Review of the Files of the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph.” Capuchin Communications. June 2013. Archived from the original June 27, 2013. Accessed January 7, 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20130627041234/http://sjpcommunications.org/files/pastoralcare/audit061813.pdf ^
  24. Burnett, Michael, Doyle, Fr. Thomas & Freiburger, Dr. James. “Report of the Audit and Review of the Files of the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph.” Capuchin Communications. June 2013. Archived from the original June 27, 2013. Accessed January 7, 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20130627041234/http://sjpcommunications.org/files/pastoralcare/audit061813.pdf ^
  25. Burnett, Michael, Doyle, Fr. Thomas & Freiburger, Dr. James. “Report of the Audit and Review of the Files of the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph.” Capuchin Communications. June 2013. Archived from the original June 27, 2013. Accessed January 7, 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20130627041234/http://sjpcommunications.org/files/pastoralcare/audit061813.pdf ^
  26. Goodstein, Laurie. “Audit Finds Sexual Abuse Was Topic Decades Ago.” The New York Times. June 8, 2013. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/19/us/audit-finds-sex-abuse-was-topic-decades-ago.html ^
  27. Burnett, Michael, Doyle, Fr. Thomas & Freiburger, Dr. James. “Report of the Audit and Review of the Files of the Capuchin Province of St. Joseph.” Capuchin Communications. June 2013. Archived from the original June 27, 2013. Accessed January 7, 2020. https://web.archive.org/web/20130627041234/http://sjpcommunications.org/files/pastoralcare/audit061813.pdf ^
  28. Goodstein, Laurie. “Audit Finds Sexual Abuse Was Topic Decades Ago.” The New York Times. June 8, 2013. Accessed January 6, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/19/us/audit-finds-sex-abuse-was-topic-decades-ago.html ^
  29. Rohde, Marie. “8 Men Tell of Sex Abuse by Friars.” BishopAccountability.org December 20, 1992. Accessed January 6, 2020. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news13/1992_12_20_Rohde_8Men_Gale_Leifeld_ETC_1.htm ^
  30. “Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order.” W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Accessed January 4, 2020.

    https://www.wkkf.org/grants#pp=10&p=1&q=capuchin ^

  31. “The Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order.” The Kresge Foundation. 2010. Accessed January 13, 2020. https://kresge.org/grant/province-st-joseph-capuchin-order ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: March 1, 1946

  • Available Filings

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Province of St. Joseph of the Capuchin Order

    1820 MOUNT ELLIOTT ST
    DETROIT, MI 48207-3427