OCTOBER 4, 2021
The Day’s events include a live-streamed presentation of the Foundation’s inauguration at the UN and its leadership’s visits in Assisi and Rome, as the Foundation begins its worldwide efforts with $50M of cornerstone funding committed.
(New York, New York… Monday, October 4, 2021) The celebration of St. Francis Day each year on October 4th will now form an important date on the world’s calendar as the newly created St. Francis Day Foundation sets an action-driven agenda to address what Pope Francis termed “Human Ecology” in his landmark Encyclical Laudato si’.
Responding to the Pontiff’s expressed desire that his Encyclical’s words be translated into action, the St. Francis Day Foundation was formed at a meeting held in Rome in May and launched today by its Chairman, Steve Menzies, a U.S. business leader and philanthropist, and by its President in Europe and Latin America, H.E. Roberto Manuel Carlés, Argentine Ambassador to the Republic of Italy.
With the Encyclical and the words and example of St. Francis of Assisi serving as contexts, the nonprofit organization will serve mankind through mandates addressing Human Ecology with far-reaching social and civic implications. Pope Francis, who has repeatedly identified the need for engendering respect for nature and for the disadvantaged through educational, cultural, civic and social initiatives, has encouraged these efforts worldwide in many communications that have now given the Foundation its mission.
In an address live-streamed today, Mr. Menzies, Founder and Chairman of Applied Underwriters and long an exponent of care for injured workers, of direct public diplomacy and of extensive philanthropy, set out the Foundation’s goals from the provision of vaccines and medical technology to the most vulnerable to the forming of curricular components and programs to define and distinguish human identity in an age of ever-advancing technologies that threaten those unprepared to assess and manage the implications.
More than US $50 million has been pledged to the St. Francis Day Foundation in cornerstone grant commitments from a variety of important corporate and foundation resources and from several generous individual benefactors seeking to support the Encyclical’s approach to solving the world’s most pressing problems.
The Foundation is establishing its operational headquarters in New York, as well as a chapter in Rome with other chapters to be added in countries on every continent to serve as bases for the Foundation’s work. The Foundation’s Board, currently in formation and scheduled to be announced later this year, will include leaders from the worlds of academe, diplomacy, commerce, the arts and public service who have expressed great respect for the undertaking and the work planned.
The Foundation’s mission as stated by Mr. Menzies, “lies in the understanding of Human Ecology as introduced in the Encyclical Laudato si’ and in the realization of a constantly emerging action agenda to address humankind’s hardest problems with all of the might and all of the resources that may be assembled and put to work, from searching discourse to deal with the place of human identity in a world of advancing technologies, to the distribution of vaccine medical technology to all the world’s peoples. In short, the St. Francis Day Foundation’s focus is on tangible, end results, capitalizing on the engagement of its leaders and participants to think boldly as a subject may require and to act with concentrated energy and resources.”
Amb. Carlés noted: “We will employ St. Francis Day as a reminder to the world of the great work and example of St. Francis, especially as we approach the 800th anniversary of his death in 2026. In the manner of other celebratory days, such as St. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day and others, we will use the celebration as an annual occasion to announce our plans and to rally our participants worldwide to engage concretely in our mission. Celebrate St. Francis Day and spread his words and his example in real ways – that is our message.”