Privately-operated Catholic pregnancy center to be run by Catholic Charities
By Nissa LaPoint, Denver Catholic Register
Lighthouse Pregnancy Center
For information, contact Lynn Grandon at 303-715-3205 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lighthouse Pregnancy Center in Denver—founded across the street from the nation’s second largest Planned Parenthood—is passing its nonprofit Christian ministry into the hands of Catholic Charities of the Denver Archdiocese.
After much prayer and discussion, co-founder and former board chairwoman Laura Salvato said she decided it was a win-win opportunity.
“We’re very excited,” Salvato said about her and her husband, Deacon Mark Salvato. “It will mean that the vision and mission, which we all intended for the center, will be enriched through the resources and leadership of the entire Archdiocese of Denver.”
Although an agreement is in place, the legal transfer is expected to be finalized in March, said Catholic Charities president and CEO Jonathan Reyes.
“The mission of Lighthouse fits perfectly with the charitable mission of the archdiocese because at the heart of all this work is respect and dignity for the life of every person from conception to natural death,” Reyes said. “By making Lighthouse a part of Catholic Charities we can offer a whole range of services to anyone who comes to us for help: from help with financial resources, shelter and counseling to care for children.”
The archdiocese’s Respect Life Office director, Lynn Grandon, will be the new executive director.
The Lighthouse Pregnancy Center—A Beacon of Hope for Women, was a privately operated and funded ministry that’s located across from Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains’ headquarters in Denver. Planned Parenthood is the leading provider of abortion in the country.
The Salvatos purchased the property, which has a 100-year-old brick home on it, in 2009 with the aim of starting a bold Catholic ministry that helps women in crisis find alternatives to abortion and bring their pregnancy to term.
Relying on volunteers and private donations, the $165,000 house and property at 3894 Olive St. was renovated and recently-acquired permits will allow for remodeling, Laura Salvato said. Future plans include constructing a reception area, counseling rooms, ultrasound room and a eucharistic adoration chapel.
The goal is to operate the pregnancy crisis center from the home by May 13 and offer women free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds and access to emotional, spiritual and financial resources.
“We want to be sure that women know we’re not here just to save the baby,” said former Lighthouse executive director Rosalinda Lozano. “We’re here to help women find the strength and resources to make a good decision about an unplanned pregnancy.”
The pregnancy center drew attention and wide support in its infancy.
Its first annual benefit dinner called “Beacon of Hope” on Jan. 26 attracted a sold-out crowd at The Wildlife Experience in Parker. Almost $150,000 was raised at the gala during which actor Eduardo Verastegui, star of the pro-life film “Bella,” spoke about his conversion.
Over the last couple of years, two individuals committed to donating $50,000 each, giving the center the added funds needed to pay for its first year’s expenses, Salvato said. The center is also the next expected recipient of an ultrasound machine through the Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative Program.
“I am impressed with what Laura and her team have been able to accomplish,” Reyes said. “Because of Laura’s leadership, and with the essential work of Rosalinda, the whole community is rallying around this effort. The excitement is contagious.”
Catholic Charities’ leadership over the pregnancy center will ensure a unified effort to help women in crisis and provide the appropriate resources and staff to carry out its mission, Salvato said.
“All donations and pledges to the Lighthouse project that have been received will be treated as restricted gifts,” Reyes said. “Everything will go directly to the Lighthouse project. People may continue to contribute directly to the project simply by making the gifts restricted. At Catholic Charities we know people like to support specific ministries and we always honor that.”
Salvato will continue to assist with some aspects of the pregnancy center including planning its next benefit dinner, she said.
“It has been an honor and privilege to serve this mission for life,” she said.