About Senior Care Coalition
Senior Care Coalition is a group of Catholic, faith-based leaders serving the senior community in the Grand Rapids Diocese. Our commitment to service is supported by our passion to grow in our faith, inner spirituality and knowledge of our Heavenly Father.
As Catholics serving our aging population, we draw our inspiration from daily interactions with seniors and our hunger to be missionaries, delivering the word of God. We do this to be closer to God by being closer to and serving each other within and beyond our own faith community.
In late 2018, Owner of Oasis Senior Advisors, recognized that our faith community could draw upon the expertise of many Catholic senior industry leaders to assist our elderly population. His conversations with the Diocese of Grand Rapids led him to connect with several other senior care industry professionals who agreed that we needed to form a support structure that could provide both a learning platform and trusted resources for families of faith. We are proud to say that we’re a 501(c)(3) non-profit as of August 2022 and can accept tax deducible contributions, covering the many projects making a better life for our faith-based senior population.
A group of ~15 senior industry leaders meet for the first time to propose a mission statement and structure for the Coalition. Out of this initial meeting comes the desire to develop an Advisory Board of three Catholics that would help guide us as outside industry observers. Diocese leadership attending that initial meeting also felt strongly about garnering the support from our bishop, Most Reverend David J. Walkowiak. Additionally, the coalition appointed four of its original founders to lead development: Brian Hauenstein, Kendra Schumaker (Owner of SarahCare), Charlie Ferro (President of DMS/Peace at Home Caregivers) and Catherine Jacobs (Elder Law Attorney, Warner Norcross & Judd).
Approved the three founding advisory board members.
Coalition diocesan representative, Mark Mann presents the mission statement and intentions to Bishop Walkowiak. The bishop is encouraged by the intentions of the Senior Care Coalition.
Coalition members begin reaching out to parishes in the Grand Rapids market to explain our mission and seek their assistance in communicating the intentions of the Senior Care Coalition to families
Hospice of Michigan WZZM interview with Coalition President, Brian Hauenstein. Coalition members gather for faith retreat.
The Senior Care Coalition hosts several virtual and in-person workshops covering end of life choices and senior living options during the pandemic.Nov 09, 2017
Not only are we now a tax deductible organization as of August 2022, but we now have the ability to create relationships where it wasn't possible previously. We look forward to deeper level of service for our Catholic senior population.Nov 09, 2017
Senior Care Coalition Founder
Brian Hauenstein, CSA
Brian P. Hauenstein is a Certified Senior Advisor®, West Michigan native, parishioner and eucharistic minister of Saint Bartholomew Church in Newaygo. He is a graduate of West Catholic High School (‘87) and Aquinas College alumnus (‘92). Brian has served as a Catholic missionary in Kyoto, Japan under the direction of East Grand Rapids native, Father Graham McDonnell. Brian returned to West Michigan where he has raised his family and invested in his career. He currently serves as Executive Trustee to the St. Mary’s Foundation at Trinity Health and Cabinet Member of the Hauenstein Center at Grand Valley State University. Additionally, he joins Bishop David Walkowiak as a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, serving within the North Central Lieutenancy. Brian is the founder of the Senior Care Coalition, the Senior Advocacy Council and President of Oasis Senior Advisors of Grand Rapids.
Gleaves Whitney currently serves as the executive director of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation. Prior to his work at the Ford, he was the first full-time director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at GVSU from 2003-2020. There he established the first sustained and comprehensive common ground initiative in U.S. higher education. Under his direction, the Hauenstein Center's Cook Leadership Academy became a premiere center for leadership excellence. Before directing the Hauenstein Center, Gleaves served from 1992-2003 in Michigan Governor John Engler's administration (seriatim) as senior writer, chief speechwriter, and historical advisor. During that time, he also served on the Proposal A task force and assisted in the creation of Michigan's Department of History, Arts and Libraries. Gleaves currently serves on the board at Wyoming Catholic College. He earned an MA and is a PhD candidate in history at the University of Michigan. His honorary Doctor of Humane Letters is from the Graduate Theological Union's Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, California. Gleaves and his family are members of St. Robert’s Parish in Ada.
Judge Dennis Leiber
Judge Dennis Leiber attended St. Andrew's School, Grand Rapids Catholic Central and graduated with a double major from Aquinas College. He received his law degree from Wayne State University. He has served 30 years as a Kent County Michigan Circuit Court judge and has been an instructor on a wide variety of legal topics for area colleges and universities, various law enforcement agencies and judges through the Michigan Judicial Institute. He also served as a member of the faculty of the National Judicial College. Currently, he enjoys senior status and serves on an on-call basis.
Judge Leiber also serves as a Lector in his parish, the Cathedral of Saint Andrew. He is a former International President of the Catholic lay organization Serra International. Leiber is also a past President of The Serra International Foundation, created to assist Serra International in its mission. In April 1995, he was knighted by the Vatican and is currently Knight Grand Cross of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.
Sister Damien Marie Savino, F.S.E.
Sister Damien Marie Savino is a Franciscan Sister of the Eucharist and the Dean of Science and Sustainability at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biogeography from McGill University, her Master of Science degree in Soil and Plant Science from the University of Connecticut, her Master of Arts degree in Theology from The Catholic University of America and her Ph. D. degree in Civil (Environmental) Engineering from The Catholic University of America. Her research interests include theology and science, ecology and theology, ecological restoration, and resilience theory.