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Good Shepherd Gracenter


The Good Shepherd Gracenter's ( goal is to help women without resources achieve long-term recovery from addiction. The success of this San Francisco-located facility is the result of a strength-based and individualized approach that has been used since its founding in 1932 by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd.

Gracenter stands out as a nonprofit that accepts no government funding. “Our success rate is nearly 95 percent for women who complete Gracenter’s program,” says Sister Marguerite Bartling, RGS. “Very few women’s programs operate the way we do. Because we are privately-funded we can admit someone immediately and begin to provide the services that she needs.” Most Gracenter participants have histories of domestic abuse and homelessness as well as drug and alcohol abuse.

Gracenter, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary in its current building in 2021, supports each woman in leading a healthy and meaningful life and giving back to the community by offering her opportunities to:

  1. Obtain a stable income
  2. Find stable housing
  3. Enroll in healthcare
  4. Live a crime-free lifestyle
  5. Further her education

Sister Anne Kelley, RGS, proudly points to recent successes that include two women who have started their own nonprofit organizations and that “we continually hire graduates to work as our own staff.”

“The Gracenter is particularly close to our hearts,” says Bank of Guam’s San Francisco branch manager Shirley Quitugua who is on the Gracenter board. “Everyone knows someone that is touched by what these women have gone through and are battling.”

When women first come to Gracenter, only about 25% have a stable income; 70% have healthcare; 50% are living crime-free lifestyles; less than 5% have stable housing or are furthering their education, and 0% are achieving long-term sobriety.

Employing an AA-based 12-step program, the results year for participants are remarkable. Some statistics that Sister Anne, who is a social worker and registered nurse, and Sister Marguerite, who is a social worker and certified drug and alcohol abuse counselor, point out that:

  • After one year, 96% report that they are in recovery and 96% are in stable housing and 96% have healthcare.
  • Three years after leaving Gracenter 95% are still in recovery and 96% are still living in stable housing.
“The women here are like a family for each other. They are incredibly supportive of each other.” Sister Anne

Bank of Guam has for several years provided funding and financial services (two PPP loans) to Gracenter. “Over the next few years,” says Sister Marguerite, “we want to add more bedrooms and update the facilities to serve more women.” Added Sister Anne, “We could not do what we do without our generous partners.”