A beacon of hope
Mary Jo and Steve Hazard have been troubled by the violence on our city streets and in our world. In search of a lasting solution, they committed a percentage of their estate toward Marquette’s Center for Peacemaking.
The center was founded ten years ago and strives to empower informed, spiritually centered, nonviolent peacemakers. Founder Dr. Terrence Rynne, a friend of the Hazards, hopes students learn about and understand peacemaking as part of their vocation, enmeshed in whatever careers they pursue.
“We’ve seen the center continue to launch creative, successful initiatives to teach simple, practical conflict resolution skills to both university students and kids in local public and Catholic schools,” Mary Jo said. “The center is reaching impressionable young people, showing them alternatives to violence and shaping them as resilient peacemakers.”
Blessed are the peacemakers
At the center, faculty members research and document effective peacemaking strategies. Student interns are engaged in troubled parts of the world, learning and teaching practical ways of building peace and preventing violence.
“A big part of our human weakness is a tendency to turn to violence,” Steve said. “Supporting the center is our way of being involved in the work of Jesus and the Church, building justice and peace, counteracting the spread of violence in our world.”
“We’ve heard stories from a number of students impacted, and we are so inspired by the way their fire has been lit by their experiences through the center.” — Steve Hazard
Mary Jo specifically remembers a class of 5th grade boys participating in the center’s Peace Works program. “They told us their favorite topics were empathy and forgiveness. It was amazing to hear!” she said.
The Hazards hope their gift enables systemic change toward peaceful alternatives in three areas:
- Exploring non-violence through student experiences.
- Education through classroom learning and research.
- Empowering community programming, like Peace Works, that combines student formation, research and classroom teaching.
“We hope the funding helps the center form lifelong peacemakers and engage with other organizations around common solutions,” said Mary Jo.
Partnering on philanthropy
Philanthropy holds a long-standing place in the Hazards’ hearts.
“Not to share these resources beyond our family wouldn’t fit with how we’ve tried to live life,” Steve said.
“We feel a strong sense of partnership with Marquette’s Center for Peacemaking and give back out of a spirit of gratitude.” — Mary Jo Hazard