Red Bird Foundation was founded by Paula D'Arcy in 2001 as a non-profit foundation for the purpose of creating learning opportunities to foster personal and spiritual growth for people in need throughout the world. In the United States, the Foundation’s work to date has included prison retreats and talks, evening gatherings at shelters and the creation of small groups of individuals from around the world to foster widening awareness of the world’s ongoing work toward freedom and peace. The Foundation also offers scholarship support to allow those of lower income to attend Paula's retreats.
Here's How the Dream Began:
In 1998, after nearly twenty years of leading retreats and seminars, Paula had a vision of all that is possible in terms of reaching a wider audience, including the many who presently live in great need. She saw the impact of pain that has never been transformed, as well as the impact of unresolved grief. She also saw what it might mean to have the opportunity to attain new awareness and freedom. RED BIRD FOUNDATION was born in Paula's heart as a response to these needs. Since its beginning the Foundation has become a means of touching the hearts and lives of those who have limited resources and/or little hope, as well as those who want to participate in bringing about change. “Most moving of all is the knowledge that our contributions come from hundreds of people who have agreed to be part of our hands on effort to effect change.”
In Paula's words:
When the darkness of grief lifted, I emerged deeply sensitized to all suffering. My life had been directly and forever altered by a great force of love that moved even in the midst of considerable heartache. Now I wanted to give back to the world in some way. I wanted others to know the full power and reach of love.
In creating a non-profit I was aware of the many organizations that beautifully and effectively tend society’s visible needs. But I dreamed of creating a foundation that would tend the invisible needs of the human heart. Red Bird Foundation was incorporated in 2001.
Since its founding, the guiding focus of Red Bird Foundation is to assist others in the transformation of pain and the restoration of hope.
My ongoing personal vocation as a speaker and retreat director has been an unintended complement to the work of Red Bird Foundation. The widespread travel demanded by this career path offers rich resources for the Foundation’s efforts. From the beginning, we have often been moved to help others when their needs were brought to our awareness because of the natural intersection of those lives and stories and my own work. As a result, Red Bird Foundation’s uniqueness is that rather than our searching for particular avenues and places where we might offer assistance, we let them find us. Because of this, our outreach is particularly diverse and always evolving. Yet our defining, unchanging dedication remains the same: To assist the movement of love in this world and at this time. This is our “why.” The “what” and the “how” follow.
The words of Alfred Delp, imprisoned and hung by the Nazis, are a perfect expression of our mission. While in the concentration camps he smuggled out scraps of paper in the laundry with these words: Light the candles, wherever you can, you who have them.
The question at the heart of Red Bird Foundation is: Who is life bringing to our door today and are we able to help? We use many means: Retreats, conferences (large and small), one on one conversations, scholarships to attend retreats, and programs for those in great need or in disadvantaged situations. Our work has grown to the international level, yet its hallmark remains the fact that we weigh evenly the meaning and effect of a large conference held in a convention center, or a small circle meeting in a half-way house or jail. We light the candles wherever and however we can. A single human heart is of the highest value. The true work we support is love and the opening of hearts. As we are able, we hold open a door.