HOUSTON — Catholic Extension honored Raye G. White, a native of Houston, with its fifth annual Spirit of Francis Award “for her passion and commitment” to the faith community in the Houston area.

The award recognizes an individual or group who has made a significant impact on the mission of the Catholic Church in America through service or philanthropy.

Father Jack Wall, Extension’s president, presented the award to White, calling her a “woman whose life exemplifies the importance of faith, the centrality of family, as well as the values of hard work, service and generosity.”

He said her lifelong commitment to her family, her community and the Catholic Church “will surely leave a lasting impact for generations to come.”

A news release about the award, presented at a Feb. 17 dinner in Houston, said that White’s “passionate concern for others and her wish to give back to the community she loves she” is at the root of all her efforts, “from the boardroom to her countless philanthropic endeavors.”

Those endeavors include supporting the development of the Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza Priest Retirement Residence at St. Dominic Village in Houston; various initiatives of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, including the annual Archdiocesan Prayer Breakfast; and her annual support of the San Jose Clinic and Catholic Charities.

White called it “a great honor” to receive this year’s Spirit of Francis Award.

She noted past Texas recipients of the award who “have impacted my life in such a wonderful way”: retired Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston, who received the honor in 2018; now-retired Bishop Curtis J. Guillory of Beaumont, Texas, honored in 2019; and the late Jesuit Father Antonio “T.J.” Martinez, posthumously honored in 2020.

“I am truly grateful to be in such wonderful company,” she said.

White is the executive vice president and chief compliance officer of Fayez Sarofim & Co. She has been with the firm since its inception in 1958 and is a chartered investment counselor.

Additionally, White serves on various boards, including for the Hermann Eye Fund and the CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare and is a life director at the University of St. Thomas.

The Spirit of Francis Award is inspired by its three namesakes: St. Francis of Assisi, Pope Francis and Father Francis Clement Kelley, founder of Catholic Extension — all of whom are known for embracing and helping the poor.

Proceeds from the dinner will go toward Catholic Extension’s support of rural mission churches in Texas “where resources are scarce, but where faith is strong,” the news release said.

Catholic Extension is a Chicago-based papal mission society that supports the work and ministries of U.S. mission dioceses. Over the course of its 117-year history, it has supported all 15 Catholic dioceses across the state of Texas.

Today it assists poor churches with investments in their infrastructure, leaders, and ministries in the dioceses of Amarillo, Lubbock, San Angelo, El Paso Tyler, Beaumont, Laredo and Brownsville. Collectively, these dioceses are home to 2.8 million Catholics.