WASHINGTON (September 25, 1998)—The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), the Catholic Church's domestic anti-poverty program, has awarded a record $8.5 million in national grants for 1998 that will help low-income people create jobs, reform schools, improve conditions in the workplace, fight crime, and find affordable homes.
These 1998 grants, from private funds donated last fall in Catholic parishes nationwide, will be distributed to 300 self-help projects -- a record number for a single year. The projects are Page located in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
Father Robert J. Vitillo, executive director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development announced the 1998 grants in Washington.
"These grants continue the Catholic Campaign for Human Development's 28-year commitment to helping the poor and voiceless in our society achieve self-sufficiency. From Long Island to the Hawaiian Islands, people living in poverty are proving that they have the skills and talents to help themselves and their communities find real solutions to pressing social problems. With CCHD's support, countless men, women and children are realizing their God-given dignity," Father Vitillo said.
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development, founded by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in 1970, is the nation's largest private funder of organizations that empower the poor and work to eliminate poverty and injustice. Grants are distributed based on need, not religious affiliation.
The self-help projects that CCHD funds fall into two categories -- organizing and economic development. CCHD organizing projects empower poor and marginalized people as they join together to seek solutions to local problems. These projects enable individuals to develop as community leaders as they improve their lives and neighborhoods. A total of $7.2 million went to 238 organizing projects.
Under CCHD's economic development program $1.3 million will go to 62 projects. The funding includes both grants and loans to assist organized groups of poor and low-income people in starting or expanding businesses that employ low-income people. Funding is also used to develop businesses that promote management and worker ownership and to create capacity for community-based economic development in low-income communities. This year's organizing and economic development grants include
- The Workplace Project of Hempstead, N.Y., which received a total of $50,000 -- $40,000 to organize Latino immigrant workers on Long Island to ensure they are not unfairly denied
earned wages, and $10,000 to develop a worker-owned landscaping cooperative;
- Ten Point Coalition of Jamaica Plain, Mass., which received a $35,000 grant to develop six Youth Councils, each supported by a cluster of four to six member churches, that will reach out to black and Latino youth at risk for violence, drug abuse and other destructive behavior;
- Trace Community Developers of St. Martin, Ohio, which received $25,000 to continue organizing rural, Appalachian communities in southwestern Ohio that want to maintain rural traditions while improving living standards and economic opportunity;
- Crescent City Farmers Market of New Orleans, which received $28,500 to identify new vendors and stabilize the operation of a weekly urban market that has created 22 jobs in two years and grossed $500,000 annually for low-income, rural and urban producers;
- Not Dead Yet of Forest Park, Ill., which received $40,000 to organize the disability community's national grassroots opposition to the legalization of assisted suicide and euthanasia -- a particular threat to poor and older disabled people;
- Minnesota ACORN of St. Paul, Minn., which received $25,000 to involve parents in the education of their children at a charter school for 220 Hmong and African American children, established last year by the group;
- The Colonias Development Council of Las Cruces, N.M., which received a total of $37,500 to organize residents of 13 colonias, or poor communities, to gain basic services such as potable water and waste water systems, and to develop a comprehensive plan for economic development, leading to jobs and businesses in this U.S.-Mexico border area;
- Magic Years Cooperative of Richmond, Calif., which received a total of $65,000 to operate its worker-owned, cooperative child care company that provides high quality child care services while providing quality child care jobs for low-income women;
- Pueblo Nuevo Enterprises of Los Angeles, which received $25,000 to bolster its working capital and purchase equipment for its cooperative janitorial service that employs 22 people, including former gang members and the homeless; and
- Faith in Action for Community Equity of Honolulu, which received $50,000 to unite more than 35,000 church members including Protestants, Catholics and Buddhists, who will act together to save public housing and create jobs for poor and low-income island residents.
"Through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, we Catholics help people help themselves. This program owes its success to generous Catholic parishioners whose annual contributions allow us to offer a hand up, not a handout to our brothers and sisters in need," Father Vitillo said.
Funds for CCHD's grant and loan programs are raised during the Campaign's annual collection in Catholic parishes nationwide. In most parishes, the collection is held the weekend before Thanksgiving; this year it will be November 21-22.
CCHD has provided more than $250 million in grants and loans to more than 3,500 self-help projects since its founding 28 years ago. CCHD-funded groups have been instrumental in securing passage of federal and state legislation on such issues as child support, family and medical leave, community reinvestment, and housing.
Through CCHD's education programs, Catholics learn about the Church's social teaching and how to attack the root causes of poverty. One such program is Journey to Justice, a transformational education process to create partnerships between poor and non-poor people to improve the quality of life for all.
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development national office is based in Washington, D.C.
[Editors: Call for list of projects in your region. For further information about the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, visit its Web site: www.nccbuscc.org/cchd]