WASHINGTON (September 16, 2003) -– The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) today announced the distribution of $8.75 million to support local projects that work to eliminate the root causes of poverty in the United States. CCHD, the anti-poverty initiative of the Catholic Bishops of the United States, is one of the largest private funders of anti-poverty programs initiated and led by people living in poverty.
The grants will fund 318 local projects in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The figure also includes $500,000 designated for immigrant empowerment projects active in at least three states, and a $50,000 special allocation to the "CenterEdge" state-wide project in Connecticut.
More than half of the local grants (173) were awarded to projects in urban areas. Another 90 grants were awarded to areas considered a combination of urban and rural. Forty-six grants were awarded exclusively to rural areas and nine were made to suburban areas. The average grant size this year is $26,000.
According to Father Robert J. Vitillo, CCHD executive director, "Grants are awarded to local organizations because they are in the best position to assess and resolve local needs. With 47 of the nation's states reporting budget deficits and cutting programs that provide a safety net to the marginally employed, the need for poverty-related empowerment programs is even greater. Yet grant reviewers this year noted that because of economic conditions, many local support organizations are struggling just to maintain existing projects rather than expanding to meet the increased demands placed on them."
"According to the most recent Census data, 34.8 million people in the United States live below the poverty line," Father Vitillo said. "In many cases families are poor not because of lack of initiative or effort, but because of changing social and economic conditions, or lack of education. CCHD grants help community organizations work toward long-term solutions to affordable housing, access to employment, equal justice, immigrant issues, better schools and community services, all of which are barriers to overcome on the climb out of poverty."
Economic development grants focus on job creation and business development. Forty grants totaling nearly $1.2 million were given to such projects as the Vietnamese American Initiative for Development in Dorchester, Mass.; a Website development training program in Camden, N.J.; and the Colonias Development Council in Las Cruces, N.M. In most cases, economic development grants help individuals to create and market products and services, or increase community access to economic incentives and sound business practices.
The special $50,000 grant awarded to the CenterEdge project of the Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn., will help support an initiative, jointly sponsored by all the Catholic dioceses in Connecticut, to increase economic opportunity, housing choices, quality education for the poor and environmental stewardship over the state's water, air and land. While Connecticut's population grew by 12 percent between 1970 and 2000, land use grew 102 percent during that time. People have moved from the cities to former farm and forested land seeking a better quality of life. But these newly developed areas lack the means to fund new schools, roads and sewers. Meanwhile, city tax bases are shrinking.
CCHD receives most of its funds from individual Catholics who donate to a nationwide church collection each year, usually the third weekend in November. One quarter of the parish collection is retained and distributed by the local diocese to self-help projects in their respective areas; the remainder is distributed by the CCHD national office to projects that demonstrate a compelling need and present clear goals and objectives to break the cycle of poverty through community-based initiatives that are led by people living in poverty.
Note to Editors: This year CCHD did not receive requests from, or was unable to fund, projects in the following states: North Dakota, Utah, Oklahoma, Idaho, and Montana. If you would like specific information about funded projects in your state or diocese, contact Barbara Stephenson in the CCHD media office, 202-541-3364 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also want to contact CCHD's Diocesan Director in your diocese for more information; a complete listing of directors may be found at our web site: www.usccb.org/cchd/director.htm
The following representative projects provide an insight into CCHD's 2003-2004 funding:
The T Riders Union (TRU) Project of Alternatives for Community Environment in Roxbury, Mass., received $20,000 to help support safe and reliable public transportation in the metropolitan area. TRU seeks to change public spending priorities for transportation in order to ensure equity, affordability and quality of service.
In Providence, R.I., the Day Care Justice Co-op received $33,000 for its Cost of Care Campaign. The campaign combats the exploitation of childcare providers. It will address issues such as excessive working hours, inadequate state compensation and insufficient resources to meet basic operational expenses.
Centro Hispano "Cuzcatlan" Community Organizing Project in Jamaica, N.Y., received $30,000 to continue efforts to support tenant associations and to mobilize the community around immigration issues. The organization will encourage community members who are legal residents to apply for U.S. citizenship and those who are already citizens to register to vote.
The Coalition of Institutionalized Aged and Disabled of New York City is a grassroots advocacy organization run by and for nursing home and adult home residents. It received $20,000 for the Adult Home Resident Advocacy Project to help reverse years of substandard care for mentally ill residents in homes.
The Shenango Valley Initiative in Sharon, Pa., works to counter the region's economic decline caused by movement of industry from the area. A $25,000 grant will help the initiative organize congregations and individuals of all faiths and economic backgrounds to improve the area's political, economic and community institutions.
In Harrison, Mich., the Automotive Training Program of Hard Times Café meets the need for job opportunities and for reliable transportation. It received $20,000 for a project that gives hands-on job training in automotive repairs to participants, and then the donated and repaired automobiles are sold to them at low cost.
The Deaf and Deaf-Blind Committee on Human Rights Organizing Project in Lorain, Ohio, addresses issues related to health care and communications access, housing, and wages on behalf of its constituents. With a $35,000 grant the organization will encourage hospitals and doctors' offices to provide sign language interpreting services in compliance with existing laws.
The Interchurch Coalition for Action, Reconciliation and Empowerment in Jacksonville, Fla., addresses a range of community concerns. The Parents Organized for Power project received a $20,000 grant to work for urban public school reform and greater school accountability through increased parental involvement.
A $25,000 grant to Somali Radio Service in Stone Mountain, Ga., will help continue weekly radio broadcasts in the Somali and Swahili languages to newly arrived refugees. The broadcasts offer health and safety messages, news, community announcements, job openings and housing options.
The Criminal Justice Reform Project of the Virginia Organizing Project in Charlottesville, Va., will use its $25,000 grant to address racial profiling and explore such issues as proper defense of indigent people in the judicial system.
A $25,000 grant to the Caddo Adais Indian Tribe of Robeline, La., will permit the tribe to collect documents and oral statements from members in order to develop a tribal history and archival library and to submit a petition for federal recognition as a Native American tribe. Recognition is expected to result in additional government support.
The Logan Square Neighborhood Association of Chicago received $25,000 to help preserve affordable family living in a diverse, low-income neighborhood. The initiative will expand leadership skills of local residents to ensure that they have a say in the community's future.
In Brookings, S.D., the Dakota Rural Action Food Campaign will use a $20,000 grant to eliminate barriers that prevent area farmers and ranchers from participating in local markets. The initiative's goals are to ensure that local producers can choose to market foods in the area where they are grown, and that consumers understand the health and community benefits of supporting local producers.
Metropolitan Congregations United of St. Louis received a $30,000 grant to help create and preserve jobs in the metropolitan area. This initiative promotes equitable reform for tax increment financing to attract investments and jobs to distressed areas, and other activities designed to generate business development and employment.
A $25,000 grant was awarded to the Grandparents United Project of Arkansas Voices for the Children Left Behind in Little Rock, Ark. The organization will seek to increase access to public assistance subsidies for grandparents and other non-relatives caring for children whose parents are incarcerated.
In Anaheim, Calif., the Orange County Congregation Community Organization received a $35,000 grant for a community-driven effort to guarantee health insurance for children whose family income falls below the poverty level.
The Chinatown Coalition for Better Housing in San Francisco will use a $35,000 grant to address health and safety issues of hundreds of families who live in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in private, single-room occupancy hotels in the city.