ASHINGTON (September 20, 2004) The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) today announced the distribution of nearly $9 million to support local projects that work to break the cycle of poverty in the United States. CCHD, the anti-poverty initiative of the Catholic Bishops of the United State, is one of the largest private funders of anti-poverty programs controlled by the poor. Over the years, CCHD has offered $270 million to more than 4,000 projects designed to attack the root causes of poverty.
This year CCHD grants will go to 330 local projects in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Grants have been awarded, in both urban and rural areas, to organizations working to achieve living wages, affordable housing, accessible health care, better-quality schools and other services that make up the safety net of life.
The grant awards are being announced following the August report from the U.S. Census Bureau indicating that poverty is up in the United States for the third year in a row, now affecting 35.9 million people. Hardest hit, according to the Census Bureau, were women and children. By the end of 2003, 12.9 million children lived in poverty.
According to Father Robert J. Vitillo, CCHD executive director, "The general public substantially underestimates the dimensions of poverty in the United States. Until an individual's basic needs are met, there is little hope of moving out of a poverty-level existence. CCHD grants are provided to organizations working to eliminate the root causes of poverty—the lack of quality education, adequate housing, health care, employment and obstacles to civic participation. Grants are awarded to local organizations, initiated and led by poor and low-income people, because these community leaders are in the best position to assess and resolve local needs."
"Even with $9 million available for grants this year, we were only able to fund 71 percent of the requests we received," Father Vitillo said. "That tells us that there is still much to be done on two fronts—to increase funding for anti-poverty initiatives and to increase the awareness of Americans to the poverty in their midst."
Funds distributed by CCHD come from individual Catholics who donate to a nationwide church collection each year. One quarter of the local collection stays in the diocese to fund projects in the local area, and the remainder is distributed nationally according to need.
Note to Editors: Grants were not made in Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Guam during this funding cycle. 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 the CCHD Diocesan Director in your local area 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 work:
The Maine People's Alliance in Portland, Maine, received a $30,000 grant for the "Everyone Deserves a Home" Initiative. The alliance was founded in 1982 by low-income people to increase the availability and quality of low-income housing in Greater Bangor, Greater Lewiston/Auburn and Greater Portland.
In Brookline, Massachusetts, the Industrial Cooperative Association will use a $40,000 grant to continue their work to provide technical assistance for start-up workers-and community-owned businesses. Three community-based companies already have placed more than 1,000 people in temporary jobs and moved 600 of them to permanent positions.
Eastside Pride in Buffalo, New York, a resident-run neighborhood project, received $30,000 for a public safety project. The project addresses neighborhood safety and hopes to bring about the repair of 600 residential streetlights and will mobilize for action on 100 of the most dangerous abandoned houses in the neighborhood.
Hogar Santisima Trinidad of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, operates a substance abuse treatment program for men, financed through a community recycling program that collects and sells aluminum cans. The organization serves more than 100,000 households in 15 neighborhoods. The $25,000 grant will enable the organization to hire community organizers and help it double the number of households served.
The New Jersey Supreme Court ordered that $7 billion be spent to upgrade school facilities in the state's 30 lowest-income districts. The Statewide Education Organizing Committee of Trenton, New Jersey, will use a $25,000 grant to help organize local parent organizations to insure that residents of the affected districts have a voice in implementation of the decision.
The Senior Advocacy Team of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will use a $27,500 grant to expand mental health services for older adults. It is working to increase public subsidies for mental health services that assist the homebound elderly and will work for a program that combines mental health and elderly services at a single location.
The Downtown Outreach Corporation, an initiative of the Second Baptist Church of Detroit, Michigan, is beginning an African American Leadership commission to unite African American clergy and congregations across denominational lines.
Since its founding in 1987, the Little Haiti Housing Association in Miami, Florida, has helped 163 low-income families achieve first-time home ownership. With a $20,000 grant, the association seeks to build locally controlled block clubs, action committees and neighborhood associations to identify common concerns and take action to address them.
The Tennessee Health Care Campaign will use a $29,000 grant for its TennCare for Children and Families program to help uninsured, eligible children and families enroll in the state's managed healthcare program.
People First Wisconsin, Milwaukee, is a statewide, nonprofit grassroots advocacy organization run by and for people with developmental disabilities. It will use a $30,000 grant to continue to campaign to eliminate barriers that prevent disabled people from achieving employment and curtail the practice of paying sub-minimum wages to people with developmental disabilities.
PastureLand, a multi-family dairy cooperative in Southeastern Minnesota, was formed to provide family-support income for small-scale dairy farms. PastureLand uses rotational grazing to ensure the highest quality feed and does not confine animals to barns or feedlots. A $50,000 grant will enable the Dodge City, Minnesota, organization to continue to market its products.
Immigrant Rights Network of Iowa and Nebraska, Des Moines, Iowa, helps build inclusive communities, promote respect for the contributions of immigrants and facilitate full immigrant participation in decision-making processes. With a $30,000 grant, the organization will seek to expand membership, strengthen local chapters and train low-income immigrant leaders.
Colonias Unidas of Rio Grande City, Texas, works to improve the quality of life in Texas colonias. With help from $15,000 grant, the organization will pilot an organizing project to develop leadership skills of women in Starr County and to support them as leaders in community improvement efforts.
The Wakina Sky Learning Circle was formed in 1997 to decrease the high school dropout rate among American Indians in the Helena, Montana, school district. With help from a $30,000 grant, the group will embark on Widening the Circle II, a program to explore the difficulties of poverty and obstacles faced by low-income people.