Grants Support Grassroots Efforts to Eliminate Poverty
WASHINGTON (September 25, 2006)– The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) today announced the distribution of nearly $9 million in grant money to local projects that work to break the cycle of poverty in the United States.
CCHD, the anti-poverty program of the Catholic Bishops of the United States, is one of the largest private funders of self-help programs that are controlled by the poor. Since its inception in 1970, CCHD has given more than $280 million in grants to some 7,800 projects designed to eliminate the root causes of poverty and alleviate its effects.
This year, CCHD grants totaling $8,909,000 will go to 326 projects in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. The projects are conceived and implemented by local groups in urban and rural areas who are committed to affordable housing, living wages, accessible health care, improved schools and access to social services.
Timothy Collins, CCHD executive director, said, "We are working with poor and low-income people to develop creative, practical, long-term solutions to their concerns. The need continues to be great, especially in light of last month's report from the U.S. Census Bureau, which quantified the grim reality that 37 million people in our country, fully 12.6%, are still living in poverty."
CCHD grant funds come from an annual parish collection in Catholic churches, generally on the weekend before Thanksgiving. Twenty-five percent of the donations remain in the diocese to fund local CCHD initiatives and the remaining 75 percent is distributed nationally. Funded projects undergo a thorough review process and are selected based on need and without regard to religious affiliation.
Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, of Albany, NY, chairman of the CCHD Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said "The money we are allocating today is significant to both the recipients and the donors. The generosity and commitment of the donors allows us to make grants to hundreds of grassroots groups throughout the country. Nonetheless," he continued, "we are able to fund only 65% of the requests we receive, which translates to 47% of the dollars requested." The average grant is $27,550.
More information about the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and its anti-poverty grants and educational programs can be found at its websites: www.usccb.org/cchd and www.povertyusa.org .
The following projects provide a representative insight into CCHD's work:
Food Works at Two Rivers Center in Montpelier, Vermont, was established to combat the root causes of childhood hunger. Over 20 years, it has helped re-focus school curricula on practical living skills and cultivated a new generation of small family farmers. It will use a $20,000 grant to encourage consumers to buy local food products, create a regional communications network and fund an annual working retreat for local farmers, school food personnel and senior meals site chefs.
The Albany Community Land Trust develops and preserves affordable housing opportunities for low-income people in Albany, New York. It acquires, rehabilitates and resells abandoned houses to first-time, low-income homebuyers and provides them with pre-and post-purchase counseling. A $30,000 grant will enable the group to increase the number of homeownership opportunities it can offer.
The Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Cincinnati, Ohio is a coalition of faith-based organizations and individuals which engage in collective actions to address issues of economic justice, human rights, racial equality and the environment. It will use a $20,000 grant to support a statewide initiative to organize family members of death row inmates who advocate a moratorium on the death penalty.
Childspace Cooperative Development in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania helps improve working conditions for childcare professionals, most of whom are low-income women. CCDI has helped establish worker-owned childcare cooperatives, an independent childcare union and a matched savings program. A $20,000 grant will help early education workers lift themselves out of poverty by strengthening their businesses and stabilizing their personal finances.
The Quitman County Development Organization in Marks, Mississippi offers programs in small business development, low-income housing rehabilitation, youth educational development and leadership training in its sparsely populated rural area. It will use a $35,000 grant to help open a local branch of a federal credit union that is committed to alleviating poverty by providing lifeline financial services.
The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition in Huntington, West Virginia works to promote public policies that protect the environment. A $30,000 grant will support efforts to stop the destructive mining practice known as mountaintop removal.
The Jane Addams Senior Caucus in Chicago, Illinois is a grassroots organization which has helped older adults play a central role in determining their quality of life. It will use a $35,000 grant to build on its successes in accessing affordable housing, home care and health services.
Pine Ridge Reservation Organizing, Inc. in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, is a faith-based organization of Native people and institutions. It works to improve the quality of life for residents of the reservation by bringing in new resources to combat poverty. A $20,000 grant will send 15 people to a week-long leadership training program and conduct on-site training of local reservation leaders.
Veronica's Voice, Inc. is a peer-based effort to empower prostituted women in Kansas City, Missouri by presenting alternatives. A $30,000 grant will support ongoing activities that assist sex industry victims to overcome dependency and become productive citizens.
The OFFCenter Community Arts Project is a small neighborhood arts facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It provides opportunities for homeless individuals by combining art therapy with economic development activities. A grant of $35,000 will add five new artists to the core group of 80, who produce salable art and will expand the distribution network for the artists' work.
The Los Angeles Community Action Network in California organizes residents to combat gentrification. It will use a $20,000 grant to protect the rights of low-income and homeless individuals by preventing displacement and advocating for the residents of low-income hotels.
Faith Action for Community Equity is a faith-based community organization in Honolulu, Hawaii, whose diverse membership includes Filipino, Pacific Islander and Asian residents. Because of the high cost of living on the island of Oahu and the longer-than-average lifespan of many of its members, the group will use a $30,000 grant to press for higher wages and long-term care insurance.
Esperanza del Barrio is an organization founded by Latina street vendors in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City. It helps Latino immigrants and their families work collectively to develop economic opportunities and end discriminatory treatment. A $30,000 grant will fund programming, training and workshops.
Note to Editors: During the current funding cycle, grants were not made in Nebraska, South Carolina, Wyoming, the U.S. Virgin Islands or Guam. 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 or to arrange an interview with a member of a funded organization. A complete listing of directors is available at the CCHD website: www.usccb.org/cchd/director.shtml.