is a network of charities whose aim is "to provide service to people in need, to advocate for justice in social structures, and to call the entire church and other people of good will to do the same." It is one of the largest charities in the United States. Catholic Charities traces its origin to an orphanage founded in 1727 in New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The New Orleans metropolitan area has a population of 1,235,650 as of 2009, the 46th largest in the USA. The New Orleans – Metairie – Bogalusa combined statistical area has a population...
by the French Ursuline
The Ursulines are a Roman Catholic religious order for women founded at Brescia, Italy, by Saint Angela de Merici in November 1535, primarily for the education of girls and the care of the sick and needy. Their patron saint is Saint Ursula.-History:St Angela de Merici spent 17 years leading a...
Catholic Charities, USA
(CCUSA), with headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia
Alexandria is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2009, the city had a total population of 139,966. Located along the Western bank of the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately six miles south of downtown Washington, D.C.Like the rest of northern Virginia, as well as...
, was founded in 1910 as the National Conference of Catholic Charities
. In 2010, Catholic Charities' centennial year, more than 1,700 agencies, institutions and organizations composed the Catholic Charities network - including individual organizations of the dioceses, such as the Archdiocese of Chicago
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago is the largest in a nationwide network of faith-based social service providers that form Catholic Charities. Together they form the largest private network of social service providers in the United States...
. Nearly 90 cents of every dollar donated to Catholic Charities agencies goes directly to programs and services. In 2008, Catholic Charities agencies served over 8 million individuals.
Together, with the local, diocesan-associated Catholic Charities, it is the second largest social service provider in the United States, surpassed only by the federal government. Throughout the centennial year, Catholic Charities USA worked together with their member agencies to find pathways out of poverty for more people than ever and to draw the country's attention to the people in our country who are struggling to find work and feed their families. Below are the highlights of Catholic Charities USA's efforts as a national association and movement to support member agencies and to build momentum to reduce poverty in America.
Catholic Charities USA supports Catholic Charities agencies by enhancing the delivery of quality human services; strengthening mission-grounded leadership, Catholic identity and parish engagement; building up leadership and organizational capacity; and fortifying disaster preparedness, response and recovery.
Enhancing the Delivery of Quality Human Services
- Awarded $575,000 to member agencies for socially innovative programs through the Centennial Recognition Program and the Casey Family Strengthening Awards Program.
- Disbursed over $2.7 million to member agencies through federal grants, such as the Housing and Urban Development Housing Counseling Grant.
- Provided site visit scholarships and seed grants to facilitate learning from and replication of exceptional programs in the network.
- Offered technical assistance and training through webinars and training events on topics ranging from asset development to the provision of adoption services in an anti-discriminatory environment.
- Disbursed over $900,000 to agencies through the Combined Federal Campaign to support critical programming through undesignated funds.
Strengthening Mission-grounded Leadership, Catholic Identity and Parish Engagement
- Led 26 mission-focused leadership development opportunities for boards, executives, staff, and parish leaders, including From Mission to Service, Parish Social Ministry Regional Gatherings, and Code of Ethics webinars.
- Published materials to strengthen the Catholic identity and values of the network through materials such as the Catholic in Charity and in Identity manual, National Catholic Charities Sunday materials, and the Lenten and Advent-Christmas Reflection Series.
- Hosted the first annual Martin Luther King Jr. Keeping the Dream Alive Mass and a Centennial Anniversary Liturgy at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
- Partnered with key Catholic national organizations to provide leadership development opportunities, such as co-sponsoring the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering with the U.S. Conference of th Catholic Bishops and facilitating access to resources.
Building up Leadership and Organizational Capacity
- Convened diocesan directors at the CCUSA Centennial Gathering, the Spring Gathering and a New Diocesan Directors Institute to ensure the advancement and solidarity among our network's leadership.
- Helped address organizational and leadership development issues by providing intensive organizational assessments and consultations on issues ranging from crisis to communication to succession planning.
- Awarded $1.1 million from the Centennial Celebration Fund to member agencies to facilitate agency participation in Catholic Charities USA's Centennial Leadership Summits and Centennial Gathering and to strengthen local public relations efforts about the centennial.
Fortify Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery
- Administered a Disaster Case Management grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for 14 organizations (including three Catholic Charities agencies), serving roughly 7,500 families; was awarded a new contract from HHS.
- Disbursed $3.4 million in emergency and long-term disaster response and recovery grants.
- Provided technical consultations to agencies responding to natural and human-made disasters, such as the flooding in several states and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Sponsored six disaster response and preparedness trainings for agency and community leaders.
Since it was launched in 2007, the Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America has been the vehicle to call upon everyone in the nation to address the issues that impact the most vulnerable. Catholic Charities USA is leading the fight by amplifying a prophetic voice for systematic change, telling the story of Catholic Charities agencies and people in poverty, and convening people to formulate pathways out of poverty.
Amplifying a Prophetic Voice for Systematic Change
- Solicited input for transformative legislation through the Centennial Leadership Summits for Catholic Charities professionals and community leaders in nine locations across the United States.
- Developed and introduced before Congress "The National Opporutnity and Community Renewal Act" (NOCRA), S.3845/H.R. 6222, transformative legislation designed to identify innovative strategies to revamp our nation's approach to poverty prevention and alleviation.
- Provided critical testimony to Congress on issues such as job creation and the impact of the Gulf Coast oil spill on vulnerable populations; hosted a hearing on the results of the Annual Survey immediately following the release of Census Bureau data indicating an increase in the poverty rate.
- Represented member policy interests in strategic Capitol Hill visits and national partnership and coalition venues.
Telling the Story of Catholic Charities and People in Poverty
- Released several major publications, including: Catholic Charities USA: A Century of Service, Advocacy, and Convening; Katrina & Rita: Five Years Later; Catholic Charities USA: 100 Years at the Intersection of Charity and Justice; Think and Act Anew; and the Centennial video, Time to Think and Act Anew.
- Utilized the Annual Survey and the Quarterly Snapshot Survey to illustrate the impact of the recession on poor families.
- Issued over 75 national news releases to promote Catholic Charities efforts.
- Awarded Centennial Medals to heroic individuals and organizations that have made great strides to reduce poverty in America.
Convening People to Formulate Pathways Out of Poverty
- Convened Catholic Charities employees and volunteers, key partners, and people of good will to formulate a bold anti-poverty strategy and advance the vision of a just and compassionate society through the Centennial Gathering and Leadership Summits, the Keep the Dream Alive Mass and Awards, and the Parish Social Ministry Regional Gatherings.
- Convened 81 actual and virtual events, which gathered over 5,000 people, including 3,000 Catholic Charities employees and volunteers from over 150 member agencies.
Catholic Charities uses about 89% of its revenue for program costs.
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Conflict over adoption by same-sex couples
In 2006, Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley and leaders of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston announced that the agency would terminate its adoption
work, rather than comply with state law which would force it to place children under the guardianship of same-sex couples, which conflicts with the moral teaching of the Church. The Archdiocese had petitioned then governor Mitt Romney
Willard Mitt Romney is an American businessman and politician. He was the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and is a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination.The son of George W...
earlier that year for an exemption to the law (which he had no power to grant) and also considered a court challenge before ultimately abandoning the idea. Similarly, in 2011, Catholic Charities of Illinois announced it may pull adoption services if it is forced to do the same.
There have also been other legal conflicts between the charity's following of Church moral teachings against the Sexual Revolution
The sexual revolution was a social movement that challenged traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality and interpersonal relationships throughout the Western world from the 1960s into the 1980s...
. For instance in Washington DC in November 2009 around a proposed same-sex marriage law, with Catholic Charities saying they would withdraw from their social services contracts with the city if it was implemented. The charity eventually decided to stop offering benefits to its married employees rather than provide them for married same-sex couples.