Charities USA Magazine: Fall 2011

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Fall 2011 | Volume 38 Number 3

Poverty Summit Brings Together National Partners Family Strengthening Awards Go to Anchorage, Phoenix & Philadelphia Agencies Annual Gathering Hosts Think Outside the Box

Holistic, Flexible, & Individualized
Building a Service Delivery System around People

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Charities USA is the quarterly magazine of Catholic Charities USA. In each issue, you’ll find:
• Feature articles on topics that matter to the work of Catholic Charities • Profiles of successful Catholic Charities programs • Updates on CCUSA’s legislative and policy work • Information on member benefits, training, and events • News from CCUSA and agencies nationwide • Success stories in reducing poverty • And so much more!

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On the Cover: Photo: © Steve Liss,





Building a Service Delivery System Around People
started working at Catholic Charities USA the week after the terrorist attacks of September 11. I wasn’t very familiar with the work of Catholic Charities at that time, but I felt a deep sense of commitment among the staff to do all that they could to support agencies in responding to the needs of people in their communities who were suffering. Numerous disasters have followed since then, most notably Hurricane Katrina, which mobilized our network in an even broader effort to respond. And by the end of this year, 2011, we may have responded to the highest number of natural disasters yet. This issue of Charities USA explores more of the policy ideas being promoted by the National Opportunity and Community Renewal Act, specifically the building of a service delivery system around people, one that is holistic, flexible, and individualized and that utilizes case management as a core strategy to reduce poverty. The articles we’ve brought together explore this kind of service delivery system and why it can be more effective in reducing poverty than the system we now have. These are good ideas, bold and challenging, especially to those who think the status quo is acceptable. While we don’t claim to have all the answers, and we welcome constructive input, I so appreciate that we have that same deep commitment to respond to this disaster of poverty as to other disasters, enough to invest considerable time and resources into developing the best strategies we can to reduce poverty’s impact on people’s lives. So go Catholic Charities! n

I’ve come to appreciate that Catholic Charities is always responding to disasters—the ones caused by hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes as well as the ones caused by human agency, apathy, and folly, the ones that mete out destruction across the landscape and the ones that wreak havoc in individual lives. For the lives of more than 40 million Americans, poverty does just that. It is our ongoing national disaster. While we can’t control the elements or anticipate the acts of people determined to do us harm, we can do something about poverty. And I’m very proud that as a network we are, and with ideas that have originated from our long experience as a network working with people who are poor.

Ruth Liljenquist Managing Editor
To comment on this issue, please write to Ruth Liljenquist at [email protected]

Charities USA (ISSN 0364-0760) is published by Catholic Charities USA. Address all correspondence to the managing editor. © 2011 Catholic Charities USA, Alexandria, Virginia. Editorial and Business Office Sixty-Six Canal Center Plaza Suite 600 Alexandria, VA 22314 t: 703-549-1390 • f: 703-549-4183 [email protected] Publisher Rev. Larry Snyder Executive Editor Roger Conner Managing Editor Ruth Liljenquist Creative Director Sheena Lefaye Crews Contributing Writers Roger Conner Katelin Cortney Ruth Liljenquist Editorial Committee Jean Beil Kim Burgo Kathleen King Kristan Schlichte Rachel Lustig Candy Hill Jane Stenson Catholic Charities USA is the National Office for one of the nation’s largest social service networks. Member agencies and institutions nationwide provide vital social services to millions of people in need each year, regardless of their religious, social, or economic backgrounds. Catholic Charities USA supports and enhances the work of its membership by providing networking opportunities, national advocacy, program development, training and consulting, and financial benefits.



6 10 12 13 15 20 22 24 29 33 Building a Service Delivery System around People Achieving Better Outcomes for People The Goal of Case Management “On the Path to Where I Wanted to Be” One Woman’s Journey to Self-Sufficiency The Power of a Mentoring Relationship A Perspective from a Receiver and Giver of Case Management A Central Role for Case Management Reducing Poverty through a Holistic, Flexible, Individualized Approach Remembering September 11 Starting a National Conversation about Poverty Reduction Poverty Summit Brings Together Ten National Organizations Fighting Poverty Thinking Outside the Box in Fort Worth Annual Gathering Hosts Have Set Out to End Poverty The 2011 Family Strengthening Awards An Epidemic of Disaster Catholic Charities Stretched by Recent Natural Disasters

4 36 38 44 President’s Column CCUSA News NewsNotes Working to Reduce Poverty in America

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President’s Column
By Rev. Larry Snyder

ne year ago, we as a network met in Washington, DC, for our Centennial Gathering to celebrate our century of service and to advance our work to reduce poverty in America. A year later, we are meeting again at our 2011 Annual Gathering in Fort Worth, TX, hosted by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Worth. This time, however, it’s not just the Catholic Charities network that is gathering. A number of other organizations fighting poverty will also be joining with us in the first National Poverty Summit, to be held in conjunction with our gathering. This Poverty Summit grew out a desire to build on the energy and momentum that came out of our centennial gathering and also out of the recognition that we, as the Catholic Charities network, cannot accomplish the work of poverty reduction on our own. “It can’t just be us,” we acknowledged, and we began looking for other organizations that were talking about reducing poverty. Over the last year, we have been building relationships with many national organizations to build a coalition and a much broader strategy to accomplish our goals. The group of partners that we have brought together in the National Poverty Summit—the Coalition on Human Needs, the Corporation for Economic Development, Bread for the World, the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Save the Children, and several others—have different spheres of influence, but we all have proven strategies for reducing poverty and we believe that together we can move forward in a common direction. At the summit, we hope to identify common ground, common goals, and common strategies that we can pursue together.


The National Poverty Summit will not be a one-time event. Next year and in years to follow, the summit will be hosted by our summit partners, in conjunction with their own annual meetings. We will take part in these subsequent summits, which will not only give our summit coalition a national forum in which to raise up the issue of poverty, but give us the opportunity to measure our progress, identify obstacles in meeting our goals, and reinforce our common strategy. I believe that through this summit we are truly realizing the vision of the Cadre Study, wherein we were called to serve, advocate, and convene. Through numerous ways, we have convened our network and many people and organizations in the Catholic community. But through this summit, we will be convening much more broadly, bringing together people of good will everywhere, just as the Cadre Study envisioned, to raise up the issue of poverty in this country, to find together the best solutions, and to call our lawmakers to take notice. As I contemplate the power of so many people of good will working together, it give me tremendous hope that we will accomplish great things and truly bless the lives of the people we are advocating for. n

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Photo: © Steve Liss,



By Candy Hill


t may come as a surprise to some that as a country we’ve never really made a systematic effort to reduce the incidence of poverty. Yes, we have committed substantial resources to assisting the poor, but on the whole, our federal safety net programs are not designed to reduce poverty, only to alleviate it. The programs we now have—Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance, and others—came about largely as reactions to dire human conditions that lawmakers and the public observed throughout our nation and were designed to ensure that people did not fall below a minimal level of subsistence. From poorhouses and county farms to food stamps and subsidized housing, the programs were put in place to ensure that people didn’t starve, that they weren’t homeless, and that they didn’t suffer due to the lack of medical care. These programs have been successful in reducing the hardship of poverty, but they have not reduced the incidence of poverty. As the current recession has reinforced, we still need to commit resources to alleviating the suffering of poverty, but we also need a systematic strategy for helping people move out of poverty and achieve sustainable independence, whether they have lived in poverty their whole lives or whether they have fallen into poverty due to an unexpected life circumstance. The policy ideas being advanced by Catholic Charities USA in the National Opportunity and Community Renewal Act outline a bold and innovative strategy for reducing poverty. One of the

key components of this strategy is to re-engineer our nation’s safety net service delivery system so that it better meets people’s immediate needs and helps put them on the pathway to sustainable independence. As mentioned above, numerous federal programs exist today to alleviate the hardship of Americans living in poverty. While well-intentioned and effective in fulfilling their respective purposes, these programs make up a program-centered service delivery system that does not always work well in meeting people’s needs. First of all, the existing programs may not meet a person’s specific need. Second, with different eligibility requirements for different programs, some people may end up being ineligible for the assistance they need and eligible for assistance they do not need. Third, some people in need may not be eligible for any programs, and therefore cannot get any assistance. Fourth, with programs being funded in different ways and at different levels, people may not be able to get assistance when program resources are low.

A Central Role for Case Management
Government administration of today’s safety net programs centers largely on determining people’s eligibility for benefits and making sure benefits are paid out or received. When a person, a consumer, seeks assistance at a government agency, the agency gathers information, such as annual income and employment status, to determine eligibility and file the paperwork to ini-

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tiate benefits. The process operates on a “deficit” model—determining what the person lacks and what can be provided to make up that lack. Catholic Charities, other nonprofits, and some very innovative local social services directors are taking a different approach to assisting people in need—one centered on engaging with people. Generally, when a person comes to a nonprofit for assistance, especially a faith-based nonprofit, a case manager or other client advocate meets with the person, learns about their life, discovers their needs by listening to their story, and discusses with them the circumstances that have led to their need for assistance. The case manager and the person then develop an individualized plan that helps the person in their immediate crisis but also in resolving the problems that have put them in need. The case manager may help the person enroll in public benefit programs, but will also coordinate a number of services that will assist the person in building personal and financial assets and accessing opportunities that will help them move out of poverty. From that initial point of contact, the relationship between the case manager and the person continues, as they work together in accomplishing the goals of the plan that will help the person move toward sustainable independence. This people-centered asset model has proven to be the most efficient and effective way of helping people overcome poverty. Case managers or client advocates take on a mentoring role, jointly determine with the consumer the type and level of services, and focus on the person’s strengths, all of which enable and support the person in reaching their full potential. Members of CCUSA’s Consumer Advisory Council, who are former consumers of Catholic Charities programs, all agree

that the most important thing that helped them overcome poverty was the fact that someone was there to listen to them and walk with them in making positive steps in their lives. Catholic Charities USA is calling for a service delivery system that focuses on engaging with people and understanding their needs, a system where case management and an individualized plan to move people toward sustainable independence are central.

Flexibility in Using Safety Net Resources
Even with a people-focused case management model, case managers at Catholic Charities and other nonprofits often encounter problems in helping people achieve sustainable independence because our service delivery system and programs are not designed to address the issues that can result in poverty. They do not allow much flexibility or a targeted strategy in helping people meet specific needs, so case managers often have to patch programs and resources together to help families make progress, even though it results in a less than ideal solution. For example, a family is struggling because the breadwinners do not have reliable transportation. They live in a rural area, where there is no public transportation, and if they had a car, they would be able to perform better in their jobs, perhaps get more hours or even be promoted. What they need is some assistance in getting a second hand car. Instead, they are enrolled in SNAP (food stamps) because there is no program to help them buy a car or there are no remaining funds in a general transportation assistance program. The hope is that with monthly food assistance the family will be able to save money



over time to buy a car. While this strategy might work, it prolongs the family’s need and delays their ability to access opportunities and begin building financial assets. And it is likely, that over a year’s time, the amount of federal dollars that will have been spent on food stamps for this family will be equal to or higher than the amount that would have been used to help the family purchase a used car. Catholic Charities USA is calling for a service delivery system that allows more flexibility in using program dollars so that case managers and consumers can develop plans that target specific needs, thereby helping individuals and families move more quickly to sustainable independence.

and a case manager or client advocate to engage the consumer as they successfully move through this locally designed system. A service delivery system that has at its center a people-focused case management model, that provides flexibility in using federal funds to reduce poverty, and allows locally designed systems to better serve consumers and address unique community needs is not just good for consumers and communities, but also for governments that fund the services. A system that understands the value and need to pair available resources with case management will begin to reduce the incidence of poverty in this country. A system that has the flexibility to target specific needs will result in people moving to sustainable independence more quickly and accessing opportunities that will enable them to contribute more to their communities and nation. And locally designed service delivery systems with a single point of entry and a single set of eligibility requirements will reduce government bureaucracy and allow government funding to be used more effectively. In the National Opportunity and Community Renewal Act, Catholic Charities USA supports authorization for a pilot project that would test this proposed service delivery model in ten communities nationwide. In the next few months, as Congress takes on the difficult task of making significant budget decisions, lawmakers will be looking for ways to lessen the impact of cuts to safety net programs over the long term. We believe that a new approach that maximizes efficiency and is focused on reducing poverty will be not only an appealing solution but one that is required for the future. n Candy Hill is senior vice president of social policy and government affairs for Catholic Charities USA.

An Efficient and Streamlined System
The current service delivery system can be difficult to navigate, both for the case manager and the person needing assistance. Programs are administered by different federal, state, and local government agencies, have different eligibility requirements, and may have different application procedures. This often requires people to go to several different agencies to get assistance and to go through several application processes. This not only makes things more difficult for consumers, but creates many layers of government bureaucracy. Further, the “one size fits all” structure of our current system can be inflexible in meeting unique community needs. CCUSA is calling for service delivery system that allows communities to design their own local service delivery systems to meet the unique needs of their respective communities and through which individuals can more easily access services and opportunities—where there is a single point of entry into the service delivery system, a single set of eligibility requirements,

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The Goal of Case Management
By Denis Demers, PhD, LMSW


hroughout my career at Catholic Charities in Rockville Centre, NY, I worked to help clients struggling with mental health issues receive the services they needed to handle the challenges they lived with. Case management was central to our work, and it proved time and time again to be the best strategy for getting better health outcomes for clients as well as containing costs for insurers and the government. Case management, which as a service modality has been largely associated with the medical and behavioral health fields, is also being used successfully by Catholic Charities agencies, St. Vincent de Paul chapters, parish outreach programs, and other nonprofits to help people overcome the challenges of poverty. While the clients’ challenges are somewhat different, the goal is the same—achieving better outcomes for people.

sions of social work, public health nursing, and vocational rehabilitation has a clear and credible history in the implementation of case management practices and standards. Social workers refer to the role of the settlement houses as a precursor to case management, prevalent in the latter part of the nineteenth century. For example, Chicago’s Hull House, founded by Jane Addams, the mother of modern social work, applied the principle of person-centered service by first assessing the needs of its residents, devising remedies, and pursuing the resources necessary to meeting those needs. Later, as service delivery systems developed and became increasingly complex, case management emerged as a defined service modality. Prior to that, the individual and/or family member served as advocate in identifying need and accessing services. Ironically, as services expanded to meet various needs, the role of professional case managers arose to contend with an increasingly overwhelming tangle of programs and services necessary to addressing the circumstances of service recipients. The various eligibility thresholds, requirements for participa-

The Evolution of Case Management
The roots of case management in America can be found in several social, health, and behavioral health movements of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Each of these profes-

Photo: © Steve Liss,
10 | CHARITIES USA • • • •

tion, myriad of forms, access points, payer criteria, and coordination of multiple services and resources made for a dizzying complexity well beyond the knowledge and skills of the average consumer and family member. Even as case management has developed as a person-centered care model, it has also developed in the medical and behavioral health fields and in some social services as a cost containment strategy for health insurers and government. Today, while a tension between person-centered care and cost containment exists, the two are not antithetical, and effective case management can contain costs by providing exactly what the patient or client needs in a timely and efficient manner.

create a mutually agreed on plan. By coordinating the delivery of community-based services and access to timely and adequate resources such as food, transportation, housing, and employment, case managers assist service recipients in successfully navigating the complexities of services and resources essential to a positive outcome. With tailored, directed, and coordinated services, case management as it is practiced in the medical and behavioral health fields significantly reduces the cost of recovery. As a strategy for poverty reduction, case management can be equally effective in reducing service costs by avoiding or minimizing the need for more expensive interventions resulting from unattended needs and eliminating duplication of services that sometimes occurs. Harkening back to the Hull House strategies, individuals are helped to assess their needs, talents, and skills; given a leg-up in getting started on their plan; and provided the encouragement, support and, advocacy necessary to succeed, as well as, most importantly, the dignity and hope essential to rising up from poverty. Case management, as a service modality, has proven its value to service recipients across the human service spectrum. By embracing case management as a central strategy in reducing poverty, Catholic Charities will continue to grow its capacity to significantly improve outcomes for people struggling to overcome from poverty. n Denis Demers retired from Catholic Charities in Rockville Centre, NY, last year, after 21 years of service.

Case Management Defined
Whether working with people suffering from mental health issues or people suffering from poverty, case managers strive to help people access services through the coordinated execution of a tailored plan. The case manager enters into a collaborative decision-making relationship with the client to identify the client’s strengths and talents and to build off them in determining what, when, and how much support or services are to be provided. Throughout this process, case managers apply the following core service elements: a) engagement, b) assessment, c) planning, d) implementation/coordination/monitoring of services, e) advocacy/client support, f ) reassessment/evaluation, and g) disengagement/discharge planning. Implementation of these core elements significantly increases the chances for positive outcomes. Appropriate, timely, and proportionate services and support are at the crux of outcome-focused, person-centered case management. They are also the hallmark of effective case management. The case manager advocates on behalf of the service recipient and helps navigate a complex service delivery system, resulting in an informed and engaged service recipient who experiences better outcomes.

The Effectiveness of Case Management
In my professional career, I have seen the dramatic impact case management has on recipients as they become aware of their own abilities and gain confidence and hope for their recovery. The critical factor was a trusting relationship between service recipients and their case managers working together to

Whether working with people suffering from mental health issues or people suffering from poverty, case managers strive to help people access services through the coordinated execution of a tailored plan.

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One Woman’s Journey to Self-Sufficiency


bout eight years ago, Stephanie Baldwin was homeless. Having fled an abusive relationship, she and her 9-month-old son were sleeping on the living room floor of a relative’s home. She desperately needed help in finding a home but also in charting a course to stability. When she was accepted into a transitional housing program run by Catholic Charities in Trenton, NJ, she resolved to take full advantage of it. “I needed to do well, to do whatever I could, so that when I left the program I would be able to provide for myself and my son.

told them of her desire to go back to school. She knew she needed more than a high school diploma to support herself and her son. Annette conducted a career assessment to help Stephanie decide on a course of study and then helped her apply for student aid and enroll at the local community college. With a second-hand computer Annette found for her, Stephanie started classes. She also began attending the program’s support groups and budget workshops and found a part-time job. She consulted regularly with Annette, who monitored her progress, helped her resolve past issues, and gave her valuable advice and information. Near the end of her time in the program, Annette and Sally helped Stephanie find a job, with Catholic Charities as it turned out. They also helped her get settled in an apartment, providing the security deposit and some financial assistance for her first few months. All the information, assistance, advice, encouragement, and support that Annette and Sally provided Stephanie strengthened her ability to provide for herself. Years later, Stephanie, who still works for Catholic Charities in Trenton, can testify to the important role played by case managers in helping people overcome poverty. “They took me from where I was and started me on the path to where I wanted to be.”n
Photo: Laura Sikes

Transitional housing programs typically provide low-cost housing to individuals and families for a period of 12 to 24 months. During that time, case managers work with residents to strengthen their ability to support themselves, providing support and linking them to counseling, financial education, life skills training, educational opportunities, job development, and other services. Stephanie began working with intake worker Sally Landers and case manager Annette Thomas Allen to develop a plan. They listened to her story, assessed her needs, and helped her apply for assistance that would help in the short term. They also worked with her in setting some goals. Right off, Stephanie




A Perspective from a Receiver and Giver of Case Management
By Petrina Balser


here’s probably nothing that better prepared me to be an effective case manager than going through the process of case management myself. I’ve effectively lived in poverty a few times throughout my life, and understand what our clients experience and how difficult it can be to put trust in a stranger to assist you. These experiences have shaped my work as a case manager, where I have witnessed the power of a mentoring relationship in helping people make positive steps in their lives.

life. I had briefly experienced it growing up, when the economy was bad and my parents out of work, but we never called it that. In March of 2006, living in an infamous FEMA trailer, and after being out of work for seven months, I was blessed to become employed with Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New Orleans. As a fledgling case manager, I had a lot to learn about what I should do, but I already knew what not to do. When clients walk in our doors, they feel a multitude of things: embarrassment, fear, anger, defensiveness, humiliation, shame, distrust, all things I had felt myself. I vowed no one would feel that way for long if I could do anything about it. Immediately, I would take in all aspects of the person in front of me, like speech, body language, demeanor, etc. I would really listen, not just hear, what they were saying and make mental notes for use later. Combing my own mental files and experiences, I searched for what commonality I had with this person, no matter how seemingly insignificant, and used that to build the

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit. The area I lived in suffered a 100 percent loss of homes and businesses. I suddenly found myself homeless and unemployed, with few clothes and no car, possessions, or money. That’s when I had my first encounter with case management. The big name agencies and non-profits that were supposed to help me instead made me feel dehumanized and judged. The “assistance” process was full of ultimatums and orders. Case managers were very impersonal and uncaring, and not able to fully understand the devastating scope of what had happened to me. Poverty had again touched my

Photo: © Steve Liss,
• • • • FALL 2011 | 13

Photo: © Steve Liss,

rapport necessary for the relationship to be mutually beneficial and successful. I prefer the term “mentor” to “case manager” because it deinstitutionalizes the case management process and changes our assumptions about it. As a mentor, you have to be several things: personable, ethical, sensitive, empathetic, open-minded, nonjudgmental, and most of all REAL. You also have to be candid and firm, yet professional and personable. It is not always easy to be all of these things at once, but as mentors, we must try our best. I am no longer a case manager/mentor per se (though I still do it when the need arises), but I supervise case management staff, and I use my experiences to help them in their quest to deliver services and make a difference. Poverty is one of the most pressing problems in our country, and generational poverty is one of the most difficult areas to address. From urban areas to rural, we need to adapt ourselves, communicate effectively, and make those one-on-one connections to facilitate success, especially when clients come to us at different levels of readiness for the process. We live in a society of instant gratification and feelings of entitlement, so to the person I am working with, who am I to tell them, “Cancel your cable, budget your funds, and create a savings plan”? Nobody, because I will not tell anybody what to do. What I will say is this, “We will work together to go over practical ways to help you address barriers and budget killers and build wealth. Yes, it
14 | CHARITIES USA • • • •

will take time, but time passes no matter what, so you will see the outcome.” A particular favorite client of mine came in angry, depressed, and out of work. She wanted to know what I was going to “give” her. I said “nothing,” but told her that together we would formulate a plan of goals and tasks to address her barriers and needs. She did not react well, and I thought that was the last time I would ever see her. I tried to follow up, but she was not really interested. Then, about a month later, she called me to say she was ready to come see me again. She had gotten a job, made new friends, and was in a better state financially, emotionally, and physically—all, she said, because I told her to “get off your butt and get a job.” Now, I did not really say that to her, of course, but in her mind that is what she told herself and it was this motivation that she used to seek a new path. I was thrilled for her and in the end I got many hugs and thanks for being real with her, sharing my own experiences, and not letting her negative attitude affect the way we interacted. This is what it’s all about at the end of the day. This is what being a mentor is, and I am genuinely happy for my clients when they succeed. Every step upwards, no matter how small, is a success to be celebrated. n Petrina Balser is coordinator of parish and community ministry for Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of New Orleans.


Reducing Poverty through a Holistic, Flexible, Individualized Approach


ith case management taking a central role in the broad poverty reduction strategy that Catholic Charities USA is advancing through the National Opportunity and Community Renewal Act, we asked three colleagues from our network to discuss with us the practice of case management and why it is an effective strategy for reducing poverty. We spoke with Mary Fitzpatrick, emergency services director for Catholic Charities, La Crosse, WI; Robin Neal, division manager of pregnancy support and adoption program, Catholic Charities, Portland, OR; and Keith Kozerski, director of St. Joseph’s Home for Children, Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

have to find out what’s really going on and what the barriers are to them becoming more self sufficient. You have to find out what’s preventing them from accessing the resources they qualify for and, once they have those tools in their tool box, from managing future crises on their own. You learn that by letting families tell their story. When they do, they find comfort, knowing that they don’t have to deal with these troubles on their own, that there is help out there, and that you’re going to walk them through the steps to get that help. The case manager is the anchor to make the connections with the other agencies and to collaborate with them on the services families need. KK: Case management works as an effective strategy for poverty reduction because it really is about connecting a client with resources in their community and helping clients identify services or benefits that they may be eligible for that they weren’t aware of before. It’s a natural avenue for Catholic Charities to take because the goals of case management pretty much go hand-in-hand with poverty reduction.

Charities USA: Why is case management an effective tool in poverty reduction? MF: With case management, you take the time to find out why a person or family is coming to ask for help. If a family is making recurring requests for assistance year after year, you

Photo: © Steve Liss,
• • • • FALL 2011 | 15

RN: Case management requires a holistic approach. You’re dealing with the whole person and all the circumstances of their lives, from people who were raised in generational poverty to individuals who are experiencing situational poverty. In case management, we take a holistic approach to addressing that individual or family’s needs. I know that CCUSA’s poverty reduction effort emphasizes a holistic approach also, so it feels like a parallel process. I would also add that case management is a collaborative process. Case managers help with assessing, planning, implementing, coordinating, and monitoring all the pieces but in a very collaborative effort with the other individuals, the other partners, family members, and community members. Charities USA: Case management focuses on people’s strengths and personal assets, not on their deficiencies. Why is this significant? MF: A strengths-based approach helps clients see what’s right about themselves, what personal qualities, skills, and talents they have that can be used to move them forward. They’re feeling pretty low when they come in, and a strength-based approach reminds them that even though there may be a crisis going on now or maybe they’ve made some wrong decisions they have a lot of skills and strengths to resolve this crisis and move themselves toward self-sufficiency. It gives them hope and a sense of self-worth. RN: Strengths-based services involve conducting a comprehensive assessment of the client and his/her resources and then

building on the innate, organic strengths and assets already evident or present in the client’s life. Clients have tremendous strengths. They just don’t always see it! For example, a recent client we worked with was literally working 20 to 22 hours a day to provide for herself and three children. She is now pregnant again and experiencing severe nausea making her unable to work. In the process of interviewing and interacting with her, it became clear that while she can’t currently work, she was being incredibly proactive in accessing and obtaining resources for herself and her children. We helped her identify her strengths: resourcefulness, tenacity, perseverance, resilience, hard work, and commitment to her children. This approach is important because identifying, harnessing, and building on strengths helps clients gain hope and see the areas of their lives that are working well. Furthermore, clients are then often able to use their strengths, assets, and resources to assist with identifying new resources and overcoming challenges. Charities USA: Good case managers across the human services spectrum generally work to create individualized service plans for their clients. What’s the value of having an individualized plan? RN: An individualized plan emphasizes the idea that clients are the experts about their lives and they know what they need. Our job is to listen to them, hear what they’re saying, and help them get what they need. They identify the goals. We help them achieve them. KK: The first thing we do is a functional assessment with the client to figure out what’s been going on and where they’re at



Photos: Steve Liss,

and what their goals are. And then we help to build that plan and put it down on paper. They give input into what the goals for their family should be and what strategies we’ll use together to meet those goals. They help determine if a strategy is workable or if it will be valuable to them and their family. When you don’t make up that plan, there’s a lot that can be unspoken. People assume there’s an agreement because of a stated need, but until you put it down on paper and really flesh it out for people, there’s a big chance for misinterpretation or for good intentions to go bad. An individualized plan really empowers the client to be able to direct their care. MF: When we make a service plan, we start with the problem that the person needs help with, but we also cover different areas in which they might be needing help. We put down on paper all these different areas in which we can help them. Then we set some short-term goals and long-term goals. Maybe we’ve got a single mother who is 20 and never graduated from high school and thinks she is just going to have to work wherever she can now. So we ask if she knows about a GED and if she’s thought about getting one or if she knows about programs that help people go to college or a vocational school. Maybe these are not things she’ll act on right away, but we’ve planted the idea and given her the connections and resources to get started. Charities USA: In our current service delivery system, not everyone can get case management services. Typically, case management is located in a particular program, and people have to be eligible for that program to get case management. What’s the impact of that on clients?

RN: It’s hard on them, especially when they’re in a crisis. That’s just the reality of limited dollars. To quality for our pregnancy support program, the client has to either be pregnant or parenting a child up to the age of six months. If a client comes in and her baby was born four months ago, she’s able to receive two months of services. This program is funded exclusively through private donations, and those are limited, so we just have to have those constraints. There is an endless number of women who are pregnant and/or parenting and experiencing financial and emotional stress, but we can’t help them all. We get calls from women wanting to access our services, but they’ve got a one-year-old, and so we have to refer them out or give them information about other resources that they could tap into. They cannot access case management services that we provide. Charities USA: What other challenges and issues do providers face in providing case management? RN: Staff training and development is one. Not all case managers are excellent case managers, so I need to make sure that I’m hiring well for those positions that require that excellent case management skill set. And then there is the challenge of case load limits—should we serve fewer clients longer and more intensely or more clients less intensely? That’s a dilemma, and we have that conversation over and over again. Should we reduce our case load limits so that we can stay involved with clients longer and in a more intense manner or do we serve everybody that comes in and do whatever we can, even if it’s just an inch deep in terms of the impact on their lives?

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MF: That dilemma also applies in how we use our resources. Do we help fewer people with more funding to help resolve their situation or, because we have so many people coming to us, do we help more people with less funding? It’s hard. It’s just really, really hard. Some of our federal funding filters down to a county board, which can set the amount of assistance that we can help each family in that county with, and that makes it difficult when you know that maybe a bit more funding would really make a difference. So we have to work within those constraints. Some of our funding is unrestricted and with that we’re able to make a judgment on how much we can help a family with. If a little more would help more, then we’re able to do that, but it’s frustrating when we’re not able to do that with some funding streams. RN: Clients come in with so many needs. They’re incredibly vulnerable and facing so many risk factors. Women come in with a pregnancy or a brand new baby, but often they’re experiencing a housing crisis. On top of that, they’ve often had abuse histories, trauma histories, maybe domestic violence, drug and alcohol addiction or substance abuse issues, mental health

issues, and employment instability. The needs are so great. And we have limited dollars and limited staff hours, and so we triage. We try to attend to the immediate needs, but often it feels woefully inadequate. We try to partner or utilize the other resources in the community and we certainly do whatever we can to help clients tap into the other resources that exist, but in terms of being able to truly help those clients with all of their needs, it feels inadequate. Charities USA: CCUSA is advocating for a service delivery system in which case management is the entry point for everyone that comes seeking assistance and where there would be greater flexibility in using program funds to meet people’s needs. If we had that kind of a system, how would that change the way you serve? MF: What we do now is a lot of collaborating with other agencies to put together a pool of funding that will meet a person’s need. If case management was funded adequately and there were a pool of funding resources to draw from, we could fully meet the need ourselves. People wouldn’t have to run around to different agencies and fill out more paperwork to get into their system and to meet one need.



Photo: Laura Sikes

RN: It would allow us to help clients by assisting with very real and practical needs and helping them to improve the circumstances of their lives. The idea that clients could come in and that case managers could do the work of case management– the work of truly listening to the client, assessing the needs, assisting with planning, and making a comprehensive plan with them and then having the flexibility to implement it is very appealing. For example, if a client needed an income subsidy for 6–12 months, we could help with that, or if a client needed a child care subsidy for a period of time, we could assist with that. We could have the flexibility to meet real needs. That’s how I understand the new service delivery model, and it’s very appealing. KK: I think what we’re seeing is that the interventions we’ve put in place so far haven’t gone to the root issues of generational poverty. So until we go at it completely anew, it’s going to be hard to make meaningful impacts on the systems we have in place. n

What we’re seeing is that the interventions we’ve put in place so far haven’t gone to the root issues of generational poverty. So until we go at it completely anew, it’s going to be hard to make meaningful impacts on the systems we have in place.

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Visit to learn more about our network’s 9/11 response efforts and 10th anniversary events.



emembering the events of September 11, 2001, carries an enormous weight of emotion. We reflect with soberness on the evil that was perpetrated that day, with grief for the people who lost their lives, with heart-felt sympathy for the families and loved ones that were left behind, and with compassion for the many people whose lives were impacted in other ways. As a Catholic Charities network, we can also reflect with peace and confidence on the efforts we made to alleviate suffering and to help people recover from this disastrous event. On the day of the terrorist attacks and in the days, months, and years that followed, Catholic Charities agencies responded to people in need, whether it was helping people find their missing loved ones in the hours after the attacks, providing food to responders and Ground Zero workers, assisting families with funeral and burial costs, counseling grief-stricken parents, spouses, and children, providing financial assistance and food boxes to people suddenly without a job, coordinating services for families with long-term needs, providing referrals for legal aid, sponsoring support groups and children’s therapy activities, offering mental health services, organizing job fairs and job development services, setting up scholarship funds for children who lost a parent, mobilizing parish ministries, organizing outreach events to immigrant communities, or many other thoughtful, compassionate, and vital services.


In addition to these local agency efforts, Catholic Charities USA coordinated response efforts with other national organizations and government agencies, provided technical assistance to agencies in impacted areas, and managed national communications about our response efforts. Catholic Charities USA also processed more than $31 million in donations and distributed the funds to impacted agencies to provide long-term recovery services. Our capacity as a network to respond to disasters grew through our September 11 efforts. We already had tremendous resources with which to respond, but still we learned valuable lessons in providing disaster services and working together as a network. In commemoration of September 11, we recognize the selfless work of the staff and volunteers of impacted Catholic Charities agencies, who truly gave their all to ease the suffering of others. We recognize the generosity of many thousands of people who donated money to help us respond. And we recognize, with gratitude, the opportunity we had to be the hands and heart of Christ to so many people in need. n

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Poverty Summit to Bring Together Ten National Organizations Fighting Poverty

What’s the next step?” That has been the question for Catholic Charities USA since its centennial year came to a close. During the centennial year, CCUSA and the Catholic Charities network engaged their communities in a nationwide series of leadership summits on poverty reduction, discovering and elevating effective strategies in a process that culminated in bold and innovative poverty reduction legislation. Rev. Larry Snyder led CCUSA in finding an answer to the question—to start a national conversation on poverty reduction by engaging national partners also dedicated to reducing poverty. In February of this year, Fr. Snyder convened a meeting of the presidents and CEOs of nine partner organizations, major players in the field of poverty reduction, and addressed the single issue that rose up from all regional discussions at the Centennial Leadership Summits—the need for collaboration. Out of that meeting and those that followed came the idea for an annual National Poverty Summit, a platform from which to launch a national conversation about poverty that will lead to action. The first National Poverty Summit will take place in September, hosted by CCUSA in conjunction with the Annual Gathering in

Fort Worth, TX. It will bring together CCUSA and nine other national organizations in an effort to inspire active participation in a national movement to reduce poverty; re-imagine the way America addresses poverty; and to identify, design, and implement innovative and measureable tactics towards the common goal of reducing poverty in America. “We hope to see people come out of this summit committed to having a national conversation about poverty. We have a responsibility to see that it happens and that it continues. And we need to come out with a strategy for that,” said Candy Hill, CCUSA’s senior vice-president for social policy and government affairs. The summit will feature several speakers, interactive workshops, and an “idea marketplace,” where attendees will discuss and build consensus around ten innovative ideas on poverty reduction presented by CCUSA and the other summit partner. With the input from this session, CCUSA and the summit partners will further develop the coalition’s poverty reduction strategy.

National Poverty Summit Partners
American Human Development Project Bread for the World Catholic Campaign for Human Development CFED Coalition on Human Needs Feeding America National Alliance to End Homelessness Save the Children Society of St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Charities USA



Andrea Levere, CFED
A few years ago, in a cab to the airport after a Leadership 18 meeting, Andrea Levere, president of the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED), a national organization committed to helping low-income families build assets, laid out CFED’s position to Fr. Snyder. “If you don’t pair a poverty reduction strategy with asset building, you will not be able to move people out of poverty.” That conversation prompted a new emphasis in CCUSA’s poverty reduction effort and marked the beginning of a valued relationship between CCUSA and CFED that now continues with CFED’s partnership in the National Poverty Summit. “When it comes to mission and a vision about what kind of society we want to create, we are very strongly aligned with CCUSA,” says Levere. “We see the opportunity to bring our intellectual capital and experience and our focus on policy to this coalition.” Levere appreciates that CCUSA “recognizes the power of linking asset building with essential safety net programs” to build meaningful pathways to household financial security through education, business development, and sustainable homeownership. She also appreciates that the Catholic Charities network of affiliates is “essential to scaling proven strategies to build assets.” As for the summit, says Levere, “It is also critical in its role of raising up the issue of poverty, and the ability to implement strategies that can work to address it, if we work together across all the sectors. This is our opportunity to stimulate a new national conversation that will start building wealth from the bottom up.”

Mark Shriver, Save the Children
After long witnessing the lack of preparedness or planning for the needs of children in disasters, Save the Children led a coalition that successfully advocated for the creation of the National Commission on Children in Disaster. Catholic Charities USA was an active partner in that coalition and has played a role in the commission’s work since then. The relationship between the two organizations is now continuing with Save the Children’s partnership in the National Poverty Summit. “We were honored by the invitation,” says Save the Children’s Mark Shriver, senior vice president of U.S. programs. His organization is also working to reduce poverty, focusing domestically on literacy and healthy eating programs and disaster preparedness for children. “The poverty rate for children is at an all time high—1 in 5 nationally, and 1 in 4 in rural areas,” says Shriver. “We are working to shine a light on kids in poverty, on their needs, and on the solutions.” The solutions, Shriver insists, must be effective and cost-efficient. Save the Children’s literacy and healthy eating programs have proven to be so, partnering with schools and providing financial resources and training so school staff can administer these supplemental programs to low-income children and their families. Finding what works is one of the benefits of working with other organizations. “We’re not into reinventing the wheel here,” says Shriver. “If we can learn from others, we will. n

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Annual Gathering Hosts Have Set Out to End Poverty



We have to be bold. Our aim and our focus must be on ending poverty.

“It would be easy to come before you today and say something trite, like let’s work harder or I think we can do better,” says Heather Reynolds, CEO and president of Catholic Charities Fort Worth (CCFW), as she addresses a room of over 250 employees. “That would be easy, but I am not about easy, and doing the easy thing is certainly not what God called this agency to do.” It’s been a deliberate and steadfast road for Catholic Charities Fort Worth, growing and evolving into every inch of its 100-hundred year history, and the numbers prove it. In 2010, CCFW served 110,199 people, up from 55,112 just six years ago when Reynolds became CEO at only 25 years old. Just this year, the agency experienced its largest staff and budget size in history, sustaining over 40 programs that serve as a lifeline to residents in the surrounding 28 counties. Now one of the top social service providers in Fort Worth, the agency has set it sights on an even bigger goal: ending poverty in its community. “We have to be bold. Our aim and our focus must be on ending poverty,” says Reynolds. “We will fail; it’s true. But, we will make the greatest impact if this is our goal.” With consistent messaging to be bold and innovative, become outrageous, and get it done, the staff at CCFW has not only

thought about it, they’ve done it. In 2006, the agency began a capital campaign to build a new facility and meet a desperately growing need. In 2010, the agency opened the doors to the new building, a complex that allows CCFW to more than double its capacity and provides easier access to the community. The new facility is one more step towards thinking big, literally. Central to the agency’s success is innovation. CCFW believes it’s not enough for social service providers to do what everyone else is doing if they truly believe in ending poverty. “We have to think outside of the box, we have to find new ways to profit, for ourselves and for our clients,” says Reid Strobel, director of Business Ventures. And no one’s ideas are too far-fetched. The staff at CCFW is encouraged to think big and then submit their ideas to go through a feasibility vetting process. What’s come out of this open-door idea policy is a window to the agency’s future: innovative ventures that pay their own way. WORN, the latest socially conscious concept-turned-reality, is a fashion scarf label hand-knit by local refugee women. Formerly a part of the refugee services staff, Abbi Ice saw a radical way out of poverty for the women she served when she saw the intricate handiwork in their homes. Last fall, Ice presented the idea of developing a scarf label that could then be sold

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at local boutiques and online for profit, both providing a supplemental source of income to the knitters as well as profit for the agency. CCFW partnered with the University of Texas at Arlington School of Social Work to help fund and evaluate the impact this project would have on the lives of the women. The agency formulated a business plan, formed a fashion advisory board comprised of professionals nationwide, and invested time and resources into making it happen. Now, 22 women are ecstatic to be a part of a project that is changing lives and ultimately driving more money back into their own community. Another such program is the Translation and Interpretation Network (TIN). CCFW worked with the Texas Department of Health and Human Services to improve client communications in healthcare, immigration, social services, education, and legal support. Capitalizing on the refugee population’s knowledge of a breadth of languages, CCFW staff saw a way



Central to the agency’s success is innovation. CCFW believes it’s not enough for social service providers to do what everyone else is doing if they truly believe in ending poverty.
to connect their skills with a steady income that could provide a needed service to the community. TIN now has over 200 interpreters who speak 70 languages. With an eye on continued expansion, CCFW continues to think forward. Projects like these are amazing on their own, but the collaboration doesn’t stop there. The agency’s fervor for creating dynamic partnerships remains true even inside company lines. Take financial stability services, for example. What was once basic financial assistance has expanded to a whole breadth of services meant to champion the end of poverty, person by person. These services were set in motion to help families increase household financial stability by empowering clients to manage their own money effectively and build assets. Right now, financial stability services are working closely with WORN to help teach these women about managing money, meeting basic needs, and creating goals. The education component for clients, such as those from WORN, is derived from the desire to create permanent solutions to poverty. The agency knows that financial coaching has a proven track record of instilling long-term behavioral changes in clients, not to mention all the other agency resources they are able to benefit from during sessions. The program focuses on making families aware of income supports, like children’s health insurance available statewide, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA), ways to improve credit practices, and setting up savings accounts. “I want us to end poverty,” Reynolds reiterates. “I’ll say it again; I want us to end poverty.” The spirit of the agency echoes this outspoken request. There’s a team hard at work now investigating the purchase of an apartment complex to house clients, a team finalizing a plan to implement a full service dental clinic by the beginning of 2012, a team putting together poverty seminars to educate staff and the public, and a team working to get young people engaged in the agency’s mission. “Everything we do is outside of the scope of our job; that’s what makes it real, rewarding work,” says Jari Mema, vice president of programs. It’s this kind of drive, this kind of momentum that keeps the agency, the clients, and the donors on their toes. It’s this kind of thinking that will end poverty. Catholic Charities Fort Worth cannot wait to give you a Texassized welcome this September. We invite you to visit our building, watch our innovation in action, and share your ideas in strengthening the work we all do to serve the most vulnerable among us. Howdy, Y’all! n The scarves will be for sale at this year’s CCUSA Annual Gathering and Poverty Summit. To read the stories about the women and learn more about the WORN movement, visit

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Corinne Ball is an attorney and a senior partner for international law firm Jones Day, where she directs the firm’s global corporate restructuring practice. She led a team of attorneys representing Chrysler LLC in its Chapter 11 reorganization. That successful plan won the Deal of the Year Award 2009 from the Investment Dealers’ Digest. Ms. Ball also serves on the Board of Trustees of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York and is a major supporter of its work to help the needy, Catholic and non-Catholic alike. Ms. Ball’s experience in helping distressed corporations informed and strengthened her response to individuals and families in need. She witnessed first-hand the effects of job dislocations and cut backs that continue to be the result of the 2008 economic downturn and the current financial maelstrom. There were families who never had to ask for help before coming to food pantries so that their children would not go hungry, the newly unemployed who needed financial support and practical guidance to look for work, and people who for the first time could not pay their rent and were threatened with eviction and homelessness. In 2010, Corinne Ball organized Catholic Renewal, a group of about 400 professionals—from lawyers and investment bankers to accountants—in

the corporate restructuring industry who are committed to providing charitable assistance to individuals and groups in need and to sustain their efforts through inspiration and spiritual growth. Catholic Renewal has already raised $100,000 to support the work of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York. That work includes providing 6.1 million healthy meals a year to hungry families and individuals and sheltering more than 8,000 homeless people. Recently, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, executive director of the agency, celebrated the Red Mass, traditionally offered for lawyers, with members of Catholic Renewal in attendance. Ms. Ball continues to work with Catholic Charities to expand the efforts of Catholic Renewal as its membership grows. She’s was quoted recently in The Wall Street Journal as saying, “Doing the right thing does come naturally to most.” It certainly comes naturally to her. Thank you, Ms. Ball, for your generous support of Catholic Charities and for your compassion for the people Catholic Charities serves. The support of volunteers and donors makes it possible for Catholic Charities USA and Catholic Charities agencies nationwide to serve people in need. n



THE 2011



ongratulations to three outstanding family strengthening programs that have been selected as Catholic Charities USA’s 2011 Family Strengthening Award Winners: the Philadelphia Family Service Centers, Catholic Social Services, Archdiocese of Philadelphia; Paths of HOPE, Catholic Charities Community Services, Phoenix, AZ; and Refugee Assistance & Immigration Services, Catholic Social Services, Anchorage, AK. Congratulations also to seven other programs that have been named as finalists.

The Family Strengthening annual awards program, which has been made possible by the generous support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, aims to recognize exceptional programs that take a holistic approach to strengthening families by providing services that support healthy family relationships, work to improve a family’s overall financial situation, and enhance the community where the families live. The three winning programs will each receive a $25,000 award and will be formally honored at Catholic Charities USA’s Annual Gathering and Poverty Summit, September 18-21, in Fort Worth, TX.

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Philadelphia Family Service Centers
Catholic Social Services, Philadelphia Three family services centers in Philadelphia—the Northeast Family Service Center, the Southwest Family Service Center, and Casa del Carmen in North Philadelphia—have taken family strengthening to heart. Operated by Catholic Social Services, Archdiocese of Philadelphia, these centers are hubs of activity in their communities, bringing people of all ages and many ethnicities and nationalities together in safe, supportive environments where they can access a wide array of services and programs designed to strengthen families, especially those who face numerous barriers to prosperity. Each center has taken great strides to integrate the family strengthening philosophy into all aspects of service delivery so that families can seamlessly access services in a coordinated and comprehensive way, advocate for themselves, and assume leadership roles in their homes and communities. The centers utilize a comprehensive intake and assessment tool with families that seek financial assistance, which enables staff to refer families to a more in-depth process where they can work with staff to develop a plan to achieve financial stability. With so many services available, either offered by the centers or by outside providers who provide services on site, families can access the services they need to succeed, such as housing stabilization and homelessness prevention, credit counseling and debt management assistance, housing counseling, financial literacy classes, workshops on tenant rights and responsibilities, job development and training, prenatal care and education, parenting classes, and many others. The centers also offer pre-school programs, out-of-school-time programs for school age youth, youth development and youth job training programs, social activities for seniors, as well as computer labs where community members can access job opportunities, prepare resumes, and submit online job applications. All around, the centers offer families a wealth of resources to assist them in becoming stronger and achieving sustainable independence.

Paths of HOPE
Catholic Charities Community Services, Phoenix Paths of HOPE helps financially vulnerable yet motivated families access and develop resources needed to achieve long-term prosperity. Resources for prosperity include income, housing, personal and family health, positive social relationships, strong role models, educational advancement, and more. Developed in answer to CCUSA’s call to reduce poverty in America by 50 percent by 2020, Paths of HOPE helps vulnerable families develop their own plans for accessing the resources of prosperity through financial education, personal development, planning, and mentoring. Paths of HOPE helps people who are financially vulnerable, those who experience frequent financial crisis, and those who lack the required physical, emotional, social, and spiritual resources to achieve long-term prosperity. For many of these people, a culture of day to day survival prevails. Access to education, jobs with sustainable wages and benefits, supportive relationships, permanent housing, and the opportunity to build a stable future are not likely when focus and energy are directed at “just getting by” rather than “getting ahead.” Paths of HOPE focuses on matching people in vulnerable situations who have desire, determination, and drive to achieve prosperity with the people and resources they need to chart a course to a stable, secure life. Paths of HOPE begins with a free three-part financial education series where participants set saving goals, learn how to create and maintain a budget, and get tips on managing credit. The next step is participating in “Getting Ahead in a JustGetting-By World,” a 15-week series of personal development, resource building, and planning workshops. Participants graduate from the course with their own dream plan for prosperity. The path continues through Circles of HOPE—volunteer mentor teams that help participants work on their dream plan and achieve long-term prosperity. Along the path, the program provides free tax preparation services through its IRS-certified VITA volunteers. Paths of HOPE services are delivered by the HOPE Corps, trained volunteers from the community.



Refugee Assistance & Immigration Services
Catholic Social Services, Anchorage, AK The Refugee Assistance & Immigration Services (RAIS) program of Catholic Social Services (CSS) is the sole provider of refugee resettlement services in Alaska. The program specifically focuses on comprehensive family support to newly arrived refugees arriving in Alaska. Through the provision of a wide range of services—case management, job readiness and job development, ESL instruction, financial education, assistance with navigating American systems, and so on—RAIS provides a bridge for refugee families from their former life experiences to the new skills required for success in the United States. The program’s ultimate goal is to assist refugees to obtain a lifestyle that has sustainable financial support, and in which the family’s basic needs are fully met on a long-term basis. As of March 31, 2011, 93 percent of adult refugees had obtained employment within 6 months of arrival, 100 percent of employed clients retained their employment for more than 3 months, and 75 percent of refugee families receiving TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) terminated their benefits due to employment. These benchmarks are tracked quarterly and indicate RAIS success in helping families achieve self-sufficiency. Although the program began with the main goals of economic self-sufficiency in mind, RAIS has evolved to incorporate unique enrichment programs that deepen the programs goals to strive for family community integration and fulfillment, not just financial security. The Garden Project, the Refugee Music Group, the Refugee Youth Soccer Team, and the Older Refugee Project are all enrichment programs stemming from refugee requests for fuller life activities, RAIS creativity, and community partnerships. As the program has grown, it has maintained a focus on being strengths-based and client-centered, achieving excellence in services provided, and staying flexible and innovative in its program elements. n


Read about these innovative programs at

Bridges to Circles Poverty Initiative Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida Family Service Center Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis Omaha Family Enrichment Program Catholic Charities, Omaha, NE Our Place Catholic Charities, Manchester, NH Refugee Match Grant Program Catholic Charities, Fort Worth, TX Regina Maternity Services Catholic Charities, Rockville Centre, NY St. Martha’s Hall Catholic Charities, St. Louis, MO

Photos: © Steve Liss,

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An Epidemic of Disaster
Catholic Charities Stretched by Recent Natural Disasters




rost Damage. Ice Storms. Floods. Severe Storms. Tornadoes. Wildfire. More Floods. More Tornadoes.

It’s being called the new “normal”—disaster after disaster, one after another, taxing local, national, and government response agencies, damaging or destroying communities, and most significantly, taking lives and turning survivors’ lives upside down.

The first half of 2011 has seen so many disasters that we’re on pace to set a new record. Last year, FEMA declared 81 major disasters throughout the United States, the highest number ever. In the first seven months of 2011, we’ve already had 59 major disasters. In the same seven months, from January through July, CCUSA distributed 40 short-term disaster assistance grants, just eight grants less than the total number of grants CCUSA distributed in 2010. “It’s been an epidemic of disaster,” said Mandi Janis, director of disaster response for CCUSA. “We’ve had 20 agencies responding to disasters in just the last three-month period” (April, May, and June).

Two places in the country were particularly devastated—central Alabama and Joplin, MO. On April 27, central Alabama was impacted by a historic number of tornadoes—67 in one day, resulting in widespread destruction across the mid-section of the state. Birmingham was slammed with a massive EF-4 tornado, which wiped out whole neighborhoods of the city, while tiny Hackleburg, with a population of only 1500, was almost completely destroyed by a monstrous EF-5 tornado. These tornadoes were just a few of the 178 tornadoes counted between April 25-28 as a powerful storm system swept through the South, killing 321 people. CCUSA and Catholic Charities agencies in Biloxi, MS; Mobile, AL; Baton Rouge, LA; and Orlando, FL; stepped in to assist the Birmingham agency in responding to the disaster. Then on May 22, another class EF-5 tornado—the most powerful tornado there is—with winds exceeding 200 mph tore through Joplin, MO, on May 22, cutting a six-mile wide swath of destruction through this city of 50,000, destroying 7,000 homes, and killing over 150 people. CCUSA, the non-impacted Missouri agencies, and other agencies in Wichita, KS;

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Brooklyn, NY; Biloxi, MS; and Brownsville, TX; rallied to assist Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri, which had only two staff members able to assist, in responding to the crisis. “These disasters have really stretched the capacity of agencies. They have been asked to be everywhere at once and all things to everyone,” said Janis. “At the same time, Catholic Charities agencies have really emerged in their communities as strong players in disaster response.” Janis was pleased to see how strongly the Catholic Charities network came together to assist in responding to the disasters. “We had coordination calls several times a week and often had people on these calls from non-impacted agencies who wanted to learn how they could help.” Currently, CCUSA is in the process of distributing nearly $2 million in donations to the most impacted areas. n

Catholic Charities agencies have emerged in their communities as strong players in disaster response.



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CCUSA Stresses the Need for Innovation in Poverty Reduction in Statement on Debt Ceiling Deal


ollowing the August 2 debt ceiling deal made in Congress, Rev. Larry Snyder made the following statement:

“Catholic Charities USA is pleased that our nation’s policymakers have averted the likely economic disaster that would have resulted from default, however, it is clear that the deal they have reached to raise the nation’s debt ceiling puts tremendous pressure on critical domestic discretionary spending. While a national economic crisis has been avoided, the mandated cuts to domestic programs have the potential to cause an even greater economic crisis for the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.

“In the short-term effort to achieve the cuts agreed to in the debt ceiling debate, we urgently call for our nation’s policymakers to achieve these cuts by creating and maximizing bureaucratic efficiency, rather than by simply sacrificing vital services on the ground, the impact of which would be even greater strain on families who are already struggling in the nascent economic recovery. “However, we cannot continue to look for short-term solutions to long-term challenges. To efficiently, effectively and sustainably meet the needs of the tens of millions of Americans living in need, our nation’s policymakers must join us in an effort to identify 21st century solutions to 21st century poverty. Until that conversation takes place, and government takes the steps necessary to reform its service delivery systems, we will continue to stand firmly against any initiative that threatens the wellbeing of the 47.8 million Americans who are struggling in poverty and the 14.1 million who are unemployed.”

“We remain deeply concerned that with an approach that focuses solely on cutting spending, efforts to balance the nation’s budget will continue to result in dramatic negative impact on the nearly 48 million Americans living in poverty, neglecting the moral imperative to adequately address the needs of those most vulnerable among us.



CCUSA Names New Board Members and Officers
CCUSA recently named new officers and members to its board of trustees, men and woman who are collectively poised to lead the organization into its second century of caring for those in need. “We are deeply blessed by the caliber and commitment of those who guide us and lead us at the national board level,” said Rev. Larry Snyder, president of CCUSA. “These individuals manage overwhelming demands on their time, but each generously devotes their talent and treasure to Catholic Charities. We are incredibly grateful—and very fortunate indeed—to follow our 2010 Centennial year with these leaders.” The CCUSA Board of Trustees named as officers: John Young, chair, Yakima, WA; Kathleen Flynn Fox, vice chair, Naples, FL;

Rev. Monsignor Michael Boland, secretary, Chicago, IL; and Marcos Herrera, treasurer, San Jose, CA. Joining the CCUSA Board for three-year terms are: Marguerite “Peg” Harmon, Tucson, AZ; Bill Jones, Covington, KY; Andrew Linbeck, Houston, TX; Martina O’Sullivan, Santa Cruz, CA; and Rev. Monsignor Kevin Sullivan, New York, NY. Retiring CCUSA Board members are: Brian Corbin, Youngstown, OH; Paul Martodam, St. Paul, MN; Robert Siebel, Brooklyn, NY; and Janet Valente-Pape, Wichita, KS. These changes are scheduled to take effect at the September board meeting to be held during the CCUSA Annual Gathering in Fort Worth, Texas, September 18-21, 2011.

Board Officers
John Young, Chair, is the executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Yakima, Washington. Prior to joining this agency in 1996, he served Catholic Charities organizations in Mobile, AL, and Memphis, TN. Young joined the CCUSA Board in 2004, becoming treasurer in 2006 and vice chair in 2008. Kathleen Flynn Fox, Vice Chair, is a principal with Silver Fox Partners, a marketing and communications company specializing in the U.S. retailing industry. Since 1980, she has been an avid volunteer working directly with children, promoting children’s literacy, and supporting programs that help those with special needs, including a literacy program for Head Start Children in Collier County, FL. Fox joined the CCUSA Board in 2007. Rev. Monsignor Michael M. Boland, secretary, has served as the administrator, president, and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago since 1997. Msgr. Boland also serves the Archdiocese of Chicago in a number of other capacities: he is a member of the cabinet of His Eminence Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, and has served as director of human services for the Archdiocese since 1998. Nationally, Msgr. Boland has served on committees of Catholic Charities USA since 1994, becoming a member of the CCUSA Board in 2005 and Chair of Social Policy in 2007.

Marcos Herrera, Treasurer, is vice president of Structural Integrity Associates in San Jose, CA. In addition, Herrera is a longtime supporter of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, volunteering for its Handicapables Program for nearly 30 years and serving on the local board of directors in many roles. He joined the CCUSA Board in 2005.

memberships for several Houston-based charities and organizations. Martina O’Sullivan currently serves as director for community engagement at Dominican Hospital CHW, Santa Cruz, CA. She previously held the position of executive director for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Monterey. She also served as chair of the Diocesan Director’s Section of Catholic Charities USA and president of the board of directors of Catholic Charities of California. Rev. Monsignor Kevin Sullivan has served Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York since 1983 and currently serves as executive director/ CEO. He began his career as an associate pastor with St. Elizabeth’s Church in Washington Heights, NYC. Msgr. Sullivan frequently guest lectures at universities on the topic of financial management of non-profit organizations and social teachings of the church. CCUSA also recognizes and thanks its retiring board members for their service: Brian Corbin, executive director of Catholic Charities Services and diocesan coordinator for Catholic Health Affairs for the Diocese of Youngstown; Paul Martodam, former CEO of Catholic Charities Community Services in Arizona and CEO of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis; Robert Siebel, executive director/ CEO of Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens; and Janet Valente-Pape, executive director of Catholic Charities, Inc., Diocese of Wichita. n

Board Members
Marguerite “Peg” Harmon serves as the CEO of Catholic Community Services of Southern Arizona. Harmon received the CCUSA Keep the Dream Alive Award in January 2011. This award honors individuals who inspire the nation to keep the dream of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. alive through their work to reduce poverty in America. Bill Jones currently serves as executive director of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Covington, Kentucky. His responsibilities there include serving as executive director of the parish kitchen. He has held various positions within the organization since 1981. In addition to his role as an executive committee member for the CCUSA Council of Diocesan Directors, Jones also has chaired previous CCUSA Annual Gatherings. Andrew Linbeck is a co-founder and managing director of Salient Partners, a leader in providing sophisticated investment solutions for high-net-worth and institutional clients with a global perspective. He serves on the Investment Committee for Catholic Charities USA, while maintaining board

• FALL 2011 | 37


Catholic Charities in Twin Cities Breaks Ground on Shelter and Supportive Housing


n 1996, Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, opened Secure Waiting Space as a temporary overnight shelter for people experiencing homelessness in Minneapolis. Fifteen years later, in May 2011, Catholic Charities broke ground on a building to replace Secure Waiting. A collaborative project between government, other social services providers, and private funders, Catholic Charities Higher Ground will combine shelter and residential supportive housing in one building.

tive way to end homelessness,” said Mary Tingerthal, commissioner of the Minnesota State Housing Finance Agency. Higher Ground will provide 336 shelter and housing beds, including 200 emergency and transitional beds. The first floor of Higher Ground floor will have 120 beds. The second floor will contain 80 Pay-for-Stay beds, where residents pay $8 per night for their bed. Four floors will contain 74 single room occupancy units. The top floor of Higher Ground will have 11 efficiency apartments, each with its own kitchen and bathroom. All residents at Higher Ground will have access to supportive services such as housing and job search assistance, medical care, and case coordination. Additional client resources include job skills training, mental health support services, and onsite direct health support. “We’re helping deliver a human right, housing, to people who have been denied it for a long time,” says John Petroskas, Housing First program manager for Catholic Charities.

The May 24 groundbreaking ceremony hosted guests from around the Twin Cities including representatives from building funders and partners. Speakers included chair of the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners Mike Opat and Catholic Charities Chief Executive Officer Tim Marx. “Everything starts with a home,” Marx said. “Study after study shows how much individuals and communities benefit when people have housing. The return on this investment will be immense.” Higher Ground will serve as “the state’s signature project to demonstrate that supportive housing really could be an effec| CHARITIES USA • • • •

Catholic Charities of Oregon Welcomes New Executive Director
Following an extensive national search, the Catholic Charities of Oregon Board of Directors is pleased to announce the selection of Pietro R. Ferrari as executive director. Ferrari will succeed Dennis Keenan, who will retire this fall after leading Catholic Charities as executive director since 1989. “Catholic Charities is very blessed to have as its new leader a person of Pietro’s vision, proven leadership, and dedication to serving the poor and vulnerable members of our community,” said Keenan. As executive director, Ferrari will oversee Catholic Charities’ $10 million operating budget, which sustains more than 200 staff members, and supports 25 social service programs and nearly 600 units of affordable housing for Oregon’s most vulnerable populations. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity to lead one of Oregon’s most prestigious and respected organizations in service to the poor based on the sound and timeless principles and values of Catholic social teaching. With humility and enthusiasm I accept this calling to build upon the strong legacy that Dennis Keenan leaves behind and honor the mission of Catholic Charities with loyalty and devotion,” said Ferrari. Ferrari most recently served as executive director of Hacienda Community Development Corporation, where he directed the organization’s $60 million investment portfolio and programs in housing, health promotion, education, social enterprise development, workplace skill building, and civic engagement. Prior to his seven years with Hacienda, he successfully held several leadership positions in Oregon not-for-profit housing development and financing organizations and in business and community development work in his native Bolivia. A self-professed lifelong student, Ferrari recently participated in an 18-month fellowship at Harvard University’s Kennedy

School of Government, along with 49 other leaders from across the United States. Ferrari earned his bachelor of arts in international affairs from Lewis & Clark College (1987); master of science in management from Marylhurst University (1991); and master in urban & regional planning from the University of Oregon (1991).

Refugee Program at Catholic Charities of Buffalo Boosted with Grants

Thanks to two grants, Catholic Charities of Buffalo is working toward its vision of enhancing and improving its work on behalf of refugees who come to Buffalo seeking protection, a new start, and a new life. The John R. Oishei Foundation recently awarded Catholic Charities a one-year grant in the amount of $500,000 to support renovation of the recently purchased Nativity Roman Catholic Church in Buffalo. The Oishei Foundation strives to be a catalyst for change to enhance vitality and quality of life for the Buffalo Niagara region. The foundation was established in 1940 by John R. Oishei, founder of Trico Products Corporation. Dennis C. Walczyk, chief executive officer of Catholic Charities, said, “By investing in this project, The John R. Oishei Foundation is seeding the creation of a one-stop shop for new refugees entering our country as well as for refugees already residing on Buffalo’s West Side. Once completed, the Nativity campus will be a beacon of hope to traumatized refugees seeking refuge in Buffalo, a catalyst for enhanced services and shared use among the city’s four resettlement providers, and an architectural jewel for decades to come.”

• FALL 2011 | 39

The individual protection needs for victims and survivors of civil war, religious persecution, or political unrest, and Catholic Charities’ commitment to mission are at the heart of plans for the former church, school, and rectory of the Nativity Parish Campus located at Albany and Herkimer Streets. While the decline in the local population has required the closure of numerous churches across Western New York, Catholic Charities has made it a part of its strategic plan to purchase and reuse as many of these properties as possible for the longterm benefit and service of the communities in which they are located. Catholic Charities of Buffalo also received a $2 million federally funded Targeted Assistance Grant from the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, which will be utilized by the agency to support its Immigration and Refugee Assistance Program with various aspects of refugee employment and job training. The grant will allow Catholic Charities to help its clients prepare for employment, obtain jobs, and retain employment. It also will provide a number of training programs to enhance the employability of clients. “This is a win-win situation,” said Ann H. Brittain, coordinator of Catholic Charities Immigration and Refugee Assistance Program. “The local economy wins because employers get dependable, hardworking employees and the refugee population benefits by being able to support themselves and their families. Many of the individuals who receive services under this grant will buy cars and homes within the next few years. They will pump money into the economy.”

Catholic Community Services and Catholic Housing Services, Archdiocese of Seattle, recently opened four affordable housing projects in Western Washington. Housing hundreds of lowincome and previously homeless families and adults, the new projects reflect the sister agencies’ shared commitment to serving low-income single adults, families, seniors, and people with special needs. Bakhita Gardens, located in downtown Seattle, provides 50 new units of permanent housing, 20 semi-private permanent living spaces, and 20 semi-private time-limited living spaces with the intensive support services for chronically homeless women. Part of the CCS/CHS Rural Farm Worker initiative, Villa los Milagros and Villa San Juan Bautista add 92 units of affordable housing in Centralia, WA, which is still recovering from the 2007 devastating flood that destroyed many homes and businesses. Located in the heart of the Central District in Seattle, Monica’s Village Place I offers 51 units of affordable housing to very low-income families.

Catholic Charities Worcester County’s Annual Report Wins Highest Honor a Third Time
The International Academy of the Visual Arts announced that the 2011 Communicator Award of Excellence was presented to Catholic Charities Worcester County (MA) and its executive director, Catherine Loeffler, for the agency’s 2010 Annual Report, “Hands of Help, Hands of Hope.” The Award of Excellence is the highest honor given in an international advertizing competition honoring the creative excellence of communications professionals. Catholic Charities Worcester County has received this honor for a third year.

Seattle’s Catholic Community Services and Catholic Housing Services Open Four Affordable Housing Projects

Catholic High Schools Collect Socks and Underwear for St. Patrick Center
Students at Cor Jesu Academy and St. Joseph Academy, Catholic high schools in the St. Louis, MO, area, teamed up once again to help St. Patrick Center clients in their 7th annual Funderwear Challenge on April 20, 2011, at the CJA vs. SJA soccer game. What started years ago as a clothing drive, the Funderwear Challenge has grown into a friendly, charitable competition in which each school community donates pairs of new socks and underwear as the price of admission at a CJA vs. SJA game. All socks and underwear collected in the Funderwear Challenge are donated to St. Patrick Center’s homeless clients. While Cor Jesu Academy brought in the most items this year and won the coveted Funderwear Challenge trophy, and while St. Joseph Academy won the soccer game, the real winner was St. Patrick Center. Thanks to the generosity of both schools, more than 17,000 pairs of new socks and underwear were do-



nated, saving the agency thousands of dollars in expenses that can instead go toward St. Patrick Center’s 28 housing, employment, and mental health programs to assist clients with building permanent, positive change.

ients must attend a dental hygiene class in order to learn how to properly care for their dentures and other oral hygiene after receiving them,” said Deacon Gabriel Cuervo, regional coordinator of Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities conducts follow-up interviews to measure the effect the new dentures have on the recipients. Before and after photos show an amazing difference, not only in the physical appearance of the recipients, but also in the sparkle that appears in the eyes of so many. The Save-a-Smile Program has made a difference in the lives of many people in the Upstate of South Carolina, and the staff is thankful for the partnership of the United Way Greenville County whose funding makes this work possible.

Fundraiser in Diocese of Peoria a Success

Delaware Agency Opens New Kent County Facility

Catholic Charities Diocese of Peoria, IL, held their annual “Light of Hope—Party on the Patio” fundraiser on May 21. The evening was a great success with over 200 individuals in attendance. Guests spent the evening visiting seven different food stations, each paired with a premium beer and wine. New to this year’s event was a raffle to win a 2011 Mazda Miata (above). The 7th Annual Light of Hope raised nearly $115,000 to support programs and services assisting Peoria neighbors in need!

Save-A-Smile Denture Program to Continue at Catholic Charities in the Upstate of South Carolina
United Way of Greenville County recently approved continued funding for the second year of a 3-year funding cycle (July 2010-June 2013) for the Save-a-Smile Program. This program was designed to help people receive dentures and is managed and directed by Catholic Charities of the Piedmont Deanery in the Upstate of South Carolina. In order to receive $70,000 in funds from United Way, the Save-a-Smile Program of Catholic Charities Piedmont Region underwent a rigorous evaluation and funding review process. The Save-a-Smile Program targets people who have lost their teeth and assists them with vouchers for dentures and dental hygiene education. The people who receive assistance range in age, but most are job-seekers. The purpose of Save-a-Smile is not only to give people healthier lifestyles by giving them the ability to eat better, but to also boost their self-esteem through their smiles and to give them possibilities of finding better job opportunities. “To qualify for the program, prospective recip-

Catholic Charities, Diocese of Wilmington, recently opened a new Kent County Office in Dover, DE. Larger and better located to serve the needs of Kent County residents, the office offers a variety of services, including addiction and substance abuse counseling, anger management counseling, basic needs support (including financial assistance for rent, utility, or prescriptions), certified alcohol and drug counselor [CADC] training, child and adult care food program, Delaware Energy Assistance Program, immigration support, intensive outpatient counseling for children, pregnancy counseling, and routine outpatient mental health counseling. In the above photo, Levy Court Commissioner Eric Buckson; The Most Reverend W. Francis Malooly, DD, Bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington; Southern Region Director Katrina Eichler; staff members Christine Heiges and Candace Rogers; and Delaware State Chamber of Commerce Account Executive Chuck James watch Catholic Charities executive director Richelle Vible as she cuts the ribbon officially opening the new office.

• FALL 2011 | 41

Seattle Agency to Manage Pilot Veterans Homeless Prevention Program
Catholic Community Services of Western Washington (CCS) was recently selected to manage the Puget Sound region’s $2,000,000 Veterans Homeless Prevention Program (VHPP). Kicking off on April 4, 2011, the 3-year pilot will serve more than 350 veterans associated with military installations and hospitals in Pierce, Thurston, Kitsap, and King Counties. Special emphasis will be placed on reaching veterans who are returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, veterans associated with the National Guard, and reservists who are not part of traditional military communities. For 3 to 18 months, eligible veterans who are at risk of homelessness will receive community-based housing stability supports including rental and housing assistance, counseling, and the creation of housing and services plans. The first priority of the VHPP program will be to ensure that veterans have access to their VA benefits. Community-based benefits and supports will be used to supplement VA benefits as needed. Eligible veterans are those who served in the active military and who were discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable, and are eligible for VA health care. Key pilot project collaborators include the Veterans Administration, the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Labor. These partners bring a broad array of health and other resources, creating a widerange of comprehensive support services for veterans who are recently homeless or at risk of homelessness. Together, the partners are committed to stabilizing veterans’ housing, providing needed health and social supports, along with employment assistance that will give veterans the best opportunity to integrate back into the community. With more than 100 military installations in the state of Washington, the Puget Sound region is home to a large pool of veteran families who are at risk of homelessness. To meet the growing needs, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) selected Puget Sound as one of five regions across the country targeted for the pilot. The pilot will explore innovative ways for the federal government to offer early intervention homeless prevention services through community-based interventions. In addition, the project provides an opportunity to understand the unique needs of the new cohort of veterans—including female veterans, veterans with families, veterans who are single heads-of-households, and veterans from National Guard and reserves.

Catholic Charities Madison Aging Program Volunteer Honored
Mary Nellis, volunteer with the St. Thomas Aquinas Respite Care Team, Madison, WI, was named a Silver Honoree in the Team Spirit category of the 2011 MetLife Foundation Older Volunteers Enrich America Award. This award is jointly sponsored by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging. Mary was one of 23 older volunteers from across the nation to be honored at the award luncheon held in Washington, DC, on June 17. She was nominated by Lynda Koivunen, coordinator of Catholic Charities’ Madison Respite Care Team Ministry for her outstanding dedication to the goals of the ministry and her spirit of volunteerism. As a respite care team member, she assists with team leader responsibilities while also providing direct service to frail, isolated older adults and families who are in need of various non-medical supports. In receiving her award, Mary commented, “I am honored to receive this on behalf of all Care Team members who are providing outstanding services to area residents.” Respite Care Team Ministry is a ministry of area congregations and organizations. It is a collaborative effort by Catholic Charities, Diocese of Madison, Aging Services, and Oakwood Village, Madison, WI. Currently, there are 23 teams throughout South Central Wisconsin providing over 13,000 hours of meaningful, caring assistance to more than 300 people, including informal caregivers and care recipients. The team members provide non-medical services.

Carolyn Portanova Receives Member of Distinction Award
At its annual meeting on June 9, the Council of Agency Executives, a Rochester, NY, leadership organization, honored Carolyn Portanova, Catholic Family Center (CFC) president & CEO, with the first-ever Member of Distinction Award. Portanova was selected as the first Member of Distinction for her many years of service to others and leadership in the community as well as in the Council. Especially noted was her tireless advocacy on behalf of the people that CFC serves, and that she represents the best of what the Council promotes: leading with excellence. In accepting her award, Portanova said, “It is a special honor to be recognized by one’s peers.” Portanova has led CFC as president & CEO since 1989. During her tenure, the agency has grown from a $6 million budget to its current position with a budget of $27 million.



Portanova has been recognized for innovative models of collaboration and partnership with other human service agencies, the ecumenical community, the City of Rochester and Monroe County. She has received numerous awards over the years, including the United Way Executive of the Year, the Chamber of Commerce Civic Award for Human Services, and the Athena Award. Carolyn was one of the 14 founding members of the Council of Agency Executives and was the president of the Council from 2004-2006. Most recently, Portanova announced her plans to retire from CFC effective January 1, 2012.

who shared Catholic Charities’ dedication and passion for children and families through her operation of a child care center on site for a number of years.

St. Patrick Center’s JET Program Celebrates Ten Years
St. Patrick Center is proud to announce the 10th anniversary of its Job Experience Training (JET) program, one of the agency’s most intensive employment and training programs. JET prepares clients for careers that provide livable wages, benefits, and advancement opportunities. The program offers courses in automated office systems, customer service, keyboarding, and food safety and sanitation. SPC created the JET program in 2001 when staff recognized the need for a computer lab to train clients on the Microsoft platform. Ford Motor Company funded a state-of-the-art computer lab complete with desks, an overhead projector, computers, and software. Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) tax credits were used, and are still used today, to cover the cost of instructors plus stipends and minimum wages paid to the clients. Most JET courses consist of eight weeks of class instruction and a four-week internship with a local employer/partner. “I love my internship at WorkNet,” says JET student Steven LaMaitre. Steven is interning for one of the companies in SPC’s BEGIN New Venture Center small business incubator. “I’m getting a worthwhile experience that could potentially lead to a career in the IT field, and for that, I’m extremely grateful!” While JET has evolved over the last 10 years, it still remains an efficient and effective program that challenges participants to work hard. “Completing this program is no easy feat,” says Donna Potsos, JET employment specialist. “JET participants soon find out they must dedicate themselves fully to the curriculum as it can play a major role in their career futures.” n

Catholic Charities Buffalo Opens Newly Renovated Office

Members of Catholic Charities of Buffalo staff, as well as partners, donors and supporters gathered June 17 for an open house and reception to celebrate the recently completed renovations of its Kenmore-Tonawanda office, which offers family and youth services; domestic violence victim services; schoolbased services; the WIC program; and behavioral health services. Catholic Charities officials acknowledged the project’s contractors and the legacy of the former owners, the Carmen and Josephine Sabatino Family. Dennis Walczyk, chief executive officer of Catholic Charities, spoke of the Sabatino Family, who had owned the building since 1974. Catholic Charities acquired the facility in September 2010, having leased space at the site since 1982. Walczyk said, “We are pleased to welcome members of the Sabatino Family with us today, as their presence in this building offered a vital service to the community, and now the facility will continue to assist and positively impact the lives of those we serve.” Cindy Manne, domestic violence victim services coordinator for Catholic Charities, presented a plaque dedicating the facility’s Education Center to the memory of Josephine Sabatino,

• FALL 2011 | 43

Poverty in America
ife was going well for 28-year-old Calynda Hatten and her 8-year-old daughter Shawda. Calynda was in college studying business with dreams of someday opening her own business in Joliet. The small family shared a cozy apartment in Joliet, IL, using funds provided through Calynda’s financial aid package for school. However, everything changed when Calynda became pregnant unexpectedly. Attending classes became difficult during her pregnancy, and eventually Calynda dropped out of college, stopped receiving financial aid, and could no longer afford her rent. Calynda scrambled to find a new home. She stayed briefly with one family member, but was forced out when that relationship grew strained. With a brand new baby boy, Calynda needed to find some place to live, and fast. She immediately thought of Catholic Charities’ Daybreak Center in Joliet because it was known as “the nice place to be in Joliet when you need somewhere to stay.” She was relieved to find that the center could take her in. “It felt good, just having somewhere to go,” she said. The staff at Daybreak Center embraced Calynda and her family and began working with her on a plan to help her regain her independence. With their help, she’s preparing to move in with other family members and is planning to head back to college. In the meantime, Calynda is busy taking care of her beautiful, energetic 1-year-old son Mario, Jr.

Working to


Emerging from a rough couple of years, Calynda and her family are thankful for the services they’ve received from Catholic Charities’ Daybreak Center. “It’s a blessing,” she said, looking at her smiling baby, “It really is a blessing to have a place like this.” n



2011 Meetings

Location Contact
Amy Stinger Troy Zeigler Tina Baldera (703) 236-6227 (703) 236-6239 (703) 236-6233

September 18-21 October 16-19 October 21-22 October 31November 4 November 9-11

Annual Gathering and Poverty Summit From Mission to Service-Part II PSM Regional Training

Fort Worth, TX South Bend, IN St. Louis, MO

Applied Institute for Disaster Excellence

North Palm Beach, FL

Fani Cruz

(703) 236-6225

New Diocesan Directors Institute

Alexandria, VA

Kristan Schlichte

(703) 236-6240

For more information about all training and events, visit


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