THE MAGAZINE OF CATHOLIC CHARITIES USA
The Power of Community
A Vital Force in Reducing Poverty
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THE MAGAZINE OF CATHOLIC CHARITIES USA
Charities USA is the quarterly magazine of Catholic Charities USA. In each issue, you’ll find:
• Feature articles on the work of Catholic Charities • Poverty Reduction Success Stories • Updates on CCUSA’s legislative and policy work • News from CCUSA and member agencies • And so much more!
Catholic Charities agency employees can subscribe to CharitiesUSA magazine for $25. Subscribe online at www.CatholicCharitiesUSA.org
WINTER 2011 | iii
Last Issue: Fall 2011
The Power of Community
The news of late about poverty hasn’t been good. The official measure of poverty released by the U.S. Census Bureau in September put the poverty rate at 15.1 percent, which means that 46.2 million Americans are living in poverty. A few months later, the Census Bureau came out with new numbers on poverty tabulated through a new supplemental poverty measure. With this report, even more Americans are living in poverty, 49.1 million. Whichever number you use, it’s a very troubling statistic. But there’s reason to hope. And it’s because of the power in communities—the commitment, energy, passion, and innovation to reduce poverty. For decades, people have been working at the community level to find better solutions to poverty. Some have been successful, others haven’t, but people are still working at it. Today, we are seeing more innovative solutions than ever. Outside of our network, we see things like the Harlem Children’s Zone, the Family Independence Initiative, and Twin Cities Rise. Inside our network, we’ve got Wheels for Work in Albany, Paths of HOPE in Phoenix, and WORN in Ft. Worth. Without fail, these solutions develop and harness the assets within communities—the skills and strengths of the people living in poverty themselves, the commitment and experience of service providers, the dedication of volunteers, the financial and in-kind support of individuals, businesses, and foundations, and other assets. It’s become clear that the best approaches to poverty are done in the community. Through the National Opportunity and Community Renewal Act, Catholic Charities USA is seeking to reform our federal anti-poverty service delivery system so that it allows and supports community solutions. That’s got to be one of the biggest innovations of all— one that can surely build opportunity within communities and start bringing our poverty numbers down. n
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 tel: 703-549-1390 • fax: 703-549-4183 www.CatholicCharitiesUSA.org [email protected]
Publisher Rev. Larry Snyder Executive Editor Roger Conner Managing Editor Ruth Liljenquist Creative Director Sheena Lefaye Crews Contributing Writers Roger Conner 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 over 10 million people in need, regardless of their religious, social, or economic backgrounds. Catholic Charities USA supports and enhances the work of its members by providing networking opportunities, national advocacy, program development, training and consulting, and financial benefits. Donate Now: 1-800-919-9338
Ruth Liljenquist, Managing Editor
To comment on this issue, please write to Ruth Liljenquist at [email protected]
On the Cover: Steve Liss, American Poverty.org
7 10 The Power of Community A Vital Force in Reducing Poverty Engaging Communities in the Fight for Opportunity For PolicyLink’s Angela Glover Blackwell, the Answers to Poverty Are in the Community Community Coalitions with a Bold Vision Three Coalitions Aimed at Reducing Poverty in their Communities Bridges to Circles A Community Mentoring Initiative that Is Changing Lives in Northwest Florida A New Way of Doing Business The Challenge of Creating New and Local Service Delivery Systems Inaugural National Poverty Summit Sets the Ball Rolling Community Homes Changing the Odds for Children in Foster Care CCUSA to Revamp Adoption Website A Thank You to Those Who Support Catholic Charities—Hubert J. Schlafly, Jr. Food for Rural Americans in Need The Walmart Foundation Funds Catholic Charities Agencies in Food Distribution Projects Catholic Charities Leaders Go to Washington 11 14 18 22 26
29 30 31
5 34 36 43 44 President’s Column CCUSA Update NewsNotes Disaster Response Working to Reduce Poverty in America
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n November, the U.S. Census Bureau released the results of a new measure of poverty called the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). The SPM was designed to get a better picture of poverty in America than is provided by the official poverty measure, which, as we discussed in the Spring 2011 issue of Charities USA, was designed in the 1960s and is inadequate in capturing the reality of poverty today.
curate picture, but at the same time, how vital it is because having an accurate picture of poverty in America can help us find the solutions to poverty. It’s good for us to have the data. This new information, however, should not distance us from the human dimension of poverty. When we hear numbers like 49.1 million people living in poverty, it’s truly hard to comprehend. It’s millions of people out of work or in lowpaying jobs. It’s millions of elderly Americans struggling because of high medical bills. It’s millions of single mothers burdened with high child care costs. It’s millions of children growing up poor and without the opportunities to achieve prosperity. For us at Catholic Charities, working day in and day out with the people that make up that 49.1 million, we don’t forget the human dimension. Our task is to help others in our nation, people in our communities and people in our government, to see what we see—that poverty is a crisis in our country—and to start really doing something about it. n
The new measure takes into account a number of different factors such as family income, household expenses, child care costs, out-of-pocket medical costs, regional cost of living, government assistance, and tax credits. The SPM showed a 2.5 million increase in the number of people living in poverty, from 46.6 million to 49.1 million, with the greatest jump in poverty showing up among the elderly, who are spending more on medical bills. The SPM also showed that while 16 percent of the population is considered poor, 47.8 percent is considered to be poor or low-income. Low-income families are scraping by, usually without any government benefits other than the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), but are very vulnerable to falling into poverty. The SPM also showed the impact of government programs that alleviate poverty, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps), school lunch program, housing subsidies, and the EITC. Without these programs, millions more Americans would be living in poverty. We commend the U.S. Census Bureau for developing this new measure. We understand how difficult it is to get an ac-
The Supplemental Poverty Measure showed a 2.5 million increase in the number of people living in poverty, from 46.6 million to 49.1 million.
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Photos: Steve Liss, American Poverty.org
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The Power of Community
A Vital Force in Reducing Poverty
By Candy Hill In November, I attended the Opportunity Nation Summit in New York City. There I received an unusual but very informative document—an “Opportunity Scorecard” evaluating the level of opportunity in the county I was born in. This scorecard was generated by the new Opportunity Index developed by the American Human Development Project in partnership with Opportunity Nation. The index seeks to “measure opportunities present in different communities,” taking into account several factors, such as access to jobs, wages, unemployment and poverty rates, affordable housing, community safety, civic engagement, quality education and health care, and healthy food. The county I was born in, Gratiot County in Michigan, received a C. The county I work in today, Fairfax County in Virginia, got an A. Every participant at the Opportunity Nation Summit received a scorecard for the county in which they were born. The grades varied widely, showing which communities are succeeding and which, sadly, are failing in providing opportunity. There was, however, a greater point embedded in these scorecards: The place where one is born and raised in the United States in large part determines one’s potential for success. What is happening in communities and what resources are available (or not available) have a huge impact on people being able to access opportunity. The Opportunity Index reinforces not only the vital importance of strong communities in fighting poverty, but reinforces our commitment at Catholic Charities USA to build a broad poverty reduction strategy that includes a significant role for communities. Communities have to be involved because, quite simply, that’s where the people are. That’s where people who are poor encounter government, service providers, and all types of public and private institutions. Further, if we want holistic, flexible, and individualized opportunity plans for people to work, we’ve got to have communities that can provide opportunity for all through good jobs, good schools, affordable health care, and other resources. Without this, poverty reduction will not be successful.
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We are advocating for a ground-up poverty reduction strategy that gives communities the opportunity to leverage their assets, develop needed resources, and take a greater role in designing localized programs.
Getting Communities in the Fight
Getting communities involved in poverty reduction can harness one of the most important assets in communities to fight poverty—the constructive input and experience of people living in poverty, people who have been lifted out of poverty, and the people who serve them. Our current poverty services delivery system ignores these and other community resources and structures that can be mobilized to fight poverty. It has no place for the input, experience, and commitment of local citizens, local government, businesses, and organizations. Our current system desperately needs
the creativity and innovation that a true community-wide partnership produces to solve problems. We know this strategy works—community-wide partnerships are creating hope in communities across the country and producing real solutions to poverty. Given how important our own local and regional communities are in our lives, it is also a systemic design flaw that federal poverty programs largely overlook the impact of communities on poverty as well as the resources that communities can draw on to fight poverty. First, federal programs treat poverty as a monolithic phenomenon across the country. There is no
difference between the programs implemented in Phoenix, New York, or Honolulu, despite the fact that each of these communities experiences the challenges of poverty in a very different way. We know that the current prescription of “poverty programs in a box” from Washington, DC, does not provide the flexibility for local communities to meet the unique needs of those they are responsible for assisting. Second, communities are at the end of the receiving line for programs and strategies designed at the federal level. Most programs are developed and implemented from the top down, adding layers of bureaucracy at the
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federal, state, county, city, and community levels. All too often, these programs are designed by people who have little connection to the intended recipients of the program, and are often subject to political considerations, rather than what will work best for people. Communities are then asked to implement these programs by, for example, coming up with matching funds, meeting certain obligations, and trying to adapt a rigid program to meet the needs of their community, rather than the other way around. Many of these programs require local investment of resources in order for the programs to operate. Moreover, these same programs are very often subject to not only political changes but also funding streams that may be challenging to sustain.
portunity to demonstrate successful new approaches. With the passage of the National Opportunity and Community Renewal Act, ten communities across the country will be able to pilot this strategy. Through the application of federal waivers, they will have the flexibility to design programs and services that will allow us to implement new and innovative ideas. These ten communities will assess their resources, assets, and challenges and design a system specifically engineered to solve the problems facing that individual community. Each community plan will be locally focused, and will also be
reviewed and approved by a national board to make sure that they deliver services to those who need them. It’s time to turn the system upside down, pursuing a ground-up strategy that gives the people closest to the problems the opportunity to use their assets to develop resources and design localized systems that can provide real opportunity for every person in every community in America. n Candy Hill is senior vice president for social policy and government affairs for CCUSA.
National Pilot Project
Rather than tinkering with a system we know is pushed to its limit, we are advocating for a ground-up poverty reduction strategy that gives communities the opportunity to leverage their assets, develop needed resources, and take a greater role in designing localized programs. With decision making that is close to the ground and flexibility to think outside the box, communities will have the op-
Photo: © Steve Liss, American Poverty.org
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Engaging Communities in the Fight for Opportunity
For PolicyLink’s Angela Glover Blackwell, the Solutions to Poverty Are in the Community
ngela Glover Blackwell, founder and CEO of PolicyLink, is a champion for community building. Throughout her career, she has witnessed the strength of communities in finding strategies that work to reduce poverty and increase opportunity, and that strength lies in engaging with the people closest to the challenges.
“People in poverty have the best sense of what they need, and people working with them have an integrated sense of what is required to overcome poverty,” said Blackwell. “When you listen to these people, you can develop comprehensive place-based strategies that address root causes of poverty.” In Blackwell’s experience, comprehensive place-based strategies have proven to be the most effective, in contrast to most federal anti-poverty programs, which are designed to address areas of need separately and don’t take into account unique community conditions. “Problems don’t come in silos. They are complex and interrelated. Good solutions have to embrace that complexity.” Blackwell has long been involved with community building. In 1987, she founded the Oakland Urban Strategies Council in Oakland, CA, to discover and study community strategies that were working in solving intractable social problems. She learned then that community building was critical and began advocating for and implementing innovative approaches to revitalizing poor neighborhoods.
“Community engagement is the key to success when you want to be transformative,” said Blackwell. “The community needs to understand the problems and give input on the solutions. They need to understand the goals of any strategy that’s implemented, where the money is coming from to fund it, and the need to be accountable. If they are authentically engaged and the strategy is successful, their voices will be powerful and they will use their voices for sustainable change.” Having data to illustrate the problems in the community as well as the solutions that work best is absolutely critical, said Blackwell, in engaging the full community— local government, schools, businesses, foundations, health care institutions, and other community entities. Building on her experience in Oakland, in 1999, Blackwell founded PolicyLink, “a national research and action institute dedicated to advancing social and economy equity by ‘Lifting Up What Works.’” “We find local strategies that are working, collect data to show how they are working, and then bring the insights learned through these programs to lawmakers, with the goal of getting these insights embedded in policy,” said Blackwell. For example, PolicyLink was very involved in laying the groundwork for the Promise Neighborhoods initiative proposed by President Obama. They looked carefully into the successes of the Harlem Children’s Zone
founded by Geoff Canada, developed a plan to replicate the project in communities nationwide, and delivered the plan to President Obama, who drew from the plan in developing the initiative. PolicyLink was also instrumental in bringing to national scale the state of Pennsylvania’s successful Healthy Food Financing Initiative, which has been successful in decreasing the number of food deserts and increasing access to healthy food in rural and urban communities alike. Blackwell sees all across the country effective comprehensive place-based initiatives in education, health, community planning, economic development, and other areas. She wants to see these community successes replicated. “We need to make sure that all communities are communities of opportunity. There is no reason why where you live should have an impact on opportunity,” said Blackwell. “We know how to build good schools and provide good health care. We know how to build good public transportation systems and safe community spaces. We know how to create jobs and build affordable housing. We know how to do these things, so let’s do them for everyone.” n
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Photos: © Steve Liss, American Poverty.org
Community Coalitions with a Bold Vision
Three Coalitions Aimed at Reducing Poverty in their Communities
prompted, influenced, and coincided with many community efforts to reduce poverty. Catholic Charities agencies across the country are actively involved in these efforts, some leading the way. Community coalitions have come together not only to advocate, but to develop effective solutions and better ways of delivering services. They envision strong, thriving communities where everyone has the opportunity to live healthy, productive, and independent lives. Take a look at three coalitions founded or joined by Catholic Charities agencies that are moving aggressively to combat poverty and build opportunity in their communities.
ne of the most important policy ideas embedded in the National Opportunity and Community Renewal Act is that communities need to be involved in reducing poverty in a much greater way than they have been in the past. Poverty happens in communities, and it is best addressed by people who understand their community’s problems as well as their community’s assets. Catholic Charities USA’s Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America has
Missourians to End Poverty
Missourians to End Poverty (MEP) was established in early 2008 when 30 businesses, social service organizations, government organizations, churches, and numerous individuals came together to consolidate advocacy efforts to reduce poverty across Missouri as well as to create programs to assist
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people in getting out of poverty. Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph were part of the original group, and now Catholic Charities of Missouri, a limited liability corporation for the four Catholic Charities agencies in Missouri is involved. Missourians to End Poverty (MEP) is dedicated to creating in Missouri a “just society of shared responsibility by individuals, communities, business, and government in which all individuals are respected, have opportunities to reach their full potential and to participate in thriving, diverse, sustainable communities.” MEP has built its poverty reduction strategy around five pillars: food, health, education, energy and housing, and economic and family security, and has produced five policy papers on these topics. The coalition convened poverty summits in 2009 and 2011, which brought together the coalition and interested citizens together in discussing solutions to poverty. In April 2012, MEP will hold a poverty rally at the Missouri state capitol. MEP has set a number of goals to reach by 2020, two of which are: 1) to have a statewide plan to end poverty embedded and integrated within 50 Missouri communities or organizations, and 2) to have
the state of Missouri adopt policies and establish systems that provide an opportunity for people with limited resources to reach their full potential.
Step Up Silicon Valley
To help achieve the goal of the CCUSA Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America, Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County organized a local coalition of non-profits, social service agencies, businesses, faith-based organizations, and government agencies to cut poverty in Santa Clara County, CA, in half by 2020. This coalition, Step Up Silicon Valley (SUSV), is committed to creating a community that is thriving; where everyone has access to affordable health care, sufficient nutritious food, decent affordable housing, meaningful educational and career opportunities, and reliable income that meets their basic financial needs. SUSV seeks to achieve this vision by transforming community awareness and generating the political will to create systems change that enables individuals and families to step up and out of poverty. SUSV focuses on three strategic areas: 1) promoting awareness: throughout the community, the coalition conducts poverty simulations as its primary awareness tool, which educates people about the day-to-day reali-
ties of life with a shortage of money and an abundance of stress; 2) , advocating for policy change: SUSV advocates for policies that cut poverty and enable self-sufficiency, such as increased access to affordable healthcare and housing and increased educational and employment opportunities; and 3) incubating innovative entrepreneurial programs: SUSV is incubating three such programs: a
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Community coalitions have come together not only to advocate, but to develop effective solutions and better ways of delivering services.
Photo: © Steve Liss, American Poverty.org
project with Santa Clara University to create jobs and social enterprises; an effort to create an integrated service delivery system that improves clients’ ease of access and partner agencies’ data collection and reporting; and the Franklin McKinley Children’s Initiative, modeled after the Harlem’s Children Zone, which seeks to provide children impacted by poverty with access to education, from pre-K
to college, by embracing a holistic approach to building communities.
In 2006, Unite Escambia, a cross-sector coordinated group of community leaders in Escambia County, FL, came together and conducted a community assessment to identify priorities for a shared community agenda. Five priorities were selected—education, envi-
ronment, health, housing and poverty, and solution teams were organized and tasked with identifying short and long-range goals with emphasis on achieving measurable outcomes. The poverty solutions team, now called Prosper Pensacola, set a goal to reduce the number of people living in poverty in Escambia County by 50 percent by the year 2020. The team is made up of community partners, including Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida, and represents both public and private sectors, faith-based organizations, low-income individuals, and the community at large. The team’s research led to the best practices of Bridges Out of Poverty co-authored by Dr. Ruby Payne and Scott Miller’s National Circles® Campaign, which CCNWFL was chosen to implement in its successful Bridges to Circles program (see page 14). Prosper Pensacola is presently conducting a number of ongoing activities—such as a TV series, radio PSAs, a quarterly newsletter, poverty simulations, resources fairs, and leadership luncheons, to raise awareness about poverty, engage the community, and continue building successful collaborations that promote prosperity for all citizens. Prosper Pensacola is also conducting a public transportation study to improve public transit in Escambia County. n
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Bridges to Circles
ne of the assets within communities to fight poverty is the commitment of individual people who want to help their neighbors overcome poverty. One way this commitment is expressed is through community mentoring programs— where volunteers provide support to people in their journey out of poverty. This kind of program is seeing real results in Northwest Florida. As a leading partner in Northwest Florida’s Prosper Pensacola coalition to
A Community Mentoring Initiative that Is Changing Lives in Northwest Florida
reduce poverty (see page 13), Catholic Charities of Northwest Florida launched Bridges to Circles in 2008, a community mentoring initiative that draws from Dr. Ruby Payne’s Bridges Out of Poverty curriculum and Scott Miller’s National Circles® Campaign. The initiative, supported by agencies, churches, and businesses in the community, matches people living in poverty with volunteers who provide emotional support, offer information and advice, and assist with life issues. With the support of the volunteers, the participants build social networks and gain knowledge of their own resources as well as community resources that will help them accomplish their plans for self-sufficiency. Bridges to Circles looks for individuals and families who are highly motivated to permanently move out of poverty. Referred by community agencies and churches, prospective participants must meet a number of eligibility requirements based on factors such as job history, age, income level, behavioral health (no substance abuse),
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One of the assets within communities to fight poverty is the commitment of individual people who want to help their neighbors overcome poverty.
and level of dependence on government benefits. The prospective participants, who are considered low or very low-income, are interviewed before they enter the program to make sure that they meet the requirements and that they are truly motivated. The first part of the program is a 15week course that utilizes Bridges Out of Poverty’s curriculum, Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’-By-World. During the course, participants investigate the impact of poverty on their lives and their communities, learn the hidden rules of economic class, and then set goals for themselves by creating a life plan. Upon completing the course, participants may choose to continue in the program and become part of a “circle.” The participants become “circle leaders” and are matched with two to four volunteer “allies.” Circle leaders and allies meet twice a month for focused discussions on furthering the circle leader’s life plan. In addition, circle members are encouraged to have telephone, email, and in-person contact as needed throughout the month. To facilitate meetings between circle leaders and allies and provide support to circle leaders in their quest to move out of poverty, Catholic Charities
hosts weekly community meetings. These meetings are the heart of the Bridges to Circles program. They build community, provide peer support, help people develop leadership skills, and maintain a weekly focus on attaining economic self-sufficiency. The weekly gatherings begin with a light meal, which provides important time for relationship building between circle leaders, allies, their families, community volunteers, and Catholic Charities staff. Following the meal, people get down to business with a focused event, either circle meetings on the first and third Tuesdays or guest speakers and other supportive activities on the second and fourth Tuesdays.
The circle experience is a life-changing experience both for the circle leader and the allies. “Once a relationship of mutual respect has been built between a circle leader and the allies, trust is no longer a barrier,” said Estella Lee, director of Bridges to Circles. “The circle leader is very comfortable sharing about personal matters related to their life plans: finances, medical issues, parenting, family dynamics, etc. Once this happens, a circle leader is no longer in isolation and takes comfort in knowing they have constant support, regardless of their decisions. For allies, the circle experience prompts them to examine their own prejudices and reevaluate stereotypes about the poor. And both circle leaders and allies gain the knowledge that
Photo: © Steve Liss, American Poverty.org
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they have a lot of things to teach each other, which is priceless.” Research shows that building relationships across class lines, known as bridging social capital, is critical for people moving from one economic status to a higher one. With this strategy, Bridges to Circles families have experienced improved job retention and an increase in education, earnings, savings, assets, and social capital. At the same time, the community’s knowledge and commitment to reducing poverty have increased. “Through Bridges to Circles, relationships of mutual respect are built between those impacted by poverty and people from middle class and wealth,” said Haley Richards, community organizer for Bridges to Circles. “This ensures that people in poverty are viewed as problem solvers and are included at the decision making table. Once a community can change their mindset about what poverty really looks like, it can begin to implement proven strategies to address poverty and provide opportunities for prosperity to all.”
A Bridges to Circles Success Story
Rufus and Sonnee Gable decided as a couple that they wanted to become entrepreneurs, but had no idea how to make it happen. Sonnee heard about the “Getting Ahead” training offered by the Bridges to Circles program and convinced her husband that they should enroll in the 15-week training, which explores the impact of poverty on people’s lives and the often unspoken attitudes, values, and rules of different economic classes. “‘Getting Ahead’ gave me a chance to reevaluate my life and stop making excuses for my choices,” said Sonnee. Getting Ahead training provided the couple with confidence to apply newly discovered ideas and skills in order to overcome obstacles and make informed decisions about their life. Sonnee and Rufus also made a life plan to open a concession stand business and began investigating the resources available within the community to make their dreams a reality. Sonnee and Rufus both graduated from Getting Ahead training in January 2011, and Sonnee decided to continue into Circles®, where she was matched with two allies, Chip and Melba Bowman, volunteers who provide on-going support and assistance with life issues. Sonnee and the Bowmans, and often Rufus as well, have been meeting regularly since March 2011 at the weekly community meetings, where they have discussed a variety of topics related to the Gable’s entrepreneur goal. This constant support and learning helped Sonnee and Rufus make their dream come true in the fall of 2011, when they opened their concession stand, under the business name “Double Blessing.” One day, the Bowmans stopped by the stand for lunch. Rufus was very surprised to see them. “He stopped serving customers for a moment and immediately came out to greet us,” said Chip. This visit showed to Rufus a solid commitment of support for his dream which he does not even receive from family members. Bridges to Circles offers participant a safe, structured way to build intentional relationships across race and economic class lines. Sonnee and Rufus Gable are embarking on a new chapter in their lives and their allies will be there with them every step of the way. n
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Mentoring Makes Sense
number of Catholic Charities agencies have integrated volunteer community mentoring into their poverty reduction strategies because they recognize the value that mentoring provides: personal connection, advocacy and support, information sharing, social network building, and friendship. Mentoring is implemented, however, in different ways based on the needs of the consumer, volunteer, community, and agency.
toward economic self-sufficiency. Teams meet with and mentor the family for 6 to 18 months and will typi¬cally provide assistance with such practical matters as learning American systems, budgeting, and English language skills. The Far West Families First program of Catholic Social Service in Asheville, NC, matches struggling families with ecumenical faith teams that provide support and encouragement to help families reach goals they set for themselves, such as debt reduction, credit building, education, employability, and so forth. In a supportive relationship, the team helps the family understand and learn the skills needed for successful problem solving and helps the family locate outside resources when needed. n
Much like Bridges to Circles, the Paths of HOPE program of Catholic Charities Community Services in Phoenix organizes a “Circle of Hope” of three to five volunteers around a program participant. Circles meets at least monthly for up to two years and provide support and input to participants as they pursue life goals that will help them become prosperous (see Charities USA, Fall 2011). The Win-Win Program of Catholic Charities in La Crosse, WI, matches participants, who have committed to a year-long education process covering a variety of topics, such as financial counseling, budgeting, and landlord/ tenant issues, with a volunteer mentor, who has also committed to a year. The mentor, who has been trained in all the different resource areas, meets with the consumer monthly in their home to provide support, act as an advocate when necessary, and connect the consumer to resources. Top: Sonnee Gable (middle) with her circle allies, Melba and Chip Bowman; Bottom: Rufus Gable at the door of the Gable’s new concession stand. The Family to Family Partnership is a partnership between Catholic Charities of the East Bay and the parishes of the Oakland Diocese (CA). Several parish families are formed into a team to support a client family in improving the quality of their lives and empowering themselves
Catholic Charities agencies...recognize the value that mentoring provides: personal connection, advocacy and support, information sharing, social network building, and friendship.
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Photos: © Steve Liss, American Poverty.org
A New Way of Doing Business
The Challenge of Creating New and Local Service Delivery Systems
ties to create “one-stop” workforce development agencies to assist welfare recipients in finding and maintaining employment. HUD requires communities to develop local “continuum of care committees and plans” to assist homeless individuals and families on their path back into a home. And child welfare legislation requires “wraparound services” for children who may be at risk for abuse or neglect in the child welfare system. Through NOCRA, CCUSA wants to use policy to incentivize service integration within communities, enabling innovation in poverty reduction. Many Catholic Charities agencies have already begun moving in this direction, notably through an emphasis on family strengthening. Numerous Catholic Charities agencies operate family service/community centers with comprehensive services focused on helping families overcome poverty. These centers—for example, Philadelphia’s three family centers which were awarded a CCUSA Family Strengthening Award this year—often
he National Opportunity and Community Renewal Act (NOCRA) is promoting a poverty reduction strategy that gives local communities the flexibility to create integrated local service delivery systems that meet the needs of their community and the individuals that live there.
Building seamless service delivery systems is not a new idea. In fact, policy has often driven a more integrated approach to social problems. Welfare reform in 1996 required communi-
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Measuring Results and Demonstrating Effectiveness
Why We Need a National Client Tracking System for the NOCRA Pilot Project By Jane Stenson
have an array of community partners who engage in meaningful assistance. Other Catholic Charities agencies have developed family strengthening programming in partnership with other community agencies or are working collaboratively in other ways, such as through collaboration at multi-service sites. Catholic Charities in Green Bay, Wisconsin, has spent the last several years developing a community-wide family strengthening network of services and providers, working to build relationships between staff, overcome silos and turf issues, set ground rules and boundaries, establish communication strategies, and develop standardized intake and client information procedures, all toward the goal of creating as seamless an experience as possible for the client as well as arranging a set of programs and services that will best serve them. The “one-stop” structure has been useful in Long Beach, CA, where a program affiliated with Catholic Charities of Los Angeles participates in the city of Long Beach’s HUDfunded Multi-Service Center. The center, which provides emergency and homeless services, is located in a part of town that is accessible to people in need, especially the homeless. Catholic Charities is one of eight agencies in the center, who all share
he “big picture” purpose of the National Competition for Community Renewal, the pilot project proposed by the National Opportunity and Community Renewal Act (NOCRA), is to show that there are better strategies to reduce poverty than what we are now utilizing as a nation. But we can only show that if we have the data to back it up, which is why the legislation calls for a built-in research component—a national client tracking system that will not only track the progress of individuals but also demonstrate the effectiveness of the numerous poverty reduction programs and strategies that will be tested in ten different communities nationwide. Client tracking is an integral part of the work of human service providers. Meeting an individual’s life-enhancing goals requires providers to balance competing requirements, audits, and desired outcomes dictated by various funding sources. At the same time, consumers seeking assistance face complicated issues impacting family members across the generations. Many consumers who seek assistance from Catholic Charities and other provider agencies are in need of multiple supports that go way beyond their initial request. Client tracking software has become an important tool for agencies in making sure that their service delivery is effective and efficient. The right software enables the Catholic Charities agency to reduce repetitive questioning of clients across multiple program sites and to better assess both the consumer’s outcomes as well as the progress of the program and agency. Currently, client tracking software focuses on measuring the impact of programs on consumer/agency goals over time. Most often it is limited to the impact of one of two specific programs that may be linked by a parent organization.
With a national pilot project, we’ll need a tool that can measure broad community efforts to reduce poverty. The National Competition for Community Renewal will require communities to come together to build partnerships among government, providers, and the consumer that can truly support individuals and families to achieve economic security. This will demand new levels of community collaboration which will require a lot of trust and new ways of doing business. If the national pilot project is to be successful in demonstrating effectiveness, some form of measurement will need to be put in place that can measure the success or failure of various interventions and efforts with the consumer, not only in relation to the family’s starting point, but to other families in the community, and in the other communities chosen for the pilot project. To appropriately capture and measure the impact of such a broad community effort, government and provider agencies will have to agree on what to measure and how to measure it. A national client tracking system with the capacity to look at multiple interventions and outcomes leading to both short and long term goals will have to be vetted and approved by all of the players within the selected communities. Developing a client tracking system that can meet the measurement needs of this national experiment will be a challenging task, but we look forward to the process and the eventual product. n Jane Stenson is senior director of poverty reduction strategies for Catholic Charities USA.
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Photo: © Steve Liss, American Poverty.org
a common intake process and client data system, which facilitates information sharing and prevents duplication of services. The close proximity of the eight agencies (and six others in the blocks around the center) fosters relationships between the staff of the different agencies, which ultimately serves the client. These examples illustrate good first steps in building integrated services systems: strong collaboration between providers, standardized or central intake, shared data management systems, and convenient intake locations. They are, however, still limited in their effectiveness because they rely on our program-centric federal safety net to secure assistance for fami-
lies. Case managers still have to focus a great deal on determining eligibility for public benefits, which then impacts the service plans case managers can offer to people. Dedicated and well-trained case managers do create individualized plans and have found ways to make them work within the system, but they are always up against program requirements and limits. NOCRA is pushing for innovations in service delivery both in the structure of service delivery systems—locally designed systems—and in the way federal safety net dollars can be used— with much greater flexibility. The ten pilot projects that NOCRA will authorize will have the flexibility, due to federally-granted waivers, to meet
community and individual needs and will integrate both innovations.
Input from People on the Ground
To give more shape to the service delivery model being advanced in NOCRA, CCUSA convened a group of Catholic Charities professionals from across the country who know a thing or two about working within the current safety net system—case managers. At a case management summit in July 2011 and in ongoing discussions, case managers discussed how the model could be implemented. There were a lot of questions. For example, what segment of the population would be served in the pilots? Information gained from case manag-
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ers provided the substance for a team of diocesan leaders, advocacy and communications experts, and CCUSA leaders to discuss three different scenarios: a project built around a particular neighborhood or geographic area; a project built on a selection of families, say 500 families; or a project built on a random group of the general population, say 10,000 people. Many questions focused on the impact of waiving the current service delivery structure. What would be the impact on families? How would the work of agencies be affected? And how would the role of case managers change, when instead of patching together a set of programs to meet needs, they would be developing with consumers individual opportunity plans relatively free of program limitations and then authorizing funding
necessary to carry out the plans. The discussion that these questions provoked provided valuable insights to CCUSA’s advocacy team. “What we realized is that we need to be more concrete,” said Candy Hill, CCUSA’s senior vice president for social policy and government affairs. “We don’t want too many boundaries so that communities can have the freedom to design a program that fits their needs, but even with waivers, there has to be accountability.” Bringing together CCUSA’s policy experts with direct service providers was a valuable experience for both groups. “This experience tied us back to the local,” said Hill. “For those of us that have worked in local agencies before, the longer we are in Washington, the more likely it is for us to fall into the ;
trap of designing policy that provides ‘poverty programs in a box’—a one size fits all approach shipped from Washington, DC, to communities and individuals. This experience also helped our advocacy team to hear for themselves the experience of practitioners—people on the front lines. It really grounded them.” As for the case managers themselves, it was empowering. “They couldn’t believe they had been asked to give their input. How often do practitioners get to influence policy?” said Hill. “They also learned from each other and found that they don’t have to wait for the policymakers in Washington. There are many things they can do now, which we encourage. It will give us credibility and show how we are promoting innovation in poverty reduction strategies.” n
NOCRA is pushing for innovations in service delivery both in the structure of service delivery systems—locally designed systems—and in the way federal safety net dollars can be used— with much greater flexibility.
Photo: © Steve Liss, American Poverty.org
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Inaugural National Poverty Summit Sets the Ball Rolling
For two days deep in the heart of Texas, advocates from across the country gathered together to build national momentum around a conversation on how to reduce poverty in America. Ten national organizations joined together to host the inaugural National Poverty Summit, which featured workshops, speeches, and an “idea marketplace,” all focused on reducing poverty. The summit opened with a welcome address by CCUSA President Rev. Larry Snyder, followed by the keynote address delivered by Mark Shriver, senior vice president for U.S. programs for Save the Children and son of Sargent Shriver, who was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 to head “The War on Poverty.” Mark Shriver presented a brief video clip in which his father was asked, “Do you believe poverty in America can be eradicated?” He firmly responded, “Yes, I do.” This commitment has inspired Mark in his public service and in his work at Save the Children. Shriver also spoke of how heart-felt service and compassion in those who serve the poor can break down barriers and encourage lasting change in people’s lives. The summit continued with a panel of leaders from a few of the summit’s partner organizations: Nan Roman of the National Alliance to End Homelessness; Andrea Levere of the Corporation for Enterprise Development, and Rev.
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The National Poverty Summit included a national panel of experts and addresses from Fr. Larry Snyder, Mark Shriver, and Melody Barnes. The summit was closed with a performance from Jearlyn Steele.
David Beckmann of Bread for the World. These experts shared their organizations’ innovative and proven solutions to reducing poverty. The panel was followed by a presentation of several poverty reduction tools and strategies, such as using the American Human Development Index to assess community needs and people’s overall well-being, implementing an agency strategy to support military families, and creating or strengthening “push” institutions at the local level to create awareness and demand change at all levels of government.
Breakout sessions covered a number of topics: community organizing for families, expanding access to children’s nutrition programs, creating children’s savings accounts, defining and measuring success in ending hunger, addressing homelessness among veterans, and working for change through collaboration. Melody Barnes, the Domestic Council Advisor to President Obama, brought the summit to a close with a call to action. She outlined ways that the priorities of Catholic Charities and the Obama Adminstration come together and how the administration is working to address these priorities.
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A drumline from Texas Christian University opened the National Poverty Summit with a dramatic performance inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s pledge to be a drum major for peace and justice.
Opportunity Nation Joins National Poverty Summit Partners
Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) recently announced that Opportunity Nation will be joining the organizing partners of the Inaugural Nationl Poverty Summit to host the 2nd Annual National Summit in Opportunity and Poverty in September 2012 in Washington, DC. The organizing partners included: The American Human Development Project, Bread for the World, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, CCUSA, the Corporation for Enterprise Development, the Coalition on Human Needs, Feeding America, the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Save the Children, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The 2nd Annual Poverty Summit will bring participants together in small groups to discuss specific issues, initiatives, and ideas related to poverty reduction, alleviation, and prevention. It will include remarks by individuals on the frontlines of innovation in addressing poverty. n
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The National Poverty Summit, lead by our CCUSA Advocacy team, brought participants together in an “Idea Marketplace” to discuss ways to reduce poverty nationally.
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Photo: © Steve Liss, American Poverty.org
Changing the Odds for Children in Foster Care
By James T. Seymour and Janice McMurray There is no substitute for home life with parents and siblings. Yet family circumstances may create a need for children to be placed in foster settings. When change uproots family life, a child’s inherent trust may fall away. What then ensures the stability of a secure, nurturing, and caring environment for children in foster care? The Community Home may be an answer for some youth searching for a “forever home” who are unable to adapt to regular foster care. Catholic Community Services (CCS), a member agency of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Portland serving Oregon’s Willamette Valley, owns and operates several Community Homes. Each Community Home is operated on behalf of the local community where the children were first taken into protective custody and serves primarily children from that community, an important distinction because community members are more willing to support children from their own neighborhood. CCS selects, trains, and guides Community Home parents who care for up to five children in a residence. Turnover rates for parents are low, but if a Community Home parent decides to quit parenting, they leave the home. The children remain in their home, neighborhood, school, and faith community while new Community Home parents are selected. Even after the children have aged out of the foster care system, they can return to the home for birthdays, holidays, and other family events and to visit with their foster parents and siblings, just as any grown child would. The Community Home is their family home—their “forever” home. Community Homes are designed to serve children who do not thrive in regular foster care. These children typically enter the foster care setting with serious emotional and behavioral problems. Their parents eventually lose paren-
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tal rights and their extended family is often in disarray. Their problems make them poor candidates for successful adoption. While these children represent only eight to ten percent of the foster care population, they have a significantly larger impact on casework, court, and treatment resources.
“The first seven years of my life were pretty good but then mom got hooked on drugs. From that point on everything started falling apart. She and dad would fight all the time. When dad left, mom started bringing home boyfriends that were drug users. Bad things happened to my brother and me. Dad tried to protect us by having us live with Grandma, but I was so angry I wouldn’t let her care for me. In the next few years I was in six different foster homes. I kept getting into trouble, and each time, the foster parents asked my caseworker to move me. When I first came to the Community Home I thought it was one more place that would give up on me, so I started getting in trouble. They didn’t give up. I was held accountable, but they didn’t kick me out and I started doing better. In fact, I did so well that I was adopted. The adoptive home was great, but the state discovered my adoptive dad had abused a child before and they pulled me out. My only request was that I go back to the Community Home. It was hard to lose hope of being adopted, but I liked the Community Home and felt supported. My experience there had its ups and downs but the stability of being in one home, even if a foster parent left, gave me a sense of security. I stayed in the same schools and neighborhood until I graduated from high school and was on my own.”
A Community Home in Salem, Oregon.
According to the DHS 2010 Child Welfare Data Book, during Federal Fiscal Year 2010, 13,129 children spent at least one day in some kind of foster care in Oregon. As of September 30, 2010, 37.2% of Oregon children in foster care during the previous 12 months had three or more placements, with 12.7% having six or more placements. Tenuous relationships and school experiences and separation from siblings disrupt learning and socialization at a critical juncture in children’s lives. Children frightened or rebellious upon entering foster care often become more so as they face multiple placements. Community Homes seek to decrease the number of placements and create stability in foster children’s lives. Most of the children, 85 percent, experience a safe, stable, and nurturing environment in a Community Home, where therapeutic benefits allow emotional healing to begin. Greater stability at home may lead to a decrease in mental health problems, a more positive school experience, and a better chance at a successful adult life.
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Photo: © Steve Liss, American Poverty.org
The Community Home program provides multiple benefits for foster children –
Community Homes seek to decrease the number of placements and create stability in foster children’s lives. The children remain in their home, neighborhood, school, and faith community....The Community Home is their family home— their “forever” home.
• A safe, stable, nurturing home in a caring community • Meaningful opportunities to develop healthy, longterm kin and kith relationships • Intensive support to achieve success at school • Encouragement for a smooth transition to adult life As in Ricky’s story, Community Homes offer long-term stability frequently missing for some foster children. Today, Ricky is a specialist in the Army National Guard serving in Iraq. When his tour ends, Ricky will attend community college and return to a teller’s position at the local bank. He views himself as a better person, more able to give back because of the Community Home experience. Through leadership activities and travel with the CCS Youth Council, he has gained a greater sense of self. If you were to ask, Ricky would say he has found a forever home. n James Seymour is executive director of Catholic Community Services in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and Janice McMurray, Ph.D., is a consultant to CCS. For more information about Community Homes, contact Jim at [email protected]
or (503) 390-2600.
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CCUSA to Revamp Adoption Website
Photo: © Steve Liss, American Poverty.org
In 2009, Catholic Charities USA developed a web page to help prospective birth parents and adoptive parents across the country find a Catholic Charities agency in their area that provides adoption services. That website, which has not been easily accessible, is now getting a makeover, with the assistance of CAIRS, a company that has developed software and online services to help adoption agencies, adoptive families, and birth parents get together. In recent years, the internet has reshaped the process through which birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoption agencies connect. It’s been so significant of a change that adoption agencies now need a strong web presence to let people know about their services. The revamping of the national Catholic Charities adoption website will strengthen the network’s online presence and national brand recognition, and will provide easier web access through search engine optimization and links to adoption-related online entities, a more precise process for locating a local Catholic Charities agency that provides adoption services, and direct links to the web pages of those agencies. The website will also employ a social networking function that gives adoptive families the opportunity to post their family profiles online. CCUSA and CAIRS will pilot this concept with about 25 Catholic Charities agencies, who will work with their “waiting” families to post their profiles online. The profiles will be managed by CAIRS’s ParentFinder.com social networking site and posted to the CCUSA site and individual agency sites. Birth parents will be able to view the
profiles online and then contact the waiting family’s agency if they are interested in pursuing a match. Debbie Snapp, executive director of Catholic Social Service in Dodge City and chair of CCUSA’s Children, Youth, and Family Services Section, has been the driving force behind this effort. “As I have spoken with adoption workers throughout the Catholic Charities network, I have been struck by the commitment and dedication to quality adoption practice,” said Debbie. “I am so pleased with the opportunity to bring all the Catholic Charities adoption agencies together to have a national presence. This provides us with the ability to help potential birth parents locate their local Catholic Charities agency to receive quality decision making support and access well prepared families if an adoption plan is made.” CCUSA expects the new pilot site to be up and running in early 2012. In conjunction with the launch of the site, CCUSA and CAIRS will conduct a marketing campaign to drive traffic to the national site, which will in turn drive traffic to local agency sites. “Integrating the CAIRS software with the existing website will really take it to the next level,” said Jean Beil, CCUSA’s senior vice president for programs and services. “The Catholic Charities network has such a stellar reputation in the world of adoption, and we hope that national marketing for the service will make it more accessible not only for prospective adoptive parents, but also for birth parents who need pregnancy counseling.” n
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A THANK YOU
to the People Who Support Catholic Charities
HUBERT J. SCHLAFLY, JR.
GIVING A HAND UP TO PEOPLE IN POVERTY
By all standards, Hubert J. “Hub” Schlafly, Jr., led a remarkable life. A gifted inventor and engineer, Hub was a pioneer in the development of cable and satellite television. He held 16 patents, invented the teleprompter, and engineered the first satellite transmission of a cable program. He received two Emmy Awards, one for the teleprompter and the other for his outstanding engineering achievement for cable television technology, and was inducted into the Cable Television Hall of Fame. With keen vision, he predicted the advent of computers, cell phones, and the internet. And yet, with all his accomplishments, Hub was a humble, sweet man. “He was a quiet gentleman, a prince of a man,” said long-time friend Tom Gallagher. “You’d never guess he was a creative genius.” While Hub embraced science and innovation, he was also a man of deep faith and was motivated to serve and to assist those in need. “Throughout his life, he was very committed to giving. He grew up with that commitment, which was a reflection of his faith,” said Tom. “He was very focused on his relationship with God, and from that commitment, his charity sprang.” Hub and his wife of 56 years, Lee, believed in giving a hand up to people living in poverty, especially through education. They created a scholarship program for minority engineering students at the University
of Notre Dame, Hub’s alma mater, supported numerous organizations that helped people overcome crisis and pursue educational opportunities, and covered tuition costs for several young people who couldn’t afford college. Hub also supported Catholic Charities in Bridgeport, CT, and Catholic Charities USA. “He saw Catholic Charities as an agent of change in helping people overcome poverty,” said Tom. Hub passed away in April 2011 at the age of 91. We thank Hub for the confidence he placed in Catholic Charities to carry out a priority that was important to him and to us—reducing poverty. n
While Hub embraced science and innovation, he was also a man of deep faith and was motivated to serve and assist those in need.
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Food for Rural Americans in Need
The Walmart Foundation Funds Catholic Charities Agencies in Food Distribution Projects
Through the generosity of The Walmart Foundation, twelve Catholic Charities agencies across the United States are strengthening their capacity to deliver food to people in need, primarily in rural areas. The Walmart Foundation recently granted $760,000 for this purpose to Catholic Charities USA, which in turn distributed grants of varying amounts to the twelve agencies. The Walmart Foundation, impressed by the Catholic Charities network’s food distribution capabilities, began working with CCUSA earlier this year to identify a group of agencies that could with modest investments expand their existing food distribution efforts, especially in and to rural areas. The twelve agencies that were chosen are now implementing their expansion plans. Some agencies are enhancing existing food warehouses and pantries or opening new ones in underserved areas. Catholic Charities Maine, for example, is opening a new food distribution warehouse in Northern Maine’s rural Aroostook County. The new warehouse will better support the county’s 24 food pantries, which until now have been stocked from the agency’s Caribou warehouse two hours away, and will allow for the opening of additional pantries in two neighboring rural counties. The warehouse will be outfitted with a commercial freezer and refrigerator, which will allow Catholic Charities to provide dairy and fresh
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produce, and will also house a baler for the food program’s unique revenue generating operation—the baling and selling of cardboard and excess clothing and items donated to the agency’s thrift stores. Several agencies are purchasing vehicles—pallet trucks, pickup trucks, and/or refrigerated trucks—to deliver food donations to underserved rural areas. Catholic Charities in Gallup, NM, is purchasing two trucks to distribute food, clothing, and household items to poor communities on the Native American reservations in the area, while Catholic Charities in Corpus Christi, TX, is purchasing a truck as well as portable refrigerators and containers to expand food and potable water distribution to a poor, rural area that is underserved and lacks the physical infrastructure to treat water during the rainy season and natural disasters. Catholic Charities West Virginia is using its grant funds to expand its “WellnessWorks” program, a nutrition assistance program that is currently offered at four of the agency’s 11 pantries, all of which serve rural areas. Staff members interview clients to discuss their wellness concerns, and then suggest nutritionally sound food items accordingly. The basic goal is to promote healthier lifestyles among families and individuals requesting food. With the grant, Catholic Charities will expand WellnessWorks to rural food pantries in five counties.
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Other agencies are using their grant funds to recruit and train volunteers, purchase client software, develop a clientintake database, expand food provider networks, and other activities. Overall, the grant from The Walmart Foundation will have a tremendous impact nationwide, relieving food insecurity for thousands more Americans each year. With their food distribution capabilities expanded, the twelve agencies are deeply grateful for the support from The Walmart Foundation. As Linda McKamie, executive director of Catholic Charities in Corpus Christi, commented, “All of this is extremely exciting. We just cannot express enough how appreciative we are to have been included in this opportunity….GOD LOVE YOU!” n
Catholic Charities, Arlington, VA Catholic Charities Maine Catholic Charities of Central Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO Catholic Charities of Corpus Christi, Inc., TX Catholic Charities of Gallup, NM Catholic Charities of Madison, WI Catholic Charities, Omaha, NE Catholic Charities, Raleigh, NC Catholic Charities, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, CA Catholic Charities West Virginia Catholic Social and Community Services, Biloxi, MS Northern Valley Catholic Social Services, Tehama County, CA
n October, leaders of Catholic Charities agencies from Hawaii to the Virgin Islands gathered in Washington, DC, for a memorable two-day event that highlighted our network’s ongoing commitment to substantive poverty reduction.
On October 13, 150 Catholic Charities directors, board members, and staff gathered at the National Press Club for dinner and a discussion moderated by The National Journal’s Major Garrett on innovative poverty reduction strategies. Rev. Larry Snyder, president of CCUSA, was joined by Greg Kepferle, CEO of Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, and Candy Hill, senior vice president for social policy and government affairs for CCUSA, in a conversation that brought to light the experiences and challenges that they face in working to change the service delivery system in the United States that assists people in need.
The following day, attendees were welcomed to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building by Melody Barnes, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, for a day-long Community Leaders Briefing. Community Leaders
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Catholic Charities Leaders Go to Washington
Briefings are weekly events hosted by the White House Office of Public Engagement that bring together leaders from communities all across the country to discuss common challenges and learn how the government can help them as they work to improve their communities. The morning session touched on a wide array of topics, including the economy, immigration, military families, and religious freedom. Speakers included Jon Carson, director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, and Bradley Cooper, the head of the First Lady’s “Joining Forces” initiative. The group also had the opportunity to ask questions of Bill Daley, President Obama’s chief of staff. The day’s discussion about immigration was featured on the White House’s blog by Felicia Escobar, senior policy advisor of the White House Domestic Policy Council. She said, “Our roundtable discussion was very productive. It provided an opportunity to brainstorm different ways in which we could continue working together to help immigrant communities become a more vibrant part of American communities, which helps strengthen these communities as a whole.
We also had a very constructive dialogue on how to build support for meaningful legislative reforms to our immigration laws. Leaders shared insight into their efforts to educate the community. One leader remarked that it takes oneon-one conversations with immigrants and trusted leaders to help explain the complexities of our immigration system and the day-to-day problems that comprehensive immigration reform would help fix.” After a tour of the White House, the program concluded with breakout sessions, in which attendees were able to engage top-tier White House and administration officials and present some of the ideas embedded in the National Opportunity and Community Renewal Act. Lauren Kelly, associate director in the White House’s Office of Public Engagement, said of the day, “Not only did Catholic Charities comprise one of our largest groups to date, but also brought with them a strong voice in support of social justice and creating pathways of opportunity for all Americans.” n
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National Food Stamp Challenges CCUSA and other Faith Leaders
CCUSA Takes Part in Opportunity Nation Summit
National religious leaders, members of Congress, senior Obama Administration officials, and current Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP , formerly Food Stamps) recipients met at a Washington, DC, Safeway supermarket in October to shop for a week’s worth of groceries on the average SNAP allotment of $31.50. With Congress considering cutting the budget for SNAP, the religious community is leading an effort to focus the country’s attention on the realities of hunger and poverty. The national event marks the beginning of the 4th annual Fighting Poverty with Faith mobilization. Fighting Poverty with Faith, cosponsored by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, Catholic Charities USA, and the National Council of Churches, includes more than 50 national faith organizations brought together by shared traditions of justice to act on behalf of those living in poverty in America. “The goal of the Food Stamp Challenge is to engage Americans of every faith and bring the realities of hunger to those across the country unaware of its pervasiveness and challenges; especially here, at Congress’s doorstep,” said Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish
n November, CCUSA President Larry Snyder and Candy Hill, CCUSA’s senior vice-president for social policy and government affairs, joined academics, politicians, celebrities, and leaders from across America at the Opportunity Nation summit to discuss ways to enhance access to opportunity in America. The summit, sponsored by TIME magazine, AARP, the Ford Foundation, and the United Way, featured a wide array of informational and inspirational speakers talking about their ongoing efforts to reduce poverty by creating opportunity and ensuring access to the American Dream.
Speakers at the event included Fareed Zakaria, Suze Orman, Arianna Huffington, David Gergen, Elaine Chao, Rick Warren, Gov. Deval Patrick, and Serena Williams. Fr. Snyder and Candy Hill were each featured in the “conversation room” portion of the summit, sharing their perspectives and ideas through a one-on-one conversation with a reporter broadcast live over the Internet. Fr. Snyder also delivered one of the summit’s closing speeches, in which he reiterated Catholic Charities USA’s commitment to the principles and ideas discussed over the summit.
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Council for Public Affairs. “If we are to get serious about ending hunger, which we have the tools to do, it cannot be an abstract idea for us. Understanding the challenges of feeding yourself—let alone providing healthy meals for kids, who make up over half of SNAP recipients—on just $31.50 for one week will help others know just how valuable SNAP is. America is an abundant nation, but that abundance is not seen in the carts of the tens of millions who live on SNAP. Before Congress decides that this program can be cut, we urge them to look at how little we’re able to put in our carts with this budget and see how millions are getting by.”
National Food Stamp Challenges CCUSA and other Faith Leaders
NOCRA Re-Introduced in Congress
On September 15, just days before the National Poverty Summit kicked off, Sen. Robert P. Casey (D-PA) re-introduced the National Opportunity and Community Renewal Act (NOCRA). The legislation, originally introduced in September 2010, focuses on strategies to reform the safety net that are market driven, results oriented, and locally controlled. NOCRA embodies principles found in innovative poverty relief strategies currently being implemented by service providers across the country. Central components of NOCRA include the implementation of individual opportunity plans for those living in poverty, enabling a locally controlled approach to service delivery, incentivizing innovative funding streams, and utilizing waivers to ensure limited resources are focused on precise areas of need. In a press release about the re-introduction, Candy Hill, CCUSA’s head of
social policy commented, “The principles represented in this legislation will be vital to any successful reform of our nation’s service delivery system…For far too long, our nation has remained complacent with regards to the safety net, and as a result, tens of millions of Americans continue to suffer in poverty.” NOCRA’s re-introduction was timely, given the U.S. Census Bureau’s new numbers on poverty. Now more than 46 million Americans are challenged by poverty. “The recent U.S. Census Bureau report on poverty in America is reflective of the devastating reality in which Catholic Charities operates every day,” said CCUSA’s president, Rev. Larry Snyder. “This report provided further evidence that the United States of America needs comprehensive reform of the nation’s service delivery system. We are pleased to be working with Senator Casey on this important re-introduction in our efforts to meet the moral obligation we have as a country to address this growing crisis.”
Carol Peck Honored with Bishop Sullivan Award
Each year at the Annual Gathering, CCUSA and the Children, Youth, and Family Services Section bestow the Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan Award to an individual who has demonstrated excellence, creativity, and leadership in serving children and their families. This year, CCUSA was especially proud to recognize Carol Peck. Carol spent her 23-year career at CCUSA working on programs for children, youth, and families. She was very instrumental in the promotion of best practices in pregnancy support and adoption programs, and developed a high level of expertise with regard to the prevention of and response to human trafficking. One of her most notable recent accomplishments was the development of a series of resources for agencies, parishes, and families in the fight against the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Carol retired at the end of 2010. During her tenure at CCUSA, she was the staff liaison to the Children, Youth, and Family Services section. n
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Catholic Charities in Superior, WI, Expands Housing Program
Catholic Charities Bureau Housing Program for low-income senior citizens and persons with disabilities has expanded service to unserved communities in the 16-county service area of the Diocese of Superior, Wisconsin. Catholic Charities Bureau currently manages 477 units of housing in 28 programs for senior citizens and persons with disabilities in 18 communities throughout northern Wisconsin. Through a management agreement with a local not for profit organization, Catholic Charities Bureau Housing Management recently added 48 apartments which provide safe, affordable housing for senior citizens in the Medford area. Catholic Charities Bureau is currently determining the sustainability of adding four new senior citizen housing programs which are located in small, rural communities. “Senior housing is a vital service in small communities whose economy has primarily been centered on agriculture, timber, and mining,” said Gary Valley, director of Housing Programs for the agency. “Rural families want their grandparents and other elderly relatives nearby, and seniors in rural com-
St. Cloud Agency Gets a New Truck in an Unusual Way
ne morning in early September, staff at Catholic Charities Emergency Services in St. Cloud, MN, arrived to work to discover the program’s delivery truck had vanished. The truck is used to pick up donations from many local restaurants, stores, and grocery stores —often over 100,000 pounds of food in one month.
Upon learning the truck had been stolen, a generous donor offered to replace it. A new truck was ordered and just days before its delivery, the phone rang at Emergency Services. A man in Marshall, MN, 130 miles to the southwest, had been hired to pave the parking lot of an apartment complex there, and the truck was in the parking lot. He asked if it could be moved. The old vehicle arrived in St. Cloud, completely unharmed, the day before the new one did. The generous donor did not go back on the commitment, so Catholic Charities now has a new truck. The new truck has been “wrapped” in the Catholic Charities logo to provide recognition in the community as they travel to pick up the many donations from generous community businesses. The old truck was sold.
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munities want to continue to participate in the life of their parishes, schools, and communities.”
Msgr. Boland of Catholic Charities Chicago Awarded De Paul University’s Highest Honor
ing God through the needs of humanity. St. Vincent, the 17th century French saint known as “the Apostle of Charity,” is the University’s patron. The University also honored Mohammed Yunus, a Nobel Prize winning economist who works on behalf of the poor, and Sister Carol Keehan, D.C., president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association. “Each of this year’s recipients exemplifies the commitment to the less fortunate members of society that was the hallmark of the work of St. Vincent de Paul,” said Rev. Dennis H. Holtschneider, C.M., president of DePaul University. “With growing social and economic needs at the local, national and international levels, the world increasingly must have effective leaders to confront these challenges. These three extraordinary individuals embody our university’s highest ideals and the ideals of our namesake St. Vincent de Paul.”
TOR will track measurable outcomes of its preventative health program’s various areas of service which will provide valuable data about the effectiveness of the interventions and a replicable model for service delivery across the nation. Johnson said, “While newly arrived refugees receive a health screening, the years spent in refugee camps or challenging urban environments—both often without access to regular health care—can result in chronic or untreated conditions that impact refugees’ abilities to seek employment, care for family members, and become self-sufficient. The complexity of the American health care system adds a complicating factor to seeking follow up care.” The preventative health program of the Tennessee Office for Refugees seeks to address these issues explained Johnson. The TOR program focuses on supporting refugee health through advocacy for and scheduling of follow up care after the initial health screening; orientation to the American health care system and preventative health measures—particularly in the areas of nutrition and mental health care; and access to a nurse line during evenings and weekends for consultation on health related issues. A Health Navigator will be housed at each resettlement agency in Tennessee to assist refugees in managing chronic and urgent health conditions as well as to provide necessary information and guidance so that refugees are equipped to address health and wellness issues on their own.
DePaul University in Chicago bestowed the St. Vincent de Paul Award upon Msgr. Michael M. Boland, administrator, president, and CEO of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago on Friday, September 23, at an academic convocation. Under Boland’s leadership, Catholic Charities has continued and expanded its 90-year commitment to caring for people living in poverty and those in need of social services in Cook and Lake counties. The organization currently operates 159 programs from 156 locations, coordinating them through regional offices across the metropolitan area. Boland directs a staff of more than 2,500 employees and 17,000 volunteers, and partners with more than 100 parishes to bring services to every community in the archdiocese. The St. Vincent de Paul Award, the University’s highest honor, is conferred on very special occasions to persons exemplifying the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul by serv-
$138,000 Preventative Health Grant Awarded to Tennessee Office for Refugees
The Tennessee Office for Refugees, the department of Catholic Charities of Tennessee charged with the coordination and administration of the statewide refugee program in Tennessee, was recently awarded a $138,000 grant by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement under its Refugee Preventative Health Discretionary Grant Program. The grant will be used by the Tennessee Office of Refugees (TOR) for its innovative preventative health program, said Holly Johnson, director of TOR.
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Lois M. Nesci Is New CEO of Catholic Charities in Hartford
St. Francis Home for Children, and the Office for Catholic Social Justice Ministry. In addition, Senatore will assume oversight of diocesan programs such as immigration, affordable housing, and administration of the Emergency Assistance Fund of the Archbishop’s Annual Appeal.
sion of Catholic Charities,” said Sister Mary. “We shared with them client stories of hope and success with a reminder that their efforts could generate similar outcomes for others.”
Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri Dedicates Joplin Facilities
Bishop James V. Johnston joined the happy citizens of Joplin, MO, on October 16 to bless and dedicate the Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri (CCSM) offices and distribution center. “It’s a source of great joy for me and holy pride, if there is such a thing, to see these buildings be ready to serve this community for the coming years,” Bishop Johnston said. “There’s still going to be a lot of need, and there are so many people who want to help. In order to help people, you have to have some organization, so this is an example of love organized.” Less than two years old at the time of severe flooding in southeast Missouri and the May 22 tornado that hit Joplin, CCSM partnered with local agencies, Catholic Charities USA, Catholic Charities agencies from both St. Louis and Kansas City, and the Matthew 25 Team made up of local parishioners to assist disaster victims. To date, Catholic Charities has given disaster assistance in Joplin to more than 7,000 individuals or 2,600 households, and has distributed more than 3,200 tons of clothing, household supplies and hygiene products, and 82 tons of food. The case management office is staffed with seven case managers and a case management supervisor who continue to listen to
Catholic Charities of Buffalo Exceeds Appeal Goal
Catholic Charities of Buffalo officials were happy to report earlier this year that their 2011 annual appeal exceeded its $10.5 million goal by over $100,000. Bishop Edward U. Kmiec, bishop of Buffalo, declared, “For this wonderful achievement and on behalf of the people in need across our diocese served by Catholic Charities, we thank the people of Western New York for putting us over goal this year.” This is the first year the annual appeal has exceeded its goal since 2007 when that year’s $11 million goal was topped by $15,000. The theme for this year’s appeal was again, “Whoever. Wherever. Whenever.” because Catholic Charities is always there, providing help for people of all faiths and walks of life when they need it most. The 2011 Appeal was under the patronage of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. Sister Mary McCarrick, Catholic Charities diocesan director, talked about the full engagement of the volunteers and donors in the final weeks. “During the weeks leading to the close of the appeal, we continued to reach out to donors through our parishes and volunteers, who worked diligently and unselfishly to spread the mis-
Lois M. Nesci took on the position of chief executive officer of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Hartford on July 1, 2011, succeeding Rose Alma Senatore. Before becoming CEO, Nesci served as chief operating officer for the agency, serving in that position since 2006. In her nine years with Catholic Charities, Nesci has served in a variety of roles at the agency with steadily increasing responsibilities. She is credited with bringing several improvements to the management process of the agency in the areas of strengthening program leadership, human resources, information technology, and performance quality improvement. Nesci earned a masters degree in counseling and a bachelor’s degree in education and religious studies from Saint Joseph College in West Hartford, CT. Though retired as CEO, Senatore is continuing in her role as director of charities, a part time diocesan position representing the archbishop on the trustee boards of the colleague agencies of Catholic Charities: St. Agnes Home, the St. Vincent DePaul Society,
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survivors’ stories, help them identify needs, locate resources, and assist in long-term recovery that will lead to self-sustainability. “We really feel that we’re making a difference,” said Maura Taylor, CCSM executive director. “When you hear the clients coming back and telling us how we’ve helped them, it’s very rewarding.”
Charities is able to link thousands of individuals every day to much-needed services. The agency’s “I’m for Brooklyn and Queens” rebranding campaign was also honored with five MarCom Awards in the 2011 international competition, which recognizes outstanding achievement by marketing and communications professionals. Catholic Charities’ rebranding campaign, “I’m for Brooklyn and Queens,” was awarded one Platinum Award, two Gold Awards, and two honorable mentions, for pieces ranging from the overall campaign to the annual report, agency video, campaign brochures, and public service announcements. In order to increase awareness of the important work of Catholic Charities, the agency kicked-off the “I’m for Brooklyn and Queens” campaign in early 2010. The campaign featured a multi-layered marketing strategy that included traditional media (billboards, ads, and banners), web/digital strategy, special events, giveaways, and publications.
Brooklyn and Queens Honored for Web Development and Marketing
regardless of faith. These values inspire the work that we do for and with those most in need: Our mission is sustained by HOPE, guided by CHARITY, and rooted in Christian FAITH and the principles of Catholic Social Teaching: life and dignity of the human person; call to family, community, and participation; rights and responsibilities; option for the poor and vulnerable; the dignity of work and the rights of workers; solidarity; and care for God’s creation.
Southwest Louisiana Agency Wins Award for Mental Health Services
Catholic Charities of Southwest Louisiana was awarded the 2011 FaithNet Partnership of the Year Award by the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Southwest Louisiana (NAMI SWLA). Director Trish Trejo accepted the award on behalf of the agency at the NAMI SWLA Annual Membership Banquet on October 4, 2011. NAMI SWLA Executive Director Clarice Raichel expressed her appreciation to Catholic Charities SWLA for their continued partnership in assisting families and individuals directly affected by mental illness.
Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens’ Web site was recently recognized by the Web Marketing Association and was presented with the 2011 Non-Profit Standard of Excellence WebAward for Outstanding Achievement in Web Development. The 15th Annual International WebAward Competition is the premier award recognition program for Web developers and marketers worldwide. The standards that were judged included layout, content, and ease of use for the intended target audience. With the re-designed Web site launched earlier this year by SankyNet, the Web site developer, Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens has experienced a dramatic increase in web viewership from 6,000 views per month to over 40,000 views. Through the Web site, www.ccbq.org, Catholic
Catholic Charities North Dakota Adopts New Mission Statement
The Board of Directors of Catholic Charities North Dakota approved a new mission statement, tag line, and values statement at their September 2011 meeting. The new mission statement is “Guided by our values, Catholic Charities North Dakota serves people in need and advocates for the common good of all.” The tagline is “Helping People, Changing Lives,” while the values statement is, “Catholic Charities serves all people,
Northeast Kansas Receives $25,000 Grant for Refugee Health Care
Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City awarded Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas a $25,000 grant in support of its Refugee and Migrant Services program, particularly in its acquisition of a health care coordinator for refugees with serious medical issues. This person will assist refugees in navigating what can be an intimidating and
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imposing health care system. Funds will also be utilized to cover costs associated with health care training workshops that teach preventative care skills and direction on how to navigate the U.S. health care landscape. These funds will help the program quickly and comprehensively address health issues faced by vulnerable refugees, in turn facilitating their integration into the work force or school.
“The light came on. We have all these amazing stories created by our staff and clients everyday. Too often these stories go unnoticed,” said Sawa. “We were losing the opportunity to invite the public to experience the miracles that occur everyday at Catholic Charities.” Thus was born the Storytelling Initiative. Michael Shackel, coordinator of special initiatives, will capture the organization’s stories, polish them, and compile them into a bundle that can be used in promoting Catholic Charities. “Stories are more powerful than statistics. We can tell people about the number of households we’ve served in the past year—and they may be impressed—but numbers are easy to forget. If we tell them an effective and emotionally moving story about a particular client or family, the work of Catholic Charities becomes much more memorable.” Storytelling is used at leadership meetings, Board of Directors meetings, and any time a representative of Catholic Charities begins a public presentation. At the Staff Development Day in October, over 120 staff members participated in understanding the key elements of telling a story. Since the implementation of the Storytelling Initiative, staff members have shown enthusiasm, support, and a willingness to share the stories they feel are the most powerful. Always, client privacy is protected through the use of composite stories and composite characters.
St. Patrick Center Reports Positive Employment Outcomes for Homeless
In late summer 2011, St. Patrick Center reported positive employment outcomes for the agency’s clients. Despite a dismal economy, Missouri’s largest provider of homeless services said its nine employment programs placed 562 men and women struggling with homelessness, including veterans, into full-time and part-time jobs during Fiscal Year 2011, which ended June 30. “We are proud of our employment and job training programs that not only place individuals into jobs but also provide them with new skills and certifications that make them more marketable in this challenging economy,” says St. Patrick Center CEO Tom Etling. “The need is greater than ever now to fund these various programs, but we know that our efforts to do so will continue to reap the benefits of job placements for men and women.” St. Patrick Center met success in all five of its employment programs, which include two veterans programs. To name a few, in the Building Employment Skills for Tomorrow program, 78 men and women earned part-time wages and completed onthe-job training, with 42 being placed in jobs. The Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program placed 46 veterans into full-time jobs and provided 44 with advanced employment training. And McMurphy’s Grill, the nation’s first restaurant training program for clients struggling with homelessness and mental illness, trained 68 clients and placed 28 in jobs.
Stories Prove More Powerful than Statistics for San Bernardino Agency
“Stories are more powerful than statistics” is the mantra of Catholic Charities San Bernardino/ Riverside. The agency-wide Storytelling Initiative is a top-down, bottom-up approach public relations effort to capture the public’s attention. The storytelling will show “who we are, what we do, and how we impact families,” expand community support of the agency’s programs by winning the hearts of donors; increase volunteer recruitment; support foundation grant writing; and develop community partnerships. The idea of “storytelling” was triggered for Ken Sawa, CEO and executive vice president of Catholic Charities, when he attended a leadership conference session called, “What Are Your Inside Stories?”
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Catholic Charities Spokane to Celebrate 100 Years of Service
It started with a League of Women (1912) and evolved into a Legacy of Hope (2012). Catholic Charities Spokane got its start in 1912 when representatives from eight parishes came together to do collectively what none could achieve alone. The following year a constitution and bylaws were adopted for this new organization that called itself the Catholic Social Betterment League. The League’s goal was to assist families and individuals to self-support, to health, to better living, and self-respect. Reorganized in 1940, the League was licensed by the state of Washington to become Catholic Charities Spokane. Today, Catholic Charities is the largest sectarian social service organization between Seattle and Minneapolis, providing service to people of all religious faiths in the 13 counties of Eastern Washington. Catholic Charities employs 225 people and has an annual budget of $12 million. Catholic Charities served over 70,000 individuals through 11 programs in 13 counties of Eastern Washington in 2010 and is assisted by over 6,600 Volunteers. In honor of its Centennial Celebration, Catholic Charities Spokane intends to have a few extra
special events honoring donors, supporters, volunteers, past staff members and patrons, including a Poverty Forum, a free picnic lunch for the homeless, and a special reception for past Bishop Medal Recipients. Catholic Charities also plans on running a public awareness campaign to share the tremendous and positive impact the agency makes in the lives of the most vulnerable in the communities of eastern Washington.
procedures in place to address issues of domestic violence and child abuse and neglect, and they must ensure that program participation is voluntary. HHS encouraged applicants to develop programs that emphasized providing comprehensive services to participants, including attention to the importance of employment and economic stability. These grants were awarded through a competitive process and aim to test promising strategies for supporting healthy relationships and marriages and for helping fathers meet their parenting and financial obligations to their children. Organizations receiving healthy marriage grants may provide a range of services including marriage education, divorce reduction, and marriage and relationship skills programs that may include parenting skills, financial management, conflict resolution, and job and career advancement.
Catholic Charities Trenton Receives Healthy Marriage Grant from HHS
HHS’ Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance (OFA), this week announced $119,393,729 in grant awards to 120 grantees to promote healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood. Authorized by the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 (CRA), the grant awards will help families build strong relationships to support the well-being of their children. “A strong and stable family is the greatest advantage any child can have,” said George Sheldon, HHS acting assistant secretary for children and families. “These grants support programs that promote responsible parenting, encourage healthy relationships and marriage, and help families move toward self-sufficiency and economic stability.” El Centro, run by Catholic Charities, Diocese of Trenton, was the only program in New Jersey to be awarded the Community-Centered Healthy Marriage grant, and will receive $500,000 a year for four years. The Healthy Marriage program must have
Catholic Charities Central Florida Opens “Green” Housing Complex
On October 6, Catholic Charities of Central Florida opened St. Anthony Garden Courts, a 50-unit housing complex for low-income seniors, which was designed with safety, convenience, eco-friendly benefits, such as low energy high SEER rated air conditioning units, in mind. The community was opened with a ceremonial ribbon cutting and a blessing by Bishop John Noonan. “Sometimes in our world today, especially in these economically difficult times, we forget about the needs of our elderly people and sometimes we
WINTER 2011 | 41
think to grow old is a burden. But I want to remind you that it is important for each person to live with dignity; so today we come here to remind all of us that every person is important in the eyes of God,” said Bishop Noonan to the crowd of over 200 people who attended the grand opening celebration. During the grand opening, Arne Nelson, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of Central Florida, described St. Anthony Garden Courts as a place of hope for the incoming seniors. “A community like this provides our seniors peace of mind as they age.”
ferred to a collaborating optometrist for a follow-up examination. On average 7.7 percent of the children tested have been referred. Over 400 of the referred children have received corrected vision as a result of this project. The Wheelchair Ramp Project’s mission is to keep the elderly and/or disabled safely in their homes by providing access ramps for those who cannot afford them. Since the project began in 2005, over 195 ramps have been built. With an installed ramp, residents can remain living in their homes and have easier access to their community.
Inc. into closer concert with the diocese by preserving the Catholic identity of both the board and staff while reaching out to all in need in the diocese’s geographical area, regardless of religious affiliation. At the age of 31, Reynolds also is recognized for spearheading a $16 million capital campaign to relocate and construct a new Catholic Charities center. The Benemerenti Medal was created by Pope Pius VI in the late 1700s. In 1832 Pope Gregory XVI instituted the medal to recognize individuals who have exhibited long and exceptional service to the Catholic Church, their families, and community. In 1925, the medal was expanded to recognize persons in service of the church from both civil and military as well as the laity and the clergy. n
Catholic Charities Volunteers Recognized in LaPorte County, IN
There is a group of senior citizens in La Porte County, IN, who are dedicated to helping those in need. These ladies and gentlemen volunteer their services through programs of Catholic Charities in Michigan City, IN. At its 15th Annual Age of Excellence Awards Banquet, Real Services of LaPorte County presented Tom Szawara, Catholic Charities’ senior volunteer director, with the Volunteer Group of the Year Award for the agency’s Children’s Vision Screening Project and Wheelchair Ramp Project. Trained by Indiana Prevent Blindness, the Children’s Vision Screening Program is designed to detect amblyopia (lazy eye) and related vision problems in young children. The Vision Screening Team has screened over 22,000 preschool and kindergarten aged children. When a problem is detected, the parents are notified and re-
Heather Reynolds of Fort Worth Receives Papal Honor
Bishop Kevin W. Vann, bishop of the Diocese of Fort Worth, recently announced well-deserved honors bestowed by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to 16 distinguished members of the diocese, including executive director of Catholic Charities in Fort Worth, Heather Reynolds. Reynolds was honored with the Benemerenti Medal for bringing Catholic Charities of Fort Worth,
Heather Reynolds was honored with the Benemerenti Medal for bringing Catholic Charities of Fort Worth, Inc. into closer concert with the diocese by preserving the Catholic identity of both the board and staff while reaching out to all in need in the diocese’s geographical area, regardless of religious affiliation.
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More Disaster Response Resources
CCUSA makes the following resources available to help local Catholic Charities agencies to prepare and respond to disasters: • Training/Webinar: CCUSA hosts a mix of in-person and web-based trainings each year. These trainings provide participants with the tools and information needed to implement preparedness and response activities at their agencies. • Disaster Visibility Kits: These kits will help raise your agency’s visibility in disaster response and identify your staff and volunteers as working on behalf of Catholic Charities Disaster Response. The kit is pre-packaged for shipping and will outfit up to 100 volunteers. • Short Term Grants: Grants are available to assist your agency at the time of disaster so that you can provide disaster response services. • Preparedness Consults: We assist your agency in disaster preparedness by assessing hazards, designing response and operations plans, and consulting with staff who will lead disaster response efforts. n
For more information, visit CatholicCharitiesUSA. org/disaster.
CCUSA Convenes Applied Institute for Disaster Excellence Mentoring
This fall, CCUSA’s Disaster Operations launched a new training model, the Applied Institute for Disaster Excellence (AIDE), which was held in North Palm Beach, FL in early November. The CCUSA training team hosted 52 representatives from Catholic Charities agencies and from dioceses across the country, teaching crucial skills and providing useful tools to operate disaster preparedness and response programs in their respective areas of the country. Through the different tracks— Disaster 101, Disaster 201, and Diocesan, the training aimed to have something for everyone. “I learned a lot about the inner workings of Catholic Charities before, during, and after a disaster. The instructors were very good, with lots of hands-on experience.” –Bob Marques, St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, Germantown, MD “This training offered me a new level of capacity support for our work in our agency and diocese.” –Sister Carol Ann Gray, regional director, Catholic Social Services of West Alabama “It was an excellent training. One of the most valuable parts of the week was the other participants. They willingly shared their experiences and ideas, which I believe was helpful to all.” –Theresa Petruzella, disaster relief coordinator, Diocese of Birmingham CCUSA Disaster Operations is planning another AIDE training for 2012. For more information, contact Fani Cruz at [email protected]
or at (703) 236-6225.
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George’s efforts to make a better life for himself, his son, and others prompted his Catholic Charities case worker to nominate George as a “Champion of Change.”
Working to Reduce Poverty in
Change,” an honor given by a White House program that singles out extraordinary people and community leaders who can inspire others to do their best. In June 2011, George was honored at the White House for his accomplishments and for being a loving and responsible dad who overcame great adversity. “I had never flown in an airplane before, and I couldn’t believe I was actually at the White House,” said George of his participation in a Champions of Change roundtable panel discussion. “And it is all because of my son.” George is grateful for the support from Catholic Charities, from his church, and from new friends who support his goals and family values. He’s got his eye focused on achieving independence. “I’m just taking it day by day, still working and going to school.” n
Two years ago, George Gordon was a 22-year-old single father who felt like anything but a hero. He was homeless, cradling his baby son in his arms on a frigid night, with nowhere to go and no one to help him. He had actually chosen this path in a desperate attempt to get away from his mother’s boyfriend who was using and selling drugs in their Chicago apartment. With the help of his pastor, George found his way to the St. Francis de Paula Transitional Housing Program run by Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and was then accepted into the agency’s New Hope Apartments Program. Today he and his son have their own place, and he is working, going to school, and mentoring other young fathers. New Hope Apartments provides housing with intensive case management services for homeless families with children under the age of 18. Families are housed in scattered site transitional apartments and for up to 24 months receive services that include rental assistance, household furnishings, em-
ployment assistance with training and educational referrals, child care, budgeting assistance, transportation, and assistance in accessing appropriate government programs. Through individual action plans, families alleviate impediments to job performance and retention during their time in the program. Families achieve greater levels of self-sufficiency and self-determination. Because most New Hope Apartments’ participating families are headed by women, George brings a unique perspective to the monthly support group meetings. “The moms in the group help me learn how to be both a mother and a father to my son,” said George, “and I hope to show them that some fathers really care. My own father wasn’t involved in my life so I know I have to break that cycle and be a rock for my son. I feel good about being a positive role model to other young fathers whom I mentor at my church.” George’s efforts to make a better life for himself, his son, and others prompted his Catholic Charities case worker to nominate George as a “Champion of
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2012 Trainings & Events Date
February 12-15 March 21 March 22-23 March 25-28 April 20-21 April 27-28 May 6-9 June 24-29 July 12-14
Catholic Social Ministry Gathering Capitol Hill Day Diocesan Directors Spring Gathering From Mission to Service-Part I PSM Regional Training PSM Regional Training O’Grady Institute Leadership Institute New Diocesan Directors Institute
Washington, DC Washington, DC Alexandria, VA South Bend, IN Charlotte, NC Trenton, NJ Marriottsville, MD Adrian, MI Alexandria, VA
Rachel Lustig (703) 236-6234 Lucreda Cobbs (703) 236-6243 Kristan Schlichte (703) 236-6240 Troy Zeigler (703) 236-6239 Tina Baldera (703) 236-6233 Tina Baldera (703) 236-6233 Kathy Brown (703) 236- 6245 Troy Zeigler (703) 236-6239 Kristan Schlichte (703) 236-6240
Quality Isn’t Always Expensive!
THE MAGAZINE OF CATHOLIC CHARITIES USA
Did you know that Charities USA is...
• Designed in-house by CCUSA’s Creative Services Team? • Printed on an economical paper stock? • Sized and organized to get maximum use of the press sheet paper we purchase? • Printed by a small press that specializes in driving costs down for short-run magazine publishers? Don’t be fooled by the quality look of Charities USA. We are committed to using our funds in the most cost-efficient way possible so that we can forward our work to reduce poverty.
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