ARCHDIOCESE TO AWARD HALF MILLION DOLLARS TO JUSTICE INITIATIVES
Recipient Groups Receive Support for Organizing and Economic Development Efforts
CHICAGO (September 20, 2004) Twenty-one community-controlled organizations that serve and empower the poor and needy in Cook and Lake counties will receive a total of $472,000 when Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., awards Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) grants during a reception at Catholic Charities’ St. Vincent Hall, 721 N. LaSalle St., Chicago on Thursday, September 23 at 5:30 p.m.
Five groups will receive local funding and one will receive a national grant for the first time. The funds will make it possible for these groups to strengthen families and parent involvement in efforts to improve the Englewood community; coordinate Senior Ministries Network activities on Chicago’s south and west sides for African-American and Latino seniors; unite residents in addressing safety issues in the Lawndale community; address pollution and environmental issues in the Little Village community; support a coalition of community organizations to address issues of crime, housing abuses and predatory lending in northwest Chicago; and train and employ low-income Latinos to provide medical care through interpretation in Lake County.
As in previous years, this year’s recipients represent efforts to strengthen and improve neighborhoods and families and secure rights for immigrants, seniors and workers, with particular emphasis this year on safe neighborhoods with affordable housing.
“Of all the community concerns and injustices that exist in a city like Chicago, unfair housing practices and violence in neighborhoods are the social sins that the Catholic Church of Chicago works to expose and to change systemically,” says CCHD Director Elena Segura. At least eight of the groups will use their CCHD grants to stem the tide of violence and gang activity in neighborhoods and to secure affordable and mix-income housing, appropriate housing for seniors and the disabled and the removal of blighted housing.
Begun by the bishops of the U.S. in 1969 as a grassroots means of fighting poverty, the Catholic Campaign for Human Development is funded by an annual collection in most dioceses the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Twelve of this year’s grant recipients were funded through the 25 percent share ($170,000) of the CCHD collection retained by dioceses. The remaining awards represent national grant awards to five organizations in the amount of $150,00 and four Economic Development grants totaling $132,000. A special $20,000 grant will go to a Chicago collaborative that provides funding and technical assistance to 16 community organizing nonprofits working for social and economic justice.
Fr. Robert Vitillo, CCHD National Executive Director, will also be in Chicago on Wednesday for the grant announcements. Representatives from funded groups will be available to speak to the media.