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Chicago, IL (November 9, 2007)Twenty-fourChicago metropolitan area community groups and organizations were recently awarded $533,000 in grant money from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to address the root causes of poverty with seniors, youth, immigrants, workers and the disabled in Cook and Lake counties.

With the support of Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, and coordinated with a series of public-service and internal parish announcements, this year’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) collection will take place the weekend of November 17 and 18 at 363 Archdiocesan parishes. The funds will be awarded in Fall 2008, with recipients chosen from many eligible community groups committed to social justice concerns including, affordable housing, immigrant and worker issues, and improved care for the elderly and disabled.

Since 2003, Chicago-area Catholics have responded with increasing generosity to the CCHD’s annual campaign, with yearly contributions steadily increasing, reaching nearly $1 million in 2000. In 2006, more than ninety-eight percent of parishes in the Archdiocese of Chicago participated in the CCHD annual campaign.

The information on the following pages summarizes the efforts of nine of the 24 social-justice groups that were awarded grants from Cardinal George on September 20, 2007. A complete listing of all 24 groups can be found at the end of this press release.

Albany Park Neighborhood Council (APNC)

APNC is an association of 22 member organizations that intends to use its $35,000 grant to continue to develop leaders and create collaborative solutions to housing-related problems in the Albany Park, West Ridge and Irving Park neighborhoods. In these areas, existing apartments are increasingly being converted to condominiums that are priced out of reach for the area’s low-income residents, while the monthly rent for those remaining one-bedroom apartments often exceeds $800.

Brighton Park Neighborhood Council (BPNC)

BPNC will use its $15,000 grant to develop community leaders among low-income Latinos who reside on the city’s southwest side. The BPNC will also continue to train youth leaders at Kelly High School to advocate locally and nationally for immigrant rights, and to raise college scholarship money for immigrant students.

Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI)

COFI will use its $35,000 grant to continue to reduce punitive, in-school policies that inordinately result in suspensions and arrests of low-income students in the Austin, Englewood, West Town and Lawndale neighborhoods. In 2003, COFI-trained parent leaders created POWER-PAC, Parents Organized to Win, Educate and Renew Policy Action Council, to work on disciplinary issues and the reinstatement of school recess programs. "The generous support of the CCHD has been instrumental in helping COFI work with POWER-PAC to grow its voice and power as a citywide organization of low-income parents of color,” said Ellen Schumer, director of COFI. Recently, POWER-PAC convinced public school officials to replace zero-tolerance measures with restorative justice and age-appropriate disciplinary policies by showing how these practices were detrimental to learning and correcting behavior.

Illinois Hunger Coalition (IHC)

IHC works to help eliminate or reduce poverty among the area’s underemployed, unemployed and immigrants from low-income neighborhoods and communities. IHC will use its $10,000 grant to empower immigrants to take leadership roles in their quest to respond to basic needs of immigrant communities in Lake County. "With funding from CCHD, we have developed relationships with policymakers at the local, state and national levels underscoring the urgent need for immigration reform," said IHC director Diane Doherty.

Lake County United (LCU)

LCUis a broad-based, citizens organization made up of 37 religious and non-profit member institutions that will use its $20,000 grant to work with low-income residents to improve educational and housing outcomes through the Housing and Educational Breakthroughs project. According to Tom Lenz, Director of LCU, “Changing the institutional structures takes time. The CCHD has been willing to support our affordable housing organizing for over two years, and in that time we’ve created new, affordable condominiums in Libertyville, preserved rental housing in Highwood, and won a commitment to build a new $31 million elderly care facility.”

Little Village Environmental Justice Organization (LVEJO)

Working to improve the environment and living conditions of residents on the city’s southwest side, LVEJO will use its $35,000 grant improve the air quality in one of Chicagoland’s most industrialized areas. Kimberly Wasserman Nieto, LVEJO’s director, notes that “CCHD funding has helped Little Village community members come together and fight to improve our community’s environment by cleaning up our yards and our air.” Going forward, LVEJO plans to play a key role to ensure that the Chicago Park District constructs a clean, safe public park that meets community needs on the site of the former Washburn Trade School at 31 st St. and Kedzie Ave.

Logan Square Neighborhood Association (LSNA)

A grant of $40,000 was awarded to LSNA to unite institutions and inhabitants of the Logan Square and Lathrop/Hamlin neighborhoods to build, protect and retain the viability of businesses, schools, churches and recreational facilities. Affordable housing is also a priority issue, as the price of single-family homes in Logan Square often surpasses $500,000, limiting many residents’ options. Lissette Castañeda, first vice president of LSNA, and a parishioner of St. Sylvester Parish, says, “The CCHD is helping me develop as a leader. By supporting the LSNA, CCHD has helped us win more victories to stop the displacement of our community.”

Northwest Neighborhood Foundation (NNF)

NNF is in its twenty-second year of violence prevention on the city’s lower, northwest side, and the group will use its $35,000 grant to continue to positively impact the reduction of crime and gang violence through the use of safety cameras and community block clubs.

Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP)

SWOPplans to use its $20,000 grant to continue its work with twenty-six religious and community organizations to reduce gang activity and violence on Chicago’s southwest side. "The CCHD’s support of the SWOP has been crucial to our anti-violence initiative, as our leaders, in partnership with CeaseFire outreach workers, have reduced violence by almost 70 percent in the districts we've worked together," says Jeff Bartow, director of SWOP. Additionally, s ince 2005, SWOP has enrolled 60 parents in a mentoring program while also helping children travel safely between home and school.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is the domestic anti-poverty, social justice program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The CCHD’s mission is to address the root causes of poverty in America through promotion and support of community-controlled, self-help organizations and transformative education. Since its founding in 1970, the CCHD has supported more than 4,000 self-help projects developed by grass roots groups of poor persons in the U.S.

For more information about the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Catholic Campaign for Human Development, contact Elena Segura at esegura@archchicago or 312--5333.

The following organizations have received a share of the $533,000 grant money from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) to address the root causes of poverty with seniors, youth, immigrants, workers and the disabled in Cook and Lake Counties.

  • Access Living, $15,000 for disability issues
  • Albany Park Neighborhood Council, $35,000 for immigrant issues
  • Alianza , $5,000 for leadership development
  • Blocks Together, $15,000 for violence prevention issues
  • Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, $15,000 for education issues
  • Chicago ACORN , $15,000 for violence prevention issues
  • Chicago Coalition for the Homeless , $10,000 for economic development issues
  • Chicago Worker’s Collaborative, $40,000 for workers’ issues
  • Community Organizing for Family, $35,000 for education issues
  • Community Renewal Society, $15,000 for seniors’ issues
  • Developing Communities Project, $15,000 for education issues
  • Illinois Hunger Coalition, $10,000 for immigrant issues
  • Interfaith Leadership Project, $30,000 for immigrant issues
  • Korean American Resource and Cultural Center, $5,000 for youth initiatives
  • Lake County United, $20,000 for housing issues
  • Latino Union of Chicago, $20,000 for workers’ issues
  • Little Village Environmental Justice, $35,000 for environment issues
  • Logan Square Neighborhood Association, $40,000 for housing issues
  • Maternal Wellness Project, $3,000 for women and family health issues
  • Northwest Neighborhood Federation, $35,000 for violence prevention issues
  • Progress Center for Independent Living, $15,000 for disability issues
  • Southwest Organizing Project, $20,000 for violence prevention issues
  • TARGET Area Development Corporation, $35,000 for violence prevention issues
  • WomanCraft, Incorporated, $50,000 for economic development issues.

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