When the Catholic bishops of the United States established the CCHD in 1969, they mandated the Campaign to fund "such projects as voter registration, community organizations, community-run schools, minority-owned cooperatives and credit unions, capital for industrial development and job training programs, and setting up of rural cooperatives." Today, we point to hundreds of CCHD — funded organizations that have grown to extend and build bonds in their communities for the common good.
Annual CCHD contributions to support community organizations are made possible by Catholics throughout the United States who contribute to CCHD each year. To qualify for CCHD funds, applicant organizations must not promote, in any way, activities that work against Catholic values. CCHD's grants to local anti-poverty efforts are screened, awarded and monitored in close partnership with local Catholic dioceses. CCHD grants to groups in a local community require the explicit approval of the bishop of that diocese.
CD grants support efforts that nurture solidarity between communities of different socio-economic backgrounds, facilitating the participation of people living in poverty in the institutional decisions that perpetuate poverty in their lives. In CD projects, people who are low-income gain the ability to identify barriers, brainstorm solutions, and take action to change problematic structures and systems in their communities.
Learn more about Community Development criteria, guidelines, and policies here.
ED grants support initiatives that significantly include the voice of low-income individuals and marginalized people in developing new businesses that create social benefits, offer good jobs and/or develop assets that will be owned and enjoyed by local communities. The following types of Economic Development Initiatives are eligible for funding:
- Real Estate Initiatives (ex. Community Land Trusts)
- Business Incubators and Marketplaces (ex. farming, commercial kitchens, food sales)
- Community Development Financial Institutions (ex. credit unions, micro-enterprise loan funds)
- Social Purpose and Training Businesses
- Worker-Owned and Community-Owned Businesses (ex. cooperative)
Learn more about Economic Development criteria, guidelines, and policies here.
The applicant organization must demonstrate both the intention and the capacity to effectively work toward the elimination of the root causes of poverty and to enact institutional change. The organization's efforts should directly benefit a relatively large number of people, rather than a few individuals. CCHD defines institutional change as:
We define institutional change as:
- Modification of existing laws and/or policies, meaning changing the behavior of individuals and institutions (including governmental entities) to benefit the community, especially the disenfranchised persons, low-income persons, or otherwise persons experiencing social and economic injustice.
- Establishment of participatory and just social structures and/or redistribution of decision-making powers so that people living in poverty are involved in policy-making that affects their lives.
The following actions are often interpreted as IC but do not fit our definition:
Advocacy for an individual or many individuals, resulting in a more just situation for some individual(s), but not changing the structure or official policy of the institution; changes in attitudes of persons who provide services to low-income people, but not affecting the government, corporate or agency policies and structures.
Difference between direct service and systemic change
- Direct service organizations
- Serve an immediate need, meets basic needs
- Does not challenge or confront the root causes of poverty
- Creates alternatives structures/programs
- Do not address the WHY
Ex: Education. Rather than addressing why schools in economically distressed communities lack quality teachers and are consistently under resourced, a direct service program would create a mentoring program to help fill that gap but does not put pressure on the institutional structure to change that unjust reality.
We DO NOT fund:
- Organizations with primary focus on direct service (e.g. daycare centers, recreation programs, community centers, scholarships, subsidies, counseling programs, referral services, cultural enrichment programs, direct clinical services, emergency shelters and other services, refugee resettlement programs, etc.)
- Advocacy efforts where only staff, a few individuals, or middle to upper-income people are speaking for a particular low-income constituency without the direct involvement and leadership of low-income individuals.
- An organization that is exempt from federal income tax under a section of the Internal Revenue Code other than section 501(c)(3).
- An organization that engages in political campaign intervention prohibited under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
- An organization that promotes or participates in activities that support principles contrary to Catholic Teaching or work against the USCCB's priorities to defend the life and dignity of all human persons, to strengthen family life and the institution of marriage, and to nurture diversity.
- Organizations controlled by governmental (federal, state, local) bodies.
- Research projects, surveys, planning and feasibility studies, etc.
- Individually owned, for-profit businesses.
- Organizations that would use CCHD money for re-granting purposes or to fund other organizations.
Because the development of the human person is central to Catholic Social Teaching, we consider initial and continual leadership development a central component to creating effective and sustainable change. Training can include elements of organizing, board development, issue cuts, power analysis, week-long training, etc. – anything that equips your leaders with the skills in the field of community or economic development. While personal development is important, we do not recognize “life skills” or “personal transformation” as leadership development. That might be the fruit of your training but should not be the focus.
Low-Income Control & Benefit
At least 50 percent of those benefiting from the organization's efforts must be people experiencing poverty. Low-income community members must maintain a strong voice in the organization’s leadership, both in its governance structure and its policy decisions, especially through direct participation in the board of directors. We believe that people who are experiencing a particular problem are best equipped to develop solutions to that problem.
We evaluate organizational development plans by assessing the capacity and track record of the applicant organization. You must demonstrate some experience and history related to what you’re proposing funding for. In addition to having a proven record of affecting institutional change, you should demonstrate capacity in terms of:
- Financial capacity – ability to raise/manage funds, be self-sufficient
- Experience and involvement of board members
- Collaboration with other institutions and/or participation in coalitions
- Ability to grow your membership
September 1-October 15
For new organizations, this is the most important step in the grant process. The pre-application allows you to outline your organization’s general qualifications and plans, and invites us to advise you on its eligibility and readiness for grant support. It is our intent through the pre-app that:
- We help interested organizations gain an understanding of CCHD’s mission and criteria
- Help you determine whether or not your work is a good match for CCHD funding
- Allow CCHD to determine if an applicant’s proposal is consistent with CCHD criteria and priorities
- Advise CCHD on whether the group should be invited to submit the full application.
Due December 15
If your pre-application is approved, your organization will be offered the opportunity to prepare and submit a longer, more detailed application along with supporting documentation. The deadline to submit full applications is December 15th.
The Allocations Committee will conduct site visits meet with you and your leaders, follow up on items in your application, and learn more about your challenges and accomplishments.
Recommendations & Approval
Factors that determine who will receive funding include quality of the organization’s application, site visit, adherence to Catholic moral and social teaching along with a number of funding factors include how much we collected this year (which varies every year), the number of applicants that year, and the priorities of the Archdiocese. Recommendations will be prepared by CCHD staff and the Allocations Committee then submitted to the Cardinal, who makes the final decisions.
Organizations approved for funding will be notified at the end of May, and expected to attend a Grant Agreement Meeting in mid-June. First grant installments will be disbursed in July, once all necessary paperwork has been received.