The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is the national, anti-poverty program of the U.S. Catholic Bishops. The bishops have given CCHD the mission to address the root causes of poverty in the United States through promotion and support of community-controlled, self-help organizations. Founded in 1969, CCHD has the complementary mission of educating on poverty and its causes in our country. This dual pastoral strategy of empowerment of the poor and education for justice reflects the mandate of the Scriptures and the principles of Catholic Social Teaching. (Link)
CCHD is a work of faith and transformation, and a sign of the Gospel at work. In low-income communities across the United States, CCHD puts into practice Catholic teaching on the life and dignity of every human person and the Gospel’s command to care for “the least of these” (Matthew 25). It also answers the Holy Father’s call to practice solidarity as we help the poor to help themselves overcome injustice and escape poverty. CCHD invests millions of dollars into organizations in Chicago and the United States that are committed to robust community and economic development.
The mission of CCHD is made possible by the generous support of Catholics in the United States. Through an annual collection taken up in parishes the Sunday before Thanksgiving, Catholics can invest in groups that animate the Social Teachings of the Church in the public arena. CCHD’s grants to local, low-income community organizations are awarded and evaluated in close partnership with local Catholic dioceses, and all grants are approved by the local bishop.
It is an honor to support more than $630,000 in grants this year to organizations (Link) in Cook and Lake County that are working on issues like public safety, immigration, housing, education, restorative justice, the rights of workers, seniors, and people with disabilities, and many other important social issues of our time. These organizations enable low-income individuals most affected by these matters to join and identify the root causes, make decisions and organize actions to improve their communities.
The Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the Archdiocese of Chicago’s anti-poverty program, addresses the root causes of poverty through education and grants to community-based, self-help organizations.
The late Cardinal Francis George discusses the great and prophetic work of the catholic campaign for human development in the Archdiocese of Chicago.
The “restoration of justice, reconciliation and forgiveness requires determination to transform unjust structures and to restore respect for the dignity of all men and women, created in God’s image and likeness.” – Pope Benedict XVI, Sacramentum Caritatis, #89
CCHD Fulfillment of the Basic Principles of Catholic Mission
Respect for Human Life and Dignity
- We focus on the lives and dignity of those who are low-income, vulnerable, or suffering economic or other injustice.
Priority for the Poor
- We practice the Church’s priority to help low-income and vulnerable people improve their lives and communities by their own actions.
- We work bottom up, emphasizing self-help, participation and decision-making by low-income individuals themselves to address their own situations.
- We focus on local communities seeking to invest in those closest to problems of poverty, as these communities addresses economic injustice working with local, state, or national institutions to address the causes of poverty.
- We stand with and for those who are affected by economic injustice and other injustices, seeking to strengthen communities.
Strengthening Family and Building Community
- We work to support and strengthen the fundamental social institutions of marriage and family and other mediating structures, including parishes, neighborhoods, community organizations, economic development groups and worker and other associations.