When the Catholic bishops of the United States established the Catholic Campaign for Human Development in 1970, they mandated the Campaign 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, CCHD can point to hundreds of CCHD-funded organizations which have grown to extend great influence in their communities for the common good. CCHD is committed to supporting organizations led by low-income individuals as they work to break the cycle of poverty and improve their communities.
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.
CCHD has two Grant Programs:
Community Development Grant Program
CCHD Community development grant amounts range between $25,000 and $75,000. Community Development grants support efforts that demonstrate a commitment to the dignity of the human person. CCHD-funded groups are led by people living in poverty and work to address the root causes of poverty by nurturing solidarity between the poor and non-poor and facilitating the participation of people living in poverty in decisions that perpetuate poverty in their lives. As part of such efforts, low-income people gain the ability to identify barriers, brainstorm solutions, and take action to change problematic structures and systems in their communities.
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Economic Development Grant Program
CCHD Economic Development grant amounts range between $25,000 and $75,000. CCHD supports economic development initiatives that significantly include the voice of the poor and marginalized in developing new businesses that offer good jobs and/or develop assets that will be owned and enjoyed by local communities.
Positive signs in the contemporary world are the growing awareness of the solidarity of the poor among themselves, their efforts to support one another, and their public demonstrations on the social scene which, without recourse to violence, present their own needs and rights... By virtue of their own evangelical duty, the church feels called to take her stand beside the poor, to discern the justice of their requests, and to help satisfy them, without losing sight of the good of groups in the context of the common good (39).
- Pope St. John Paul II, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, no. 39 (1987)