The Sr. MargaretCafferty Development of People Award, an activity of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), is presented annually to an individual or group whose work demonstrates an outstanding witness to gospel values and action on behalf of justice.  

Sr. Margaret Cafferty (1935-1997) was an educator, community organizer, and social justice leader who pioneered new models of building community and addressing poverty. 

A Presentation Sister, Sr. Cafferty served as executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and was a longtime member of the CCHD subcommittee.

The award was established in 1987 and was called the Development of People Award until 1997, when it was renamed in Sister Margaret Cafferty's honor after her death.

The Sr. Margaret Cafferty Development of People Award honors an individual or group who exemplifies a commitment to the development of people and the elimination of poverty in the United States Recipients of this award have made significant contributions to human development and have offered heroic responses to the needs of the economically disadvantaged in the United States.

Nomination Process

Nominations may be submitted by a CCHD Diocesan Director, lay or religious parish staff, a CCHD-funded organization, university faculty or staff, a mentor, or a colleague.

The nominator should submit the nomination form, a one-page recommendation, and up to two pages of supplementary biographical information, no later than December 15. For guidelines, please see the nomination form.

Selection Criteria

  • An individual or group who was or is particularly effective in working to break the cycle of poverty in the United States.;
  • An individual or group who has been or is presently involved in developing innovative strategies to accompanying poor and low income persons in the United States as they struggle to improve their situation and to change the structures that made and keep them poor;
  • An individual or group who has been or is presently creating community-based, self-help models among poor and low income groups in the United States that can be replicated in other parts of the country;
  • An individual or group who has been involved in helping to bring about significant human development and social change in their community; and
  • An individual or group whose life witnesses to Gospel values and action on behalf of justice.

Award Notification

National CCHD staff will seek endorsement by the local Catholic bishop prior to selecting recipient. One award recipient will be chosen and notified by January.

In 2018, CCHD will honor the recipient during a plenary event at the Catholic Social Ministry Gathering in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, February 3. CCHD will cover the recipient's travel and one overnight stay. 

Specific questions can be addressed to Maura Moser at

Past Winners include:

2017  Living Hope Wheelchair Association (Houston, TX)
2016  Lew Finfer and Massachusetts Communities Action Network/MCAN   
2015  CCHD Committee of the Archdiocese of Baltimore (Maryland)
2014  Fe y Justicia Workers Center (Houston, TX)
2013  Latino Union (Chicago, IL)
2012  Women's Justice Circles of the Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center (Seattle, WA)
2011  Bishop Roger Morin (Biloxi, MS)
2009  Fr. John A. Baumann, S.J., founder of PICO
2008  The Coalition of Immokalee Workers (Immokalee, FL)
2007  Comunidad en Movimiento (Los Angeles, CA)
2006  Craig Cuccia, founder of Café Reconcile (New Orleans, LA)
2005  Msgr. Neil A. Connolly (South Bronx, NY)
2004  Sister Petra Chavez, RSM, founder of CAMINOS (San Francisco, CA)
2003  Peter O'Connor, founder Fair Share Housing Development, Inc. (Cherry Hill, NJ)
2002  Ann Helmke and John Tippmann (Fort Wayne, IN)
2001  Sister Pat Davis, PBVM (San Jose, California)
2000  Sister Teresa Auad, OP (Indiantown, FL)
1998  Sister Charlotte Madigan, CSJ, and Father Ed Flahavan (Minneapolis)
1997  Rocio Escobedo
1996  Young Shin
1995  U.S. Bishops - Economic Justice for All pastoral letter
1994  Mr. David Finks, Mr. Patrick Flood, Father Michael Groden, Bishop John E. McCarthy,  Msgr. Geno Baroni – Catholic Committee on Urban Ministry
1993  Sister Margaret Cafferty, PBVM (California)
1992  Mr. Baldemar Velasquez, co-founder Farm Labor Organizing Committee (Texas)
1991  Dr. Albert H. Wheeler (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
1990  Sister Cathy Gorman (Apopka, FL)
1989  Ms. Gale Cincotta (Chicago, IL)
1988  Msgr. John J. Egan (Chicago, IL)