CCHD is currently not accepting letters of inquiry or applications for its Strategic National Grant Program.

See our past Strategic National Grant Program Awardees

I. Background

As part of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development Review and Renewal, the Bishops authorized a new way to carry out CCHD's mission "to bring good news to the poor, liberty to captives and new sight to the blind."

In the Review and Renewal, CCHD committed itself to:

"… establish CCHD Strategic National Grants (SNGs), setting aside a portion of CCHD resources for strategic grants focused on particular needs, issues or priorities. The amount and priorities will be determined by the Bishops' Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. In keeping with CCHD's mission, applications will focus on strategies for fighting the root causes of poverty in the United States. In keeping with the idea of a "strategic" program and CCHD's Catholic identity, applications will receive higher consideration if they:

1) propose innovative and promising strategies for helping the poor help themselves;
2) clearly embody one or more of the USCCB priorities (human life and dignity, evangelization, strengthening marriage and the family, cultural diversity, etc.);
3) focus on neglected dimensions of overcoming poverty (e.g. responsible fatherhood, family life, economic instability etc.);
4) anticipate near-term problems (e.g. the recent housing, opioid crisis, racial unrest); or
5) focus on urgent national strategic emphases (to be established on a year-to-year basis by the CCHD Subcommittee, based on input from key CCHD partners and a survey of the U.S. Catholic Bishops on priorities for overcoming poverty, e.g. rural poverty, institutional racism, immigration and urban violence).

These grants are not local, but can be regional or national. A group of dioceses can work together to develop a proposal. Proposals are to be consistent with CCHD mission (overcoming root causes of poverty) and reflect CCHD foundations (Catholic teaching, participation, non-partisanship, etc.). These grants are focused on particular situations or issues where broader, strategic, innovative and focused action is needed.

II. Moving Forward

The USCCB Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development has sought to carry out the commitment by reviewing and supporting efforts that both meet needs specified as priority by the Conference of Bishops and the more traditional issues addressed by CCHD.


Each year the CCHD Subcommittee will set aside a portion of CCHD's resources from the annual collection.

A.    Priority

The grants will reflect efforts to advance the established USCCB/CCHD priorities.

Among those are:

  • Defending the life and dignity of the human person;
  • Evangelization;
  • Strengthening and defending marriage;
  • Promotion of cultural diversity in the Church.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development supports those goals by:

  • Continuing the mission of Jesus and his Church: "bring good news to poor, liberty to captives, new sight to blind and set the downtrodden free…"
    • Priority for the poor: low-income focus and participation in decision-making
    • Subsidiarity: focus on local communities, empower/give voice to/ build capacity of those closest to problems
    • Solidarity: build bridges between poor and non-poor, build community concerned for the common good
    • Justice/Institutional Change:  focus on causes, "charity begins with justice… pursue the institutional path" (Caritas in Veritate).

These grants seek to take into mind the words of Pope Francis in Evangeli Gaudium: "The need to resolve the structural causes of poverty cannot be delayed, not only for pragmatic reason of its urgency for the good order of society, but society needs to be cured of a sickness that is weakening and frustrating it which can only lead to new cries."

B.    Types of Grants

There will be two kinds of strategic national grants:

1)     Grants that will focus on USCCB priorities;

2)     Grants that fund proposals that work on a major priority that is linked to USCCB/CCHD priority and developed by local regional or national groups.

C.     Assessment

Each grant will include outcomes that are defined, are measurable, assess impact and are replicable (i.e. lessons can be shared with others). Successful grantees will be asked to complete evaluations and allow site visits with leaders and the community that is impacted by the grant.

D.    Strategic Scope and Focus

Grants will focus on aspects of poverty that have been neglected, misunderstood and have regional and/or national dimensions to make significant impact on reducing poverty. These grants should anticipate, look forward, and bring new energy or urgency to factors which contribute to poverty on a substantial scale.  Special attention should be given to addressing poverty that contributes to violence in urban communities and /or the unique dimensions of rural poverty.

E.    Duration

Each grant will be for an amount between $250,000.00 and $500,000.00 and is eligible for annual renewal for a period not to exceed five years for a total not to exceed $2.5 million.  

F.     Process

CCHD staff and consultants will solicit and review grant proposals and interview prospective grantees.  A docket of candidates will be presented to the CCHD Subcommittee for approval. Upon approval, the successful grantees will be notified and grant agreements will be negotiated. Biannual reports will be provided to the USCCB CCHD Subcommittee to evaluate progress.

III. Plan

A.    Focus

For this round of strategic national grants, the Subcommittee has chosen to focus on the crucial links and impacts connecting family life and structure and poverty. Specifically, the Subcommittee wishes to address both how poverty impacts families and how family factors contribute to poverty.

There continues to be unfortunate, unnecessary and unhelpful polarization in discussions about poverty. Some focus primarily on economic factors – unemployment, low wages, lack of opportunity, discrimination, etc. Others focus primarily on family factors- marriage, education, absence of fathers, teenage pregnancy, etc.

The Catholic Church's experience and the realities of life and low-income communities reflect the fact that both economic and family factors often contribute to poverty and both factors often need to be addresses to overcome poverty.

CCHD will give priority to organizations, ideas, proposals, and activities that address and overcome the disconnect between economic and family factors. Additional weight will also be given to initiatives that integrate economic development and community organizing strategies.

B.     Priority and Strategy

CCHD wishes to address factors that increase poverty among families, including:

  • Lack of responsible fatherhood among men
  • Instability of marriages among expectant families
  • Environmental conditions for families in low-income communities
  • Urban youth despair and violence
  • Economic pressures on expectant families
  • Immigration
  • Lack of affordable housing
  • Mass incarceration
  • Re-entry of ex-offenders and their families and encouraging family integration
  • Lack of parental involvement in public education
  • Declining rural communities
  • Racism and the impacts of racism 
  • Policies that harm families and contribute to poverty
  • Youth gangs and lack of community initiatives that reduce crime and violence among youth
  • Drug Addictions
  • Sponsoring initiatives to maintain family among those at risk of deportation

IV. Successful Grantees

A. Grantee Requirement

For consideration for a Strategic National Grant, organizations must:

  • Be an institution or group of organizations with strong ties to the Catholic community and adhere to the same guidelines and legal requirements of current CCHD community development and economic development grants;
  • Establish means for participatory and just social structures and/or redistribution of decision-making powers;
  • Agree to education and formation on the USCCB pastoral priorities and how they respond to the threats of poverty and its effects on families;
  • Demonstrate a strategic and broad long-range plan for reducing poverty;
  • Involve participation of low income people in the decision making of the organization.

B. Collaboration

  • Where possible, agree to work with existing USCCB structures / departments;
  • Where possible, work with diocese or currently groups funded by CCHD –
  • CCHD places high value on participating with local diocesan staff / leadership;  
  • Work with broader communities to address social and economic conditions threatening the sustainability of families and the dignity of the human person;
  • Demonstrate ongoing leadership development and increasing the skills of low-income persons and their understanding of the pastoral priorities.

C. Financial Stability

The organization should be able to demonstrate a clear vision for the development of financial capacity. This may include membership dues, grassroots fundraising, foundation, corporate support, and/or other strategies for fundraising.

They must demonstrate:

  • A means and plans to leverage CCHD grant funding;
  • The intention and the capacity to effectively employ the pastoral priorities toward the elimination of the root causes of poverty and to enact institutional change

V. Timeline

Through March 22: Catholic Campaign for Human Development Staff receives and reviews letters of interest

April 25: Deadline for Proposals

June 11: CCHD Subcommittee Meeting / Bishops Approval

Letters of interest should be sent no later than March 22 to:

Ralph McCloud
Director, Catholic Campaign for Human Development
3211 4th NE
Washington DC 20017

The letter should include a general introduction about the prospective grantee and an overall outline of how the group would use CCHD grants to address poverty given the state criteria.