The Washington, D.C.-based Catholic Campaign for Human Development, an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has announced $10 million in grants to support projects that address the causes of poverty in the U.S.
The money from CCHD — the largest-ever distribution of grants from the 32-year-old organization — will fund 317 local projects across the country selected without regard to religious affiliation. Many of the organizations supported by CCHD support the unemployed, the newly arrived, or those who have been "stuck" in the cycle of poverty by helping them to develop leadership skills, to speak out on behalf of their families, and to propose and work toward solutions to long-term social problems. A portion of the funds — $1.4 million — is also designated for economic development grants that focus on job creation and business development.
"CCHD grants are designed to help poor people, many of whom work at several jobs, by supporting their community-based efforts to seek solutions to attain greater justice where they live and work," said CCHD executive director Father Robert J. Vitillo. "More than 32 million people in the United States live below the poverty line and in the vast majority of cases they do not choose to be poor. They find themselves in such situations because of changing social conditions, lack of educational opportunities, or inability to find work that pays a living wage."