Video on Catholic Campaign for Human Development – question

I received an e-mail from Fr. Rutler about a video produced about the CCHD – Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

I am puzzled.

I was under the impression that the CHD had been cleaned up a little.

Sincerely, what gives?   I would benefit from some well-informed comments.  I bet a lot of the priests and bishops who read would as well.

So… let’s keep the spewing out of the conversation.   Make this substantive.

Apparently the USCCB is going to urge a collection.

Spew and I delete you.


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  1. Jaybirdnbham says:

    Last November, Bishop Baker (Birmingham) opted to take up a different collection rather than for CCHD. Perhaps this yr he’ll do the same thing, and it would be interesting to know how many individual bishops in the U.S. take this option rather than collecting for CCHD.

    Other than that, I have nothing substantive to offer, except that I LOVE the “drop an acorn in the basket” idea! That idea truly rocks!

  2. Does the CCHD ever open its books? Is there any info on it on the Bishops’ Conference web site? That would be a good place to start.

  3. Michaelus says:

    Here is a list of grantees. CCHD does specify that funded activities must “… conform to the moral and social teachings of the Catholic Church”.

  4. chironomo says:

    What is the source of this video? Is the information accurate? The narrator says that the CCHD used to fund ACORN, but it has stopped since. She then goes on to say that it still funds “other groups like them”. What groups? If the CCHD is a charitable organization, it’s books are required to be open and accessible.

    I have no doubt that the CCHD has problems, but this video seems more like a hit piece…no specifics, names of groups or amounts of funding given.

    Also, why would the CCHD funds be restricted “by law” from going to groups that directly help the poor. There may be reasons why its funding guidelines restrict certain groups, but I doubt that the reason is because they help the poor. Perhaps they are unable to fund groups that are not registered organizations with operating expenses that fall within a certain percentage of income (United way has such restrictions also)….

    I’m just saying that this video seems a bit deceptive. [But you haven’t dealt with anything substantive. You have merely put forward an ad hominem about who made the video without dealing with claims.]

  5. TNCath says:

    I was once told that diocesan bishops are allowed to keep a portion of this collection for local charitable interests. Is this true?

    I do know that some individual bishops have pledged diocesan funds to support charitable organizations with a political axe to grind that are not supportive of Church teachings. I’m just wondering if they are using CCHD funds as well.

  6. Aaron says:

    When the revelations about millions going from CCHD to ACORN came out, I seem to remember hearing about many other Alinskyite groups they funded. I got the impression that wasn’t just a mistake or a bureaucratic oversight, but that the CCHD was simply a radical leftist organization that wanted to support such groups. That’s just what they do.

    At our church that week, our second collection is going to the local Catholic food pantry.

  7. Aaron says:

    I meant to add: There are so many good Catholic organizations that do care for the needy and could use our money. Why bother giving any to a group that’s even suspect, a group that’s gone this far off the rails in the past even if it now claims to be reformed? Why take that chance?

    Why do Catholics need a huge United Way-style charity clearinghouse that collects our money and distributes it out to individual groups we’ve never heard of anyway? Doesn’t that kind of take us off the hook, discernment-wise? At the least, it doesn’t seem very subsidiarity-friendly.

  8. chironomo says:

    Hmm… looked at the Grantees list that Michaelus provided. Lots of groups begin with the description “…to organize” or “to empower”. Preble Street Resource Center and Boston Workers Alliance are both political action groups, with a large part of their funding going to lobbying efforts and “awareness campaigns” for issues such as homeless voter registration and the reform of CORI laws….perhaps laudable causes, but should these really be causes funded by Catholic parishioners, particularly without their knowledge? I would worry about such things as abortion and contraceptive advocacy for some of the listed groups, particularly those with vague descriptions such as “fund and assist with poverty related issues”. I just don’t know…

  9. chironomo says:

    Wow…some scary stuff on that Grantees List that Michaelus linked to above. Look through it if you have time.

  10. wanda says:

    For those who wish, you may visit the Bishops website, usccb.urg and search ‘CCHD’ There is a letter from one of the Bishops on this very topic and I’m sure you will find more info there.

  11. wanda says:

    Sorry, that should read

    Getting bleary-eyed from sending emails to everyone reminding them to call their Congressman right now, later is too late for unborn children. Tell them to keep any kind of abortion funding out of ‘health care?’ reform. Nancy and the House are going to vote tomorrow. CALL!

  12. Bryan says:

    The American Life League has a graphic you can print out and put in the envelope instead that, and I’m paraphrasing here “I don’t support campaigns that ask for money for organizations which distribute my money to groups whose aims are antithetical to Catholic teaching, so, I’m donating my money to a group more faithful to the Church”.

    Of course, they will probably get thrown out in the counting room and your envelope number noted, but…

    Just sayin’…

  13. Larry R. says:

    Please go here:

    This organization has been investigating CCHD grant recipients for some time, and has recently turned up more recipients who are at cross purposes to Catholic moral teaching. I pray that every Priest and Bishop on this site will review the materials and come to a determination on whether they should really be supporting CCHD.

    My own opinion, CCHD is at best a very problematic organization. By their own admission, they do nothing to directly support the poor (although most Catholic donors believe they do), but are about a fuzzy sort of left-wing style “empowerment.” As such, they tend to ally with left wing groups, many of whom have beliefs antithetical to Catholic moral teaching. This makes it virtually inevitable that monies donated by faithful Catholics will wind up supporting causes that work against the Truth fought for by the Church. I pray that I shall not be banned for these opinions, I do not intend to “spew,” but personnel is policy, and CCHD, from its very inception as an idea spawned by Alinsky, has been and remains closely aligned with left-wing pressure groups, virtually all of which support abortion, gay marriage, and a host of other causes Catholics cannot support.

    I believe that the data gathered by Bellarmine Veritas supports my claims.

    You might want to check this out, as well:

    One final note, all the groups who support abortion, gay marriage, prostitution, etc., uncovered by Bellarmine Veritas Ministry, were funded for 2009-2010, after the measures which were supposed to have been put in place in light of the ACORN funding issue preventing such funding.

  14. Larry R. says:

    One more relatively good, concise article on CCHD:

  15. Dave N. says:

    I’m certainly no fan of the CCHD, but this video comes across as a homemade hit piece–btw did she get permission to use the logo of the NCCB? It’s always important for opposition to be informed, accurate and unbiased otherwise credibility will suffer in the long run. And I also have no idea about this sort of shadowy group that produced the video. Do people know this Mary Ann Kreitzer? I’m not familiar with her or her work. [But your comments don’t really deal with the substance of my question, do they. Also, I asked for discussion to get to the bottom of the claims. Right? Substance please.]

  16. The very concept of CCHD is problematic to begin with. It was conceived as a funding source for community organizing rather than direct aid to the poor. ACORN funding was just the tip of the iceberg. Over the last year, funding for many more problematic organizations was uncovered. What is being called for is a thorough reform of CCHD so that it actually fulfills its stated purpose of helping the poor.

  17. Aaron says:

    If “the very concept of CCHD is problematic to begin with,” why bother trying to reform it at all? You’d have to complete change it to get rid of the central concept of Alinsky-style group politics. Why not just say it was worth a try and turned out to be a bad way of doing things, and close the doors on it? We already have lots of other charities that aren’t built on that concept; we can just switch that second collection to one of them. [But are the claims of the video true?]

  18. Hibernian says:

    ait has been very well-documented for years that the CHD and later the CCHD has been funding all sorts of organizations. MOSt of them follow policies inconsistent with CAtholic teaching. I stopped contributing years ago.

    My own unsubstantiated analysis is two-fold: 1. There are staff people at the USCCB who really favor this type of funding. 2. The bishops would have to admit that they have been wrong, and that they have been wasting funds without much supervision for years.

    Could the bishops ever admit that they, individually or collectively, have been WRONG? We all know the answer to that.

  19. lacrossecath says:

    Wow, thank you Michaelus for that list. I looked through my state and I was left with a bad taste in my mouth. Why would I give any money to some of these groups? Clearly it is time to take out the trash. Also thanks to Larry R. I was not aware of this investigation.

  20. ckdexterhaven says:

    That list from the CCHD that Michaelus linked to is eye opening. The list is riddled with, dare I say full of, “community organizing” groups. I got to page 23, and every single one has the words community organizing in the group description. It’s almost as if the powers that be at CCHD knew ACORN was toxic, so tried to pacify us and tell us “hey we don’t fund ACORN anymore, but it’s all good.” I didn’t see ANY groups (like I said, I’m only on page 23) that are listed as homeless shelter, soup kitchen, crisis pregnancy center. I think I’m going to copy off the list, put it in the basket with magic marker that says “enough community organizing, more helping poor people, please”. Looks like the video is correct.

  21. MichaelJ says:


    Not directly related to the topic at hand, but according to Edna Townes, Bishop Baker has once again instituted a “separate” program. She writes:

    “our Catholic Charities Appeal is not connected in any way to Acorn. All monies given to the Catholic Charities Appeal is used only in our diocese to fund the ministries we support.
    CCHD is not connected to our appeal. Last year we did not have the annual collection for CCHD in November due to their involvement with Acorn.
    I hope the above answers your questions regarding Acorn and the Diocese.”

    emphasis added.

    Given that Bishop Baker, whom I greatly respect, has chosen to separately administer this years Catholic Charities Appeal, it seems that the allegations in the video are not too far off the mark.

  22. Nathan says:

    The CCHD webpage says that they give two kinds of grants:

    (Start quote from CCHD webpage)
    Community Organizing Grants

    CCHD-funded groups demonstrate a commitment to the dignity of the human person by bringing diverse people together to address the root causes of poverty in their communities, removing institutional barriers that keep historically marginalized and low-income people from reaching their full God-given potential. As part of such organized groups, low-income people gain the ability to identify these barriers, brainstorm solutions and take action to change them to better their communities.

    Economic Development Grants

    CCHD supports economic development initiatives that significantly include the voice of the poor and marginalized, developing new businesses that offer good jobs, and/or develop assets that will be owned and enjoyed by local communities.
    (end quote)

    If you dig a bit deeper, the specific criteria for CCHD community organizing grants specify that direct aid to the poor does not qualify:

    (start quote)
    Ineligible for Funding

    The following general classifications DO NOT meet CCHD criteria and/or guidelines for community organizing grants:

    Organizations with primary focus on direct service (e.g., daycare centers, recreation programs, community centers, scholarships, subsidies, counseling programs, referral services, cultural enrichment programs, direct clinical services, emergency shelters and other services, refugee resettlement programs, etc.)
    Advocacy efforts where only staff, a few individuals, or middle to upper-income people are speaking for a particular low-income constituency without the direct involvement and leadership of low-income individuals.
    Organizations controlled by governmental (federal, state, local), educational, or ecclesiastical bodies.
    Research projects, surveys, planning and feasibility studies, etc.
    Individually owned, for-profit businesses.
    Organizations that would use CCHD money for re-granting purposes, or to fund other organizations.
    (end quote)

    I read the second ineligibilty rule to eliminate most anything Catholic, since it would be controlled by an eccesiastical body. There are 2009 grants, though, to “ecumenical” organizations, so I’m not sure how that is applied in practice.

    The Economic Development grants have similar disqualifications:

    (start quote)
    Not Eligible for Funding

    Economic Development Institutions structured without opportunities for participatory control and ownership by low income people

    EDIs structured without opportunities to develop community-held assets (e.g., sole proprietorships, simple partnerships, or fee-simple housing projects are not eligible)

    EDIs owned or controlled by governmental agencies (federal, state, or local), educational, or ecclesiastical bodies

    EDIs whose primary focus is direct service (e.g. job training, business consulting, financial literacy, savings programs, or homeownership education programs by themselves are not eligible). Such services may complement an eligible EDI, but they cannot be the EDI’s primary focus.

    EDIs not structured to stand on their own as sustainable institutions

    EDIs that intend to re-grant CCHD monies to other organizations.
    (end quote)

    In Christ,

  23. ckdexterhaven says:

    CCHD gave the Tucson based Border Action Network $25,000. A member of their staff, Zaliah Zalkind’s biography reads: “Most recently, Zaliah has worked as Program Support Coordinator for Border Action Network in Tucson, AZ. His research interests include community sovereignty and decolonization, community organizing, deconstructing power relationships, and implementing localized alternatives to coercive globalization. ” Another BAN staffer, Zoe Hammer-Tamizuka’s resume includes being a prison abolitionist. (According to a talk she gave at the University of Arizona LGBT Studies Institute. Curiously, in BAN’s summer 2009 report, a quarter page “congratulatory ad” was placed by the University of Arizona LGBT studies. I’m just tellin ya where the money’s going.

  24. Nathan says:

    Sorry, here’s the link:

    In Christ,+

  25. Nathan says:

    All, here’s a narrative on a CCHD-funded group, again from the CCHD website:

    “If you stick with the process, change will come,” says Chris Hillman of the Seattle-based Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center (IPJC) which is helping low-income women take action on poverty issues. With the help of funding from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, IPJC’s Justice for Women project has held nearly 50 Women’s Justice Circles, bringing together low-income and homeless women with “collaborators” from churches, hospitals, colleges, and community organizations. Women in the circles identify the issues to be addressed, talk about solutions, and develop action plans that are transforming their communities. The circles have addressed such disparate topics as inequities in the local housing authority application process, dispute mediation and landlord/tenant rights, and screening and treatment for depression in homeless people.”

    Here’s a sample of the IPJC effort:

    In Christ,

  26. Father Ignotus says:

    If this video is available on YouTube or some other online video service, and someone knows of a link, please provide it. It will make it easier to share on platforms such as Facebook. Thanks!

  27. Father Ignotus says:

    Well, I just found it on YouTube. Here is the link for those who are interested:

  28. chironomo says:

    Fr Z;

    Sorry if my comment above was out of line…didn’t really mean it to be.

    This battle between Catholic Media Coalition and the CCHD goes back a ways. They launched a media blitz directed at the USCCB last year, using the election of Barrack Obama as a springboard with many of the same points as are in this video. I can’t tell when this video dates from, but it is obviously from within this past year.

    Their Letter To Bishops can be found at this link:

    As for the accuracy of what they’re claiming, it seems to be backed up by information on the USCCB website insofar as the types of groups funded being largely Community Organizing and Political Action groups.

    Looking at the CMC website, you get the impression that they have a definite political position as well, and their objections to the CCHD could be more due to their opposition to leftist groups rather than to their desire to have the CCHD fund more worthy causes.

  29. ckdexterhaven says:

    Ok, did some more sleuthing on another 2009 recipient of CCHD funds. COPA (Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action) in Monterey California, received $30,000. One of their partner groups is the Unitarian Universalist church who gave a talk and said this :”Mark R. will speak about this congregation’s relationship with COPA, Communities Organized for Relational Power in Action. Later in the service, I will speak about this core conviction: Individuals exist to make groups better, and groups exist to make individuals better. But first, allow me to introduce to you the intellectual ancestor of community organizations such as COPA: Saul Alinsky.” Yes, the same Saul Alinsky who dedicated his work to Lucifer. Here’s the link to that talk

    This community organizing group has only been in existence since 2003, yet they are receiving $30K. Surely there is a worthy food pantry with a longer track record that is more deserving?

  30. ckdexterhaven says:

    Justice Overcoming Boundaries (JOB) in San Diego County received $25K according to the CCHD grantees PDF. This group’s homepage says “Justice Overcoming Boundaries-An affiliate of the Gamaliel Foundation”. The CCHD website says it has only been in existence since 2004. The JOB’s home page is urging concerned citizens to call Congress to vote yes on Pelosicare.

  31. Margaret says:

    It’s clear that the root of the problem with CCHD is their focus on “community organizing” to the exclusion of all else. I can understand wanting to fund projects that aren’t simply direct aid: obviously food banks, homeless shelters, etc. are absolutely invaluable, but their focus really isn’t on helping people climb out of poverty in the long term. Yet the “community organizing” focus is clearly not the solution, either, and seems by definition to only include groups with socialist sympathies.

    What frustrates me is that apparently, under CCHD guidelines, even projects that focus on longer-term poverty solutions for individuals and families are not eligible. I’m thinking specifically here of an agricultural project that Opus Dei runs in Mexico. It’s been successful in teaching the rural farmers to use the poor-quality soil and limited water supplies as effectively as possible, and also helps groups of them to form cooperatives, so they can bargain for better prices on seed, buy larger pieces of equipment with pooled funds, negotiate better prices at market, etc. But because there isn’t a “speaking truth to power” component to the program, I think something comparable in the US would not qualify for CCHD funds. Yet that type of project seems to me to be much more in harmony with Church teachings on social justice than what I’ve been reading about here…

  32. j says:

    Problem with CCHD is in fact a fundamental one central to its mandate. It doesn’t do direct charity, whether providing food and shelter or educating or assisting people out of poverty. Its sole purpose is to fund organizations which then lobby government to provide charity. The inherent problem is that those lobbying groups are always going to trend socialist, and the expansion of government bureaucracy and handouts has the opposite effect to the true “empowerment” these groups claim they want, instead institutionalizing an underclass.

    It also defeats the idea that charity is part of what Catholics should do as Catholics. It promotes the idea that the Government should do it instead.

  33. Margaret, I agree completely.
    On the CCHD website, the grant application specifically states that they do NOT provide funds for agencies which provide direct social services. Perhaps they think this is covered by Catholic Charities.

    I understand the concept, however some organizations providing direct service DO raise community awarness. For example I am a board member of Ave Maria Home in Norwich, CT, affiliated with Good Counsel Homes in New York City.Good Counsel Homes Director, Chris Bell has a high media profile raising awarness of the crisis of homeless pregnant women in New York, as evidenced by a recent Catholic Register article. Good Counsel Homes is a pro-life, passionately Catholic organization which should receive funding from CCHD.
    Does he speak the truth to power? If you consider the abortion establishment power, then the answer is emphatically yes!
    I hope that next year, when CCHD is reorganized that excellent community organizers like Good Counsel Homes can recieve funding.

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