From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Deacon Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 48, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302

National CCHD grants awarded in Spokane Diocese, Washington state

by Bonita Lawhead, Inland Register staff

(From the Sept. 12, 2002 edition of the Inland Register)

Scott Cooper, parish social ministries director, doesn’t know if it has ever happened before. But he was greatly pleased to announce that all three of the grant applications submitted to the national portion of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development from the Spokane Diocese were awarded funding this year.

In addition, two multi-diocesan applications that included the Spokane Diocese also received national grant funding.

CCHD is the U.S. bishops’ national effort to combat the root causes of poverty. A portion of the donations from diocesan collections are kept within the diocese for local grants; the other portion is sent to the national office for grants distributed throughout the United States.

Cooper said it was even more significant to receive the national grant funds in a year when the CCHD collection realized lower donations nationally and the number of submitted grant applications was higher. “The choices were tougher to make,” Cooper said, “and the grant award criteria were observed much more closely.”

Organizations receiving grant awards from the national level:

• VOICES, $20,000, for the third year of a three-year program cycle. Cooper said VOICES is an “ideal model of what CCHD hopes to do, empowering low-income people to organize themselves for their own advancement. It’s been effective ... in bringing otherwise voiceless people together to make them advocates for themselves.”

One example of their effectiveness was convincing the Spokane City Council to increase the amount for human services to one percent of the total city budget. That may not seem like much, but until then, the budget had only been one-half of one percent.

• The Justice Alliance Education Fund, which is the legal name of the Spokane Alliance and Communities Organized for Yakima County, $30,000 for leadership development in the “public arena for the common good.”

The Alliance covers Spokane, Yakima, Franklin and Benton counties, and has a consortium of members that includes churches, labor and teacher unions, and civic organizations, including the VOICES group.

The premise of the Alliance is that when groups join together to seek solutions or changes to social problems, they can be much more effective.

• Okanogan Communities Development Council, $25,000, to continue its efforts to develop small businesses with living wage jobs for small-diameter wood processing in Twisp and Tonasket. The OCDC was awarded a start-up grant from the Campaign two years ago.

Two multi-diocese groups won grant funding.

• The Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center in Seattle received $30,000, which will continue the Women’s Justice Circles in Spokane, Seattle, Yakima and Portland. Four of these circles, which help women learn to particularly address those issues that affect them, were held in Spokane last spring.

• The Northwest Federation of Community Organizers received $40,000 for their work coordinating community organizing around food stamps, health care and access and living-wage ordinances. This group works in all dioceses of the Pacific Northwest, Cooper said.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development was started by the United States bishops in 1969 to help poor people help themselves. Its mission is two-fold: to provide education and empowerment about the issues that affect the poor, and to provide economic development in ways that would help break the cycle of poverty.

In expressing his gratitude, Cooper said that the projects typify good examples of what the CCHD program hopes to accomplish. “This is what CCHD dollars do,” he said.

In the Spokane Diocese, funds for the CCHD are part of the Collection for the Catholic Church in the United States, which is taken in May.

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