Among all charities in Chicago working for the well-being of the community, we can find Catholic Charities. Operating as a nonprofit organization guided by the word of the Christian God, this organization aims to help everyone who is in need. From children education to homelessness, Catholic Charities has the significant goal of providing shelter, food, resources and counseling to individuals who have lost hope or have no one to support them in the City of Chicago.
The organization serves every neighborhood in the Chicago area and its suburbs. With more than 150 programs this philanthropic entity operates in more than 164 locations throughout the wind city. Helping over 1 million people every year the Catholic Charities has the mission to assist everyone who needs it regardless its economic, ethnic or religious background. Empowering individuals of all groups to beware of their true potential to overcome adversity, grow and have a different and better life.
Catholic charities serve individuals since the day they were born (even before) until the day they die. Offering a wide range of services that cover every stage of life, Catholic Charities has been there to ensure babies are being well-fed, moms are healthy, kids are going to school instead of becoming part of gangs, seniors are healthy and have a decent place to live and communities are working hard to stay away from violence, organized crime and poverty.
As a matter of fact, only 8% of what is donated to the Charity goes to the staff members and administrative expenses. 92% of every donation goes to support the charity’s programs. Even though the organization operates as the Archdiocese of Chicago social arm, the institution funds itself and is financially independent of it.
The Mission of doing the right thing
As Yosef Meystel has already said in this article, the charity’s mission is to help those who are in need in the wind city and its suburbs. Its main mission is to provide outstanding professional services with compassion and love. Helping individuals and their families become powerful and independent. The last thing that should be forgotten is that we are all equal and have the same right to live a meaningful and dignified life.
The values of the organization are based on those taught by the Catholic Church. These ideas include the belief in life as the most sacred gift ever given to humans. Also, it believes that all humans must live with dignity, responsibilities, and rights. Social structures as marriage and family are core to human existence and development, therefore they should be supported. Besides, the charity believes that we should all work to meet our neighbor’s needs since we are all responsible for the well-being of God’s creation.
How did it all start?
In 1917 a group of Catholic businessmen decided to create a central Catholic Charity in Chicago with the help of the Cardinal Mundelein so they could serve some people who were struggling to meet their needs in some of the poorest communities in the area. The World War I had just ended and there were many issues with immigrant and epidemic that needed to be addressed in every community located in the wind city.
This is how in January of 1918, 200 board members were addressed by Cardinal Mundelein to create an agency dedicated to collect funds for serving the poor. After the organization was created it took over 12 months for 50,000 people to contribute to its cause and help to offer food, housing, nursing and education to those who were suffering.
During the multiple crisis and difficult moments that have taken place in the history of the United States, Catholic Charities has been there as a key partner in the city. Working hard to aid families who are struggling to survive and lack employment opportunities. The organization has helped people for decades so everyone can have access to education (public or private), has a decent meal in their plates and a neat place to sleep.
As other nonprofits, Catholic Charities has grown in time and has become one of the largest organizations in Chicago dedicated to fighting poverty and offering services for the orphans, seniors and even wildlife. Thanks to the implementation of different social programs and the support of donors and philanthropists the charity has been able to distribute resources in virtually every corner of the Chicago Area. Also, the organization has been successful in the task of providing emergency assistance, employment, training and counseling services to different communities.
It has been a long journey and there are still many actions that need to take place in order to improve Chicago’s different communities. However, Catholic Charities has proven along the years that as long as there are committed individuals to their communities, there is hope to build a better, equal and sustainable future for all.