Catholic Charities USA Hosts Centennial Year Poverty Reduction Summit in San Jose/Santa Clara

Jan 29, 2010, 08:42 ET from Catholic Charities USA

Conference Engages Community, Recognizes Effective Programs

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Catholic Charities USA, the 170-member national human services organization committed to cutting poverty in half by 2020–hosted by Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County, Diocese of San Jose, CA, and joined by Catholic Charities agencies from around the region–convened one of 10 Centennial Summits yesterday at Santa Clara University as part of the organization's 100 year history.  The event brought together civic leaders, elected officials and all interested parties to address the devastation of poverty in the country.


The event featured a keynote address by Rev. Larry Snyder, president, Catholic Charities USA.  Others on hand included:  Bishop Patrick J. McGrath. Bishop of San Jose; Kirk Hanson, Executive Director, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University; Chris Block, Executive Director of the American Leadership Forum of Silicon Valley; Fred Ferrer, CEO, The Health Trust; and Marianne Jackson, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Blue Shield of California.

"In a country like ours, even in these tough times, it is simply unacceptable that close to 40 million people live in poverty," said Rev. Snyder.  "Catholic Charities agencies and Catholic Charities USA seek a sustained national commitment that will ensure a reduction in poverty.  Together, we can lift each other up.  Only collectively can we begin to change the face of poverty."

The summit also included an awards presentation honoring three Catholic Charities programs that are effectively working to reduce poverty in their communities. The innovative programs were recognized for best practices in Catholic Charities USA's poverty issue areas: health, housing, hunger, economic security, education/job training.  Each agency received a $25,000 award to invest in further development of their program.

  • Project H.O.P.E. - Catholic Charities Community Services, Phoenix, AZ
    Project H.O.P.E. (Help Out of Poverty forEver) assists people in generational poverty live a life of security, stability, and satisfaction. The program offers a continuum of services to help people investigate their own lives, develop skills and obtain social capital, resulting in a better future.
  • The Diocesan Immigration Support Network - Catholic Charities of Sacramento, Inc.
    This program provides leadership training and ongoing support to Parish Leaders, appointed by their Pastor. These leaders mobilize their parish community in support of the U.S. Bishops' advocacy efforts for Comprehensive Immigration Reform; conduct listening campaigns in their parishes to surface parishioners' concerns related to immigration; build relationships with local elected or community officials, such as city and county government, business leaders, law enforcement; and organize their parish community for the purpose of making changes in structures which keep people in poverty.
  • Family to Family Partnership - Catholic Charities of the East Bay, Oakland, CA
    The Family to Family Partnership is a family strengthening program that helps families improve the quality of their lives by empowering them toward self-sufficiency. The program, which includes 13 churches and 16 parish teams, is built on the belief that personal connections between parishes and clients play a critical role in helping families become economically self-sufficient.

The San Jose summit is part of a nationwide series that will culminate in Washington, DC, on September, 26, 2010.  The summits provide a forum for thought-leaders, major influencers and citizens-at-large to come together and act on poverty.  

Catholic Charities USA's members—more than 1,700 local Catholic Charities agencies and institutions nationwide—provide help and create hope for 8.5 million people a year regardless of religious, social, or economic backgrounds.  For almost 300 years, Catholic Charities agencies have worked to reduce poverty by providing a myriad of vital services in their communities, ranging from health care and job training to food and housing.  In 2010, Catholic Charities USA celebrates its centennial anniversary.  For more information, visit

SOURCE Catholic Charities USA