In 1997, after decades of complaints, the “charity” called Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) was publicly informed that one of its major grantees, the Alinskyian organizing network ACORN, had serious problems.[i] Little came of the matter. However, over the next decade it became apparent that in addition to ideological incompatibility with Catholic teaching, ACORN was embroiled in embezzlement schemes and voter fraud. At that point, millions of dollars later, public outcry was sufficient to convince CCHD that ACORN was a poor investment.
ACORN wasn’t the only grantee about which CCHD was warned – not by a long shot. Alinskyian organizing comes in different varieties but all have the same political toxins. Last year, an American Life League (ALL) issued a report that focused specifically on the anti-life aspects of these grantees, uncovering a disturbingly high number of 2010-2011CCHD grants[ii] to organizations that supported – directly or indirectly – contraception, sex education, same-sex marriage and abortion “rights.”
CCHD’s reaction to ALL’s initial report – like its reaction to the reports produced by others over the years – was beyond disappointing. There were a few minor grant adjustments but nothing substantive. CCHD’s most public response was a defensive retorted that ALL was being an uncooperative, ideologue, “recycling” old allegations, and unjustly “attacking” CCHD.[iii]
Which is why, a year later, ALL has been forced to produce another report, demonstrating that it hasn’t simply been that a few organizations escaped the CCHD vetting process and were “accidently” funded. Rather, the individual instances of regrettable grant awards exposed in the 2011 report are a window opening out into the larger, more serious CCHD funding of progressive networks that push the “culture of death.”
The Gamaliel Foundation Network
This year, the ALL’s CCHD Grants Report[iv] gave particular attention to the Alinskyian organizing network Gamaliel. This national (and expanding) network has over 50 affiliate locals around the country, of which 23 received 2011-2012 CCHD grants equaling $854,500.
Gamaliel affiliates receiving 2011-2012 CCHD funds are:
Atlantans Building Leadership for Empowerment (ABLE) – Georgia: $50,00
Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope (NOAH) – Buffalo, New York: $40,000
New Jersey Regional Coalition – Camden, New Jersey: $25,000 (not mentioned in ALL report)
VOICE – Buffalo, New York: $50,000
Alliance of Communities Transforming Syracuse – New York: $50,000
Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network – Pennsylvania: $40,000
United Congregations of Metro-East – Springfield, Illinois: $50,000
Faith Coalition for the Common Good - Springfield, Illinois: $30,000
Baltimore Regional Initiative Developing Genuine Equality (BRIDGE) - Maryland: $25,000 (not mentioned in ALL report)
Metropolitan Organizing Strategy Enabling Strength (MOSES) – Detroit, Michigan: $25,000
Joint-religious Organizing Network for Action and Hope (JONAH) – Kalamazoo, Michigan: $40,000
The Ezekiel Project of Saginaw – Michigan: $40,000
Metropolitan Congregations United – St. Louis, Missouri: $45,000
Justice Organization Sharing Hope & United for Action (JOSHUA) – Green Bay, Wisconsin: $32,000
ESTHER – Green Bay, Wisconsin: $45,000
JONAH – LaCrosse, Wisconsin: $25,000
AMOS – LaCrosse, Wisconsin: $25,000
Milwaukee Innercity Congregations Allied for Hope – Wisconsin: $52,500
Racine Interfaith Coalition – Milwaukee, Wisconsin: $35,000
Quad City Interfaith – Davenport, Iowa: $35,000
GENESIS – Oakland, California: $35,000
North Bay Organizing Project – Santa Rosa, California: $35,000 (not mentioned in ALL report but Gamaliel-related)
Advocates Building Lasting Equality in New Hampshire (ABLE-NH) – Manchester: $25,000
The ALL Report looked closely at all but three of these locals. The Gamaliel Foundation is a founding member of the Steering Committee of the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), which in 2010 made an official position statement that homosexual relationships should be recognized as “families” in immigration reform.
The ALL Report explains that when it was “confronted with this information, the Gamaliel Foundation lied to National CCHD by claiming they severed all ties to FIRM in May of 2010, after it had learned of FIRM's policy statement on homosexual relationships. Gamaliel even went so far as to supply National CCHD with a letter it allegedly wrote to FIRM, dated May 2010, indicating that it was severing its relationship because of this position.”
However, ALL found a folder on Gamaliel’s website marked “FIRM Strategy Session 2011” that contained membership lists and member profiles (all marked 2011), showing that Gamaliel was still a member of FIRM and a member of its steering committee in 2011. Furthermore, minutes from a December 9, 2011 FIRM conference call meeting “lists Ana Garcia-Ashley (Gamaliel's President) as a participant and specifically states that nominations for executive committee members for the next year included Gamaliel.”
Other Alinskyian Organizing Networks
The ALL Report looks at several other organizing networks that receive heavy CCHD funding. One is Interfaith Worker Justice, whose CCHD affiliates this past year were:
Cincinnati Interfaith Workers’ Center: $60,000
Michigan Organizing Project – Kalamazoo, MI: $35,000
Ventura County Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice – Los Angeles, California: $45,000
Northwest Arkansas Worker Interfaith Center – Little Rock, Arkansas: $25,000
Workers Interfaith Network - Memphis, Tennessee: $25,000
New Labor - Newark, New Jersey: $35,000
Food AND Medicine - Portland, Maine: $35,000
Tompkins County Workers Center - Rochester, New York: $35,000
Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en Lucha - St. Paul-Minneapolis, Minnesota: $45,000
Another coalition that frequently works in coalition with IWJ is Jobs with Justice. The ALL report looked at the following five affiliates:
Brazilian Woman’s Group – Boston, Massachusetts: $40,000
Massachusetts Senior Action Council – Boston: $25,000
Pioneer Valley Project - Springfield, Massachusetts: $35,000
Latino Union – Chicago, Illinois: $75,000
United Congregations of Metro-East - Springfield, Illinois: $50,000 (also a Gamaliel affiliate)
Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights – Atlanta, Georgia: $50,000 (JwJ)
Additionally, there were several affiliates of these two networks that received CCHD grants last year but weren’t mentioned in ALL Report:
People United for Sustainable Housing – Buffalo, NY: $35,000 (NPA/JwJ)
Calumet Project for Industrial Jobs – Gary, Indiana: $35,000 (IWJ)
Northeast Ohio Alliance for Hope (NOAH) – Cleveland, Ohio: $50,000 (NPA/JwJ)
Together, these 18 local groups received $735,000 from the 2011-2012 CCHD “pie.” The ALL Report demonstrates that Interfaith Worker Justice and Jobs for Justice have fundamental perspectives that gravely differ from Catholic teaching – and they act on those perspectives, pushing public policy and national legislation for same-sex “marriage” and abortion, among other things.
For instance, in 2009 Jobs with Justice joined Planned Parenthood and NOW in a national campaign to force the drugstore chain CVS to “Stop Locking up Condoms,” that is, to make them more readily accessible. Its Workers Rights Board includes Kim Gandy, President of the National Organization for Women (NOW). JwJ project, “Students Labor Action Project,” works closely with the Young Democratic Socialists and The Young Communist League – both adamantly pro-abortion “rights” and same-sex “marriage.”
As for Interfaith Worker Justice, its founder Kim Bobo has participated in Democratic Socialist of America (DSA) events for years. Her assistant is an open Marxist, as are a good number of other key players in the organization. IWJ is a dues-paying affiliate of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, which advises funding agencies to grant money to homosexual advocacy groups and reproductive rights organizations, and IWJ has also signed and endorsed the Unity Blueprint, calling for passage of the Uniting American Families Act, which “would provide a mechanism that would allow U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents in bi-national same-sex relationships to sponsor their foreign born partner for immigration benefits to the U.S.”
These are not positions the Catholic Church ought to be funding. Yet year after year, millions of Catholic dollars do fund the affiliates of networks that are pushing progressive political structures in diametrical opposition to Catholic social principles.
There’s much more. The entire report can be read at Reform CCHD Now: reformcchdnow.com
Over and over again, year after year, CCHD assures prospective benefactors that its grantees have been carefully vetted and are in full compliance with ever new, ever more stringent Grant Agreements. It has stated that CCHD “will not fund groups that are members of coalitions which have as their organizational purpose or coalition agenda, positions or actions that contradict fundamental Catholic moral and social teaching.”[v] Either CCHD is incapable or unwilling to provide the depth of scrutiny required to keep its word.
Spero columnist Stephanie Block edits the New Mexico-based Los Pequenos newspaper.
[i] Wanderer Forum Foundation Commentary on the Campaign for Human Development, 1997. A copy was sent to every bishop in the United States who headed a diocese.
[ii] United States Conference of Catholic Bishops website, Department of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, 2010 Grantee List: www.usccb.org/about/catholic-campaign-for-human-development/grants/upload/cchd-grantees-2010.pdf
[iii] Bishop Soto and Bishop Blaire Memo Regarding CCHD, issued 9-28-11: www.usccb.org/about/catholic-campaign-for-human-development/Who-We-Are/soto-blaire-cchd-memo.cfm
[iv] American Life League CCHD 2011-2012 Grants Report: reformcchdnow.com/cchd-2011-2012-grants-report
[v] United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Review and Renewal of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development as Accepted and Affirmed by the USCCB Administrative Committee,” 9-15-10, p. 3.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.