The new program will increase the number of fundable CCHD grant applications from rural communities to a level commensurate with the percentage of poor people living in rural communities. CRL will play a facilitating and consulting role, assisting organizations interested in applying for CCHD funds.
The CCHD is the domestic anti-poverty, social justice program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
. Its mission is to address the root causes of poverty in America through promotion and support of community-controlled, self-help organizations and through transformative education. The grants, economic development, and education for justice programs of the Campaign, implemented in collaboration with local dioceses, are supported from an annual collection in U.S. Catholic parishes. On average, the CCHD gives out a little more than $8 million in economic and development grants each year. (Click here to view a CCHD brochure in English
and in Spanish
Approximately 17-20 percent of the U.S. population, or 50-60 million people, live in rural communities. Of that population, approximately 15.4 percent are living in poverty, compared to 11.9 percent in metropolitan areas, and 12.5 percent nationally. And in many rural communities, the poverty rate is much higher. Of 50 counties in the United States with persistent poverty, 48 are rural.
Yet the number of grant applications sent to the Catholic Campaign for Human Development for agriculture or rural environmental justice or economic development projects are less than one might expect. According to CCHD’s data, over the past three years the
number of grants awarded to rural communities for agriculture and environmental justice projects has averaged less than five percent of the total grants awarded each year. CCHD is receiving far fewer applications for funding from rural
communities compared to urban communities.
That discrepancy, CRL believes, is due to the fact that there are many obstacles to reaching underserved rural communities and getting the communities to apply for, and be successful in securing, funds for projects. Other grant-making organizations, such as USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, face similar challenges of not receiving enough quality applications from rural communities.
New Outreach Program
The new program will be partnership with the CCHD in which CRL will develop an outreach and education campaign to promote the application for CCHD grants. We will highlight success stories and publicize the stories of select CCHD funded projects through the CRL’s electronic bulletins, website and magazine; and develop related stories for publication in diocesan newspapers, newsletters and websites.
Working with CRL’s member network, made up of diocesan bishops, priests, men and women religious, social ministry directors, rural pastors, university and college faculty, non-profit and government workers, farmers and other advocates for rural issues located in every diocese in America, will allow us to encourage rural parishes and dioceses to promote the application for CCHD grants.
Over the next couple of years, we will assist rural organizations to develop fundable applications and target specific dioceses with high rural poverty (high unemployment) and key CRL member contacts. Our consulting services will include a combination of technologies—CRL website, email, and conference calls to clarify the process and develop high quality proposals. We will focus our outreach efforts on diocesan contacts, community groups, and individual contacts in high poverty counties.
To keep everyone updated on the program and to provide resources, this website will provide a forum for best practices in developing a CCHD project and proposal, and share success stories of rural applicants.
CRL completed our research and analysis in 2011, which identified rural dioceses experiencing elevated poverty. We also conducted interviews with diocesan CCHD directors and CCHD grants staff to better assist rural groups with developing proposals. In our first year, we focused on outreach in 19 dioceses in 14 states. As part of our outreach/education plan, we developed and ran print ads in 13 diocesan newspapers reaching 626,000 Catholics, featured CCHD groups in the Catholic Rural Life magazine, and created nine CCHD pages on the CRL website. CRL staff provided consulting to 25 groups in 12 dioceses – referring 10 organizations to national grants specialists. Six community groups from rural areas submitted pre-applications, and five groups submitted final applications. All five groups were awarded grants to move forward with their projects.
In Year II, we expanded our outreach to 40 dioceses in 15 states. As part of our outreach/education plan, we developed and ran print ads in 15 diocesan newspapers reaching 600,000 Catholics, featured CCHD groups in the Catholic Rural Life magazine, and hosted nine CCHD pages on the CRL website. CRL staff provided consulting to 89 groups in 60 dioceses in 23 states. In November, 12 community groups from rural areas submitted pre-applications. In December, 10 groups submitted final applications and four groups submitted interim reports/refund applications. Groups are now in the review process with the Bishop’s Committee meeting in mid-June, 2013 to award grants. We are excited to explore this grant opportunity with rural groups who would not have known about this great resource were it not for CRL’s outreach and consulting assistance.
Read more about successful rural CCHD grants
to explore possibilities for your community. In the right-hand bar we’ve set up a place for you to read about successful rural CCHD grants that CRL will continue to add to as interviews are completed. If you think your organization has a potential grant project, you can see if you qualify for CCHD funding by clicking on CCHD Overview
. The Getting Started
page will allow you to submit your ideas to CRL for review. The CCHD Grant Process and Timeline
tab lists key dates for the pre-application and application. Finally, we have created a how-to’s page for grant writing in Writing Your Proposal/Video Resources