New Beginnings aided by anti-poverty program
Collection for Catholic Campaign for Human Development is Nov. 19-20
By Sue Schulzetenberg
Additional resources and funding are a welcomed gift for any non-profit, especially in the midst of an economic downturn.
New Beginnings in St. Cloud is no exception. Since 2008, the organization, which provides housing and self-sufficiency programming for pregnant women and mothers with babies around one year old or younger, has seen its inquiry calls rise by 50 percent.
“Overall, there is an increase in need with the economy [and] there’s been a decrease in the central Minnesota community in transitional housing and shelter options for moms that are homeless,” said Jodi Vannett, New Beginnings executive director.
To meet the growing need, New Beginnings required more funding. One of their 2011 grants came from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development. The grant partially funds a communications and volunteer coordinator position and helped the organization to purchase new cribs.
“This gave us staff time to secure additional resources. All those things really make a difference,” Vannett said.
Needs are increasing
New Beginnings was one of four local groups that received funding in 2011 from CCHD, a program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to end poverty by addressing its root causes. Parishes in the St. Cloud Diocese are encouraged to participate in the CCHD collection Nov. 19 and 20.
“Because of the economic crisis, more and more people are recognizing increased need and looking at the reasons why people are poor. The need for funding those projects is up,” said Kathy Langer, diocesan director of CCHD.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the official poverty rate has increased for three years in a row, from 12.5 percent in 2007 to 15.1 percent in 2010. The number of people in poverty, 46.2 million in the United States, is the highest ever in the 52 years of poverty estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.
“We need Band-Aids but we also need something bigger,” Langer said. “So many people look at the issues and say, ‘It’s too big. There’s nothing I can do.’ But there is something they can do. Their financial contributions mean so much. The collection is so helpful in so many ways.”
CCHD awards grants on the local and national levels. Twenty-five percent of the funds raised in a diocese stay in that diocese.
For an organization to receive local funding, it must contact the local CCHD office, participate in a site visit, fill out an application form and receive approval from Bishop John Kinney.
To receive national funding, groups must fill out a pre-application, complete a full application, participate in a site visit and receive final approval from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ CCHD subcommittee.
Other funded programs
In addition to New Beginnings, other groups that also received local funding within the last year were Hands Across the World, Franciscan Volunteer Corps and the Financial Coaches Project.
Hands Across the World is based in St. Cloud and helps immigrants and refugees adjust to their new homes by fostering new friendships, self-sufficiency and pathways to citizenship. It offers courses for adults in English, citizenship, math, computers, and sewing and crafts in addition to various workshops and programs for transitioning to a new culture. A classroom program is also available for young children who accompany adults.
The Franciscan Volunteer Corps is based in St. Cloud and supports college graduates who spend 10 months serving the poor. The Financial Coaches Project trained people in central Minnesota on educating others about basic household budgeting, debt issues, improving financial stability and consumer self-help skills.
Other organizations providing outreach in the diocese have received national CCHD funding in the past. Those agencies include the Mental Health Consumer/Survivor Network and the Land Stewardship Project. A CCHD internship, which involves helping with social concerns projects, working on a newsletter and helping organizations applying for grants, is also funded with national money.
To contribute to the collection, place money in your CCHD envelope and bring it to your parish, or contact Langer at 320-229-6020.
Sue Schulzetenberg/The Visitor
Brianna Johnson holds her baby Kenndal at New Beginnings in St. Cloud. New Beginnings received a grant from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development to help fund a communications and volunteer coordinator position and buy new cribs.