January 31, 2023 // Diocese

Much More Than Numbers: Catholic Charities 100th Anniversary 2022 Year in Review

“Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” This quotation, attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, is an apt expression of the work of Catholic Charities of Fort Wayne-South Bend. In 2022, the organization’s 100-year anniversary, 47,000 services were provided to more than 19,000 people in the name of Jesus and His Church.

The stated mission of Catholic Charities is “Serving all those in need as Christ calls us to do,” and its staff, volunteers, and donors work to live out this mission every day through those they serve.  “Bishop Herman Joseph Alerding instituted Catholic Charities in 1922 to serve the unique needs of our Diocese,” explained Bishop Rhoades. “During this time, he saw so many needs to help unemployed families, immigrants, widows, orphans, and pregnant mothers. A hundred years later, Catholic Charities is still committed to providing God’s love to these oftentimes marginalized populations.”

“’Evangelization through service’ is the model that Catholic Charities follows,” said Matt Smith, Ph.D., Chief Development Officer for Catholic Charities. “It’s sometimes misunderstood that Catholic Charities serves only Catholics, but that is certainly not the case. We serve anyone in need in our area, from any faith tradition, ethnicity, nationality, or socio-economic background. We strive to serve everyone as Jesus did.”

From 2021 to 2022, Catholic Charities had a nearly 50 percent increase in revenue — mainly due to two legacy gifts totaling $1.5 million — and a 27 percent increase in expenses. “Another fact most people don’t know is that Catholic Charities receives support not only from many Catholic faithful and organizations, but also from businesses and even from non-Catholic faith-based organizations wanting to contribute to our mission of service.”

The relatively large jump in revenue in the past year allowed the organization to expand both its number of clients and services in 2022. Some examples of this can be seen in the results of Catholic Charities’ 2021-2022 programs, as listed in its 2022 annual report:

Stability Services: 16,669 people received Stability Services in 2022. This has been a large area of focus for Catholic Charities since its founding days, and includes homeless case management, food pantry, senior volunteer programs, Hispanic health advocacy, City ID, and more.

Migration Services: 1,883 people received Migration Services. An influx of refugees from war-torn areas like Afghanistan and Ukraine drove an increased need for services including legal immigration assistance and refugee placement and support for things like English language classes, resettlement, and finding jobs.

Counseling Services: 623 people received Counseling Services. The COVID-19 pandemic and other societal factors in recent years have resulted in a historic rise in the need for counseling of various types including mental health counseling in the community and schools, outpatient addiction therapy, and help for survivors of trafficking.

Pro-Life Services: 182 people received Pro-Life Services. This has long been an area of support for the organization and includes pregnancy case management, adoption record services, and ECHO (Education Creates Hope and Opportunity), which provides support to young parents so they can stay in school and create a better future for themselves and their children.

While Catholic Charities is grateful for figures, it is driven by much more than numbers. “Behind each number is a person. Each person has the dignity of being a child of God,” said Smith. “We serve in solidarity with them. Each person served is someone who needed assistance in an emergency situation or help with a long-term need.”

Catholic Charities continues to look ahead to anticipate new needs and how to best prepare and provide for them. “Our vision is to continue with a Christ-like servant’s heart, but be as organizationally efficient as possible,” said Smith.

Dan Florin, CEO of Catholic Charities since July of 2021, has brought financial and business management experience and skills from the corporate world to lead and operate the thriving organization.

“People who donate or volunteer often want to know: Is your organization being fiscally responsible? Are you using your resources as wisely as possible? One of our CEO’s goals is to ensure we are doing that … to strive for continuous
improvement as an organization while increasing our capacity to fulfill our mission of service,” said Smith.

As 2023 gets underway, Catholic Charities leaders look for ways to continue to expand the number of clients and services, work toward continuous improvement and efficiency, and strive to be a place where hope begins, answering the call of Christ to serve all those in need.

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