Special to The Message
September 22 was a “good news, bad news” day for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Evansville.
The bad news: CCUSA awarded its $333,333 Innovation Challenge grant in the Small Agency category to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Omaha. Diocese of Evansville Catholic Charities had been a finalist for the award based on its efforts to establish the Handy Helpers Home Repair social-enterprise program.
The good news: CCUSA President and CEO Dominican Sister Donna Markham announced that the non-winning finalists (six in all – two each in three size-based categories) would each receive a $100,000 grant. That means that Handy Helpers Home Repair has still received a six-figure boost from CCUSA.
“All of the agencies involved in the Innovative Challenge brought outstanding programs to the table,” said Denise Seibert Townsend, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Evansville. “We were honored to be selected as a finalist and recognized for the great work Handy Helpers Home Repair is doing to advance hope in our community and significantly impact poverty.”
Seibert added, “the award of $100,000 was totally unexpected, and we are thrilled to have these resources to support Handy Helpers. We are truly grateful to CCUSA and everyone involved.”
In announcing the primary award winners in the small, medium and large agency categories, Sister Donna said, “These awards are a testament to our strong commitment to exploring inventive ways to meet the increasing needs of our brothers and sisters who depend on Catholic Charities agencies for help and hope. We are excited to see how these programs progress and look forward to assessing their impact on promoting paths out of poverty and suffering.”
The CCUSA Innovation Challenge was created to inspire member agencies (and their community partners) within the Catholic Charities network to propose fresh solutions toward alleviating, reducing or eliminating poverty. The proposals addressed a specific area of poverty and had to be achievable, measurable, replicable, sustainable and scalable. Submissions were grouped into three categories – small, medium or large – based on the number of full-time employees.