Catholic Campaign for Human Development Faith-Based Grantmaking: The Challenge of Funding Non-Faith Based Organizations Whose Work Does Not Undermine Official Teachings of the Roman Catholic Church

Loyola University Chicago



Case Study Sector


The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) is one of the largest funders of grass-roots community organizing in the United States. The grantmaking work of CCHD, however, has received criticism and opposition from conservative elements in the Catholic Church because of the perception that CCHD supports projects and organizations whose activities may be in conflict with Catholic teaching. One of the major challenges of CCHD is to manage its governance in order to make effective grants in accordance with its mission and values and to ensure that it funds organizations whose projects do not go against the official moral teachings of the Catholic Church.

This case is intended to explore how the governance of CCHD is reflected in its mission, values, and decision-making, and in the assumptions behind the criticisms of CCHD. It also examines how certain aspects of the governance of CCHD relate to the nonprofit sector as a whole in the areas of professionalization and leadership development, stewardship, and accountability. Finally, this case looks at how CCHD’s activities relate to social change philanthropy in the service of communities of color and other underserved communities.

This case study appears in the collection Lessons from Philanthropy: A Case Studies Approach: A Report to the Ford Foundation. The case studies are designed to increase the relevance of philanthropy teaching curriculums and better prepare future leaders that are engaged in philanthropy and nonprofit sector work. The overall goal of the present project was to develop case studies that would serve as teaching/learning tools about philanthropy by providing in-depth examination of critical issues and experiences related to foundation decision-making, governance and fund- distribution. Throughout the development of these cases, a special emphasis on philanthropic involvement in communities of color and other underserved communities was maintained in order to improve philanthropy’s work in relation to these populations.



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