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TWO SOUTH SIDE CHICAGO GROUPS AWARDED $55,000 IN
CCHD GRANTS TO ADDRESS SOCIAL JUSTICE ISSUES

Chicago, IL ( October 9, 2008 ) Centro Communitario Juan Diego and the TARGET Area Development Corporation were recently awarded $55,000 by the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) to help residents of the city’s South Chicago, Auburn Gresham and Englewood neighborhoods . The CCHD of the Archdiocese of Chicago funds anti-poverty and social justice groups that serve seniors, youth, immigrants, workers and the disabled through their community-based projects focused on affordable housing, education, the environment and violence prevention.

The Centro Communitario Juan Diego’s (CCJD) Cooperative Academy Project was created to assist low-income Latina women in the formation of income-generating cooperatives in South Chicago. The Un Niño Feliz Piñata Co-Op began in 2007, and by collaboratively applying all of the members’ business skills, 500 piñatas were sold at 12 locations in just over a year. “The support the women in the piñata cooperative have received from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development has opened a world they never dreamed possible. These women now carry their heads a little higher and walk a little taller,” said Guadalupe Ramirez, Director of Development of Centro Comunitario Juan Diego. “They're no longer subject to scrounging for day to day jobs, and their children are seeing their moms as powerful, intelligent and capable women, challenging cultural stereotypes and inspiring the next generation of young women." The group intends to use their $25,000 grant to set up additional leadership development workshops where Latina women can create even more new cooperatives.

The TARGET Area Development Corporation promotes community organizing and policy research for positive change in the Auburn Gresham and Englewood neighborhoods. The 13-year-old organization intends to continue community meetings where residents challenge church leaders, business owners and residents to engage in positive street-corner activities to reduce shootings. "The struggle against violence is constant and it requires diligence,” said Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins, Executive Director TARGET Area Development Corporation. “Having support from the Catholic Campaign for Human Development inspires us tremendously because it helps us see that we do not struggle alone. The $30,000 Catholic Campaign for Human Development grant is a Godsend."

With the support of Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, this year’s CCHD collection will take place during the Masses celebrated at parishes in Cook and Lake counties the weekend of November 22 and 23. In 2007, over 95 percent of parishes in the Archdiocese participated in the collection that totaled over $900,000.

The Catholic Campaign for Human Development is the domestic anti-poverty, social justice program of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Its purpose is to address the root causes of poverty in America through promotion and support of community-controlled, self-help organizations and transformative education. For more than 30 years, the CCHD of the Archdiocese of Chicago has funded community-based projects focused on affordable housing, education, the environment and violence prevention to improve the lives of seniors, youth, immigrants, workers and the disabled in northeastern Illinois.

For more information about the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, including a complete listing of the organizations that received CCHD grants for 2008, please visit www.archchicago.org, or contact Elena Segura at 312--5333 or esegura@archicago.org.

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