We were founded over a century ago by men and women who believed that the collective efforts of the church to faithfully serve people in need could change the course of poverty in our nation.
The National Conference is founded
Nearly 400 people gathered at the Catholic University of America to found the National Conference of Catholic Charities (NCCC), “to bring about a sense of solidarity” among those working in charitable ministries and “to be an attorney for the poor.”
Msgr. John O’Grady named executive secretary
NCCC founder Msgr. John O’Grady fostered a period of growth during his 40-year tenure. He focused on professionalizing the institutional staff, establishing diocesan Catholic Charities agencies and advocating for workers, families and the poor.
Taking on a vigorous advocacy role
The Great Depression prompted the NCCC to call on the government to provide relief and pass social legislation based on Catholic principles. Msgr. O’Grady helped influence the passage of key economic security, labor and public housing legislation.
Embracing an expanded mission
In response to a Vatican II mandate, the NCCC adopted a new mission to pursue greater involvement in the world, to help transform society through advocacy and to convene the Catholic community and other concerned people in that effort.
NCCC becomes Catholic Charities USA
As NCCC leadership recognized the need to be seen as a national organization with a strong advocacy voice, and to better position the national office to fund its initiatives, the NCCC took on the name Catholic Charities USA.
Taking on disaster response
An agreement in 1990 between Catholic Charities USA and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops formally tasked CCUSA with coordinating domestic disaster response efforts on behalf of the Catholic Church in the United States.
The Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America
In response to the widespread chronic poverty exposed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, Catholic Charities USA launched the Campaign to Reduce Poverty in America, with the audacious goal of cutting the poverty rate in half by 2020.
Catholic Charities USA’s centennial year
To celebrate its centennial year, CCUSA led several Centennial Leadership Summits – convening civic leaders, service providers and interested citizens to address poverty in their communities – and hosted a commemorative Centennial Gathering.
Sr. Donna Markham appointed president and CEO
In 2015 CCUSA welcomed Sr. Donna Markham OP, PhD as its new president. Religious orders of women established many of our first schools, hospitals and social service organizations, many of which developed into today’s Catholic Charities agencies.
Introducing Kerry Alys Robinson
Appointed president and CEO upon Sister Donna's retirement, Kerry Alys Robinson — who has devoted her professional career to strengthening and serving the church — is only the second woman and second layperson to lead Catholic Charities USA.