The CCUSA Innovation Challenge seeks to inspire member agencies (and their community partners) within the Catholic Charities network to propose a fresh solution toward alleviating, reducing or eliminating poverty. The proposals must address a specific area of poverty and must be achievable, measurable, replicable, sustainable and scalable.

  • The purpose of the CCUSA Innovation Challenge 2.0 is to encourage Member Agencies to develop innovative and integrated service-delivery solutions that focus on workforce development, an aspect of one of CCUSA’s strategic priorities.  Workforce development is defined as the provision of programs designed to foster the sustainable economic security of individuals and communities.  Social services, community supports, training, an array of job strategies and industry driven education all are elements of a successful workforce development program.Preference will be given to programs that demonstrate innovative and holistic best practices that 1) are scalable, replicable and sustainable; 2) will use partnerships with employers and other community organizations; 3) will be measurable and outcome focused; and 4) have a demonstrated impact in poverty reduction.  Programs customized to the needs of various employers and job seeker groups within the context of a community are encouraged. In keeping with our rich history of Catholic Social Teachings on the dignity of work, these programs should result in individuals, families & communities having the human, financial and social capital to reach their full potential. These innovations will generate new knowledge in the field of workforce development to share with the Catholic Charities network and our public and private sector collaborators.

  • Summer 2022 2nd-More detailed teasers
  • Summer 2022-Online Workshop: What is Workforce Development?
  • August 2022-Online Workshop: Components of Workforce Development
  • September 2022-Formal Announcement-Annual Gathering (AG) Baltimore
  • October 2022-IC 2.0 Website and Application Launch
  • October 2022-Online Workshop: Workforce Development Program Design
  • January 2023 Selection of Judges
  • March 3rd 2023-Application Deadline
  • March /April 2023- Review & Selection of top 9 agencies
  • April 2023 (Mid-Month)-Announcement of top 9 Agencies *
  • July 2023- Deadline for agencies to provide 90 sec. video pitch. Submitted to communications for testing and adding to platforms
  • July 2023 (Mid-Month)-Communications deadline for survey monkey to be finalized for registrant voting during the Annual Gathering.
  • July 2023 (Last Week)-Deadline for agencies to provide 5 min video. Submitted to communications for testing and adding to platforms. Registrants will be encouraged to view videos prior to attending AG.
  • August 2023-Deadline for survey monkey to be used by registrants voting at the AG.
  • September 2023-AG Cleveland-Winner Selections-Voting/5 External Judges + CCUSA participants at the meeting (3 hours presentation-1 hour for each size group-) (Each group will have 5 min for presenting and 15 minutes to answer questions from judges). Final votes will be calculated based on 30% from registered attendees and 70% from the judges.
  • September 2023-AG Cleveland-Winners Announcement
  • October 2023-2024-Capacity Building Meetings-Monthly meetings with program winners


The deadline for submission of the completed application is Friday, January 31, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. ET.



February 1 – March 20, 2020

Judges will review and score entries. Select finalists.



Spring Gathering
March 30 – April 1, 2020

Finalists announced.



CCUSA Annual Gathering
October 2020, Cleveland, Ohio

Finalist teams will present during CCUSA Annual Gathering. Awards announced.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CCUSA Innovation Challenge?

The purpose of the CCUSA Innovation Challenge (Challenge) is to encourage member agencies to develop and implement innovative solutions that have the potential to alleviate, reduce or eliminate poverty. The Challenge celebrates the long history of innovative, transformative poverty programs within the Catholic Charities ministry and encourages precedent-setting initiatives.

Where can information about the Challenge be found?

Who can apply for the Challenge?

The Challenge is open to new programs and ideas. To be eligible, the applicant must be a Catholic Charities member agency, a community partnership in which a Catholic Charities member agency is the lead or a partnership of two or more Catholic Charities member agencies. Application details, including scoring and evaluation process, may be found here.

How many proposals can an agency submit?

Only one Challenge submission per member agency will be accepted.

What is the prize?

There will be three (3) groups (small, medium, large) as stated in the guidelines.

One agency’s proposal from each group will receive a prize of $333,333 to be used to capitalize the initiative. By submitting a proposal, agencies acknowledge and agree that if the proposal is selected, 100% of the award must be used for the initiative described in the proposal.

What are the important dates/deadlines?

January 31, 2020, at 11:59 pm ET:
The deadline for submission of the completed application.

February 1 – March 29, 2020:
Judges will review and score entries. Select finalists.

Spring Gathering, March 30-April 1, 2020:
3 finalist agencies from each of three groups will be notified during the Spring Gathering.

CCUSA Annual Gathering, October 2020, Cleveland, Ohio:
Those funded will be announced on final day of CCUSA Annual Gathering.

Additional questions?