Catholic Charities USA announces awardees of CCUSA Social Innovation Challenge: Agencies receive a combined $1 million to invest in innovative programs

Alexandria, Va. – Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) President and CEO, Sister Donna Markham, OP, PhD, announced the three awardees of the CCUSA Social Innovation Challenge during a virtual event with staff from across the Catholic Charities ministry. The awardees will receive a combined $1 million to invest in their respective innovative program.

“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,” said Sister Donna. “We are excited to see how these programs progress and look forward to assessing their impact on promoting paths out of poverty and suffering.”

CCUSA’s Innovation Challenge awardees and their respective innovative programs are:

  • Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Omaha, Inc. (Small Agency category): “Catholic Charities of Omaha Microbusiness Program: Erasing Poverty through Entrepreneurship in Catholic Charities Communities Across America” – A three-year project that delivers an online microbusiness model to budding entrepreneurs at six Catholic Charities agencies across the U.S. Provides low- to moderate-income adults with business knowledge, resources and capital to become small business owners. 
  • Catholic Charities West Virginia, Inc. (Medium Agency category): “Hospital Transition Program” – Together with Wheeling Hospital, Catholic Charities West Virginia identifies and supports high-risk patients after hospital discharge by connecting them with resources including transportation to appointments, home-delivered meals, and housekeeping services.
  • Catholic Charities Diocese of Cleveland (Large Agency category): “MAX—The Max Kolbe Program” – Through specialized “peer” support training and certification of Catholic Charities staff, this program is aimed at those recovering from substance abuse disorder and those currently experiencing a substance abuse disorder crisis. MAX provides immediate pairing with a trained “peer” to a client in a crisis moment (ER, prison, court) and as a continuous advocate.

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.

For more information about the CCUSA Innovation Challenge visit:

Integrated Health

Catholic Charities is committed to providing comprehensive services to promote physical, mental and spiritual well-being. From behavioral health to addiction services, CCUSA supports Catholic Charities agencies by providing resources and best practices.

Learn More


A member of Caritas Internationalis, Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) is the national office for Catholic Charities agencies nationwide. Catholic Charities USA’s members provide help and create hope to more than 15 million people a year regardless of religious, social or economic backgrounds. To learn more about CCUSA, please visit our website at