The Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope (DCJH) is an effort by the Diocese of Springfield of Illinois under the direction of Bishop Thomas John Paprocki to promote justice and hope for the poor. DCJH puts into practice Catholic teaching on life and dignity of every human person and the Gospel command to care for “the least of these” (Matthew 25). Drawing inspiration from the Corporal Works of Mercy, DCJH seeks to address the systemic injustices that contribute to poverty in our diocese and to provide financial support for local programs and organizations that give realistic hope for the poor to break out of the cycle of poverty through effective and efficient interventions. Furthermore, DCJH will assist in protecting life at all stages with an emphasis on the unborn by helping pregnant women to have hope for the future of their children and their lives. A stable family life in a home with a married mother and father is one of the most effective ways to break the cycle of poverty and give children hope for their future.
DCJH also desires to transform the way we think about poverty. As such, education will also be an important component of the Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope. Poverty is not a concept or a statistic, but a daily reality for millions of Americans. Every day, in the wealthiest nation on earth, people suffer from hunger, sleep on the streets, cannot afford medications for their illnesses or live in fear of domestic and community violence. As Catholics we are taught to seek out – not to avoid - the poor. We are taught, through the example of Jesus, that we are all God’s children and worthy of love, dignity and respect.
Why the Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope?
With a population of over 1.1 million inhabitants, the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois has tens of thousands of people “in our midst” living in poverty. DCJH seeks to shed light on this reality and give Catholics an opportunity to fulfill their moral obligation to reach out in solidarity to those who are suffering and lacking basic human necessities. In the words of Pope Benedict XVI, “the more we strive for a common good corresponding to the real needs of our neighbors, the more effectively we love them.” Like all Catholic ministries, the Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope reaches out to the broader community, helping people seeking to overcome poverty without regard to their race, ethnicity or religion.
Through a structured grant application process, the DCJH will allocate funds to organizations and projects that can demonstrate a focus on changing and improving the conditions of low-income people in the Springfield Diocese. Grantees will be held accountable for the funds they receive through routine reporting and they must maintain a diocesan or parish affiliation. DCJH will not fund organizations that engage in activities that conflict with Catholic teaching on human life and dignity, that promote abortion or euthanasia, undermine the family or tolerate racism or unjust discrimination. Recommendations for grant awards will be made to Bishop Paprocki by the Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope Committee on an annual basis. An annual parish collection will be conducted the weekend before Thanksgiving to provide the funding for this initiative.
Overview and guidelines
Projects/organizations that help the vulnerable and people living in poverty may apply for a Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope Grant. Grants are awarded on an annual cycle and do not imply subsequent years of funding. Recommendations for grant awards will be made to Bishop Thomas John Paprocki by the Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope Committee for organizations/projects that operate within the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois and have diocesan or parish affiliation.
Organizations interested in receiving a Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope grant are required to complete and file a grant application no later than February 16, 2018. Grants may be awarded up to $3,000. Decisions on funding and notification will be made in May 2018. Grants will be awarded in June 2018. The grant period is from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019.
- DCJH will provide financial support for local programs and organizations that give realistic hope for the poor to break out of the cycle of poverty through effective and efficient interventions. Education that addresses the root causes of poverty and programs that promote stable family life and the protection of human life from conception to natural death will be given priority.
- Organizations/projects must directly benefit a relatively large number of people.
- Cash disbursements may not be given directly to clients.
- Grants awarded to an organization/project must be used for the project.
- Organizations can only receive funding for a particular project for three consecutive years.
- The organization applying must qualify as a tax exempt entity by providing IRS 501(c) 3 certification, or operate under a fiscal agent that has a 501(c) 3, e.g. Catholic parish or diocesan organization.
- Organizations that receive a Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope Grant must not participate in or promote activities that contradict the moral and social teachings of the Catholic Church. Such activities would include, but are not limited to: promotion of same-sex marriage, capital punishment, artificial birth control, artificial reproductive technology, abortion, euthanasia, racism, and unjust discrimination toward immigrants. Prohibited activities also include endorsing political candidates or parties.
- Applications require either the signature of the pastor of a Catholic parish within the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois or an active parishioner of a Catholic parish within the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois who serves on the board of the applying organization. Projects/organizations that most closely fit the guidelines will have preference in the evaluation process.
- A Final Expense Report is expected within two months after the end of the grant period. Documentation for all disbursements will be required when completing the Final Expense Report and may be requested by diocesan representatives.
- We ask that grantees promote the Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope Collection on their website, Facebook and/or brochures to the best of their ability.
- Please send or email completed applications by February 16, 2018 to:
Office for Pro-Life Activities and Special Ministries
Diocesan Campaign for Justice and Hope
1615 West Washington Street
Springfield, IL 62702