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CCUSA, ND partner to combat poverty

Carolina Wilson | Thursday, March 21, 2013

University President Fr. John Jenkins and Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) President Fr. Larry Snyder met yesterday to sign a memo of understanding between the two institutions, pledging to work together to reduce poverty wat a national level.

Snyder said CCUSA, the national office of more than 160 Catholic charities nationwide, has a long-standing partnership with the Mendoza College of Business through the annual Commission for Service program. At the signing, Snyder said CCUSA wants to engage with the University on another level, strengthening cooperation with each other.

“When you look at the mission statement of the University and the mission statement of Catholic Charities, it’s amazing how similar they are in what we are trying to do as Catholic organizations,” Snyder said. “We both want to have an extreme impact on building community and building lives in this country.”
CCUSA’s social service work and the University’s academic focus are an ideal combination, Snyder said.

“What’s exciting about this [partnership] is that we’re some of the first groups to come together and use our resources, our talents, and our creativity to have a greater impact in lowering the amount of people living in poverty in this country,” he said.

Snyder said the help provided by the University’s academic skills and economic guidance is an essential tool in helping Catholic Charities to effectively use its resources.

“We’re social workers. [Catholic Charities] needs economists who are going to look at what we do and say ‘this is really having an impact,’ so that we can take that and run, or ‘this is not having an impact’ so that we can take that and shut it down, putting our resources where they are needed,” he said.

Jenkins said the partnership between CCUSA and the University is a great opportunity for the Notre Dame community because helping those in need is at the core of a Catholic institution.

“You can’t claim to be a genuine Catholic university if you don’t serve those in need,” he said. “It’s one thing to have good intentions, and it’s another thing to make something actually happen. I believe, that with this partnership, we can find innovative ways to actually help people in need rise out of poverty.”
Jenkins concluded by emphasizing the uniqueness of this partnership, calling it “extremely exciting.”

“As we continue to build this partnership between these two institutions, I think we will have a powerful effect in helping people rise out of poverty,” Jenkins said. “This is a great opportunity for us to be more of what we say we are, a Catholic university being of service to people in need.”