A community that is transformed as it empowers the vulnerable to lead lives of dignity and self determination.
Inspired by the Gospel Mandate, Catholic Charities transforms lives and communities through hope-filled care, services and advocacy.
In 1879, Father Bernard Donnelly established Mount St. Bernard’s Orphanage in Kansas City. With that one act of faith, hope and charity, many lives — and a community — were transformed. And, from that humble beginning a strong tradition of compassionate care and social service took root, thrived and grew to become Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph.
Today, millions of lives have been transformed, and our community is a much different — much better — place.
OUR HUMBLE BEGINNINGS : Shelter & Support for the Vulnerable
1879-1909 During these first three decades, thousands of infants, children, young mothers and aging adults found shelter and support through Catholic social service agencies. Mt. St. Bernard’s Orphanage, Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Elderly, St. Anthony’s Home for Infants and St. Vincent’s Maternity Hospital opened their doors to all, regardless of faith.
1927 Catholic social service agencies in Kansas City merged into a single Catholic Welfare Bureau and added support services for youths in the juvenile detention system.
1935-1945 As the depression lingered and World War II loomed, Kansas City’s needs changed and grew. The Catholic Welfare Bureau added food kitchens, family and foster care services and programs that served offenders. During and after the war, the Bureau added employment training, housing assistance and counseling programs to assist veterans and their families.
THE MID-CENTURY : An Era of Social Change
1950′s-1980′s During an era of sweeping social change, the Catholic Welfare Bureau expanded and adapted to serve more people with more services.
Early 1960’s The Catholic Welfare Bureau resettled 120 Cuban refugee families in the Kansas City area.
1964 President Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty. The agency joined the fight and merged with additional diocesan social services. In 1967, it was renamed Catholic Family and Community Services.
1967 In-Home Care Services were added to assist aging adults living at home. Catholic Charities is now Kansas City’s oldest and most experienced in-home care provider.
1970 Rashey Moten named Executive Director. He became the first African-American to lead a Catholic Charities organization. He earned national praise for his pioneering leadership, which brought social work back to providing hands-on, day-to-today services to the poor and vulnerable.
1977-1980 Catholic Family and Community Services renamed Catholic Charities. When a branch opened to serve Northwest Missouri, it became Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph. Today, that office assists more than 20,000 people annually.
OUR DYNAMIC PRESENT : Responding to Changing Needs
1980-2000 Catholic Charities continued to address the root causes of poverty in the community. It opened an office in Warrensburg, added housing programs throughout the diocese and began job training program in response to the changing needs of clients.
2000-2010 A global recession began, resulting in increased demand for assistance throughout Kansas City and Northwest Missouri. Catholic Charities responded by offering poverty-reduction assistance to approximately 150,000 people each year, including the introduction of financial literacy and economic empowerment programs.
2005 Committed to serving the vulnerable at their times of greatest need, Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph distributed $642,00 in assistance funds and provided case management to Hurricane Katrina evacuees. Similar relief efforts followed tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri in 2011 and Moore, Oklahoma in 2013.
2010 Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph engaged communities across the country in a 100-day, 5,000-mile coast-to-coast bike ride. Cycling for Change raised funds and awareness, and helped Catholic Charities USA move closer to its goal of reducing poverty in America by 50% by 2020.
2014 Phase One of St. Michael’s Veterans Center opened, providing homes and comprehensive support services for 59 veterans who were once homeless or living in unstable conditions. Construction on Phases Two and Three begins in 2015.
OUR HOPE-FILLED FUTURE : Unique Solutions to the Causes of Poverty
December 2014 Catholic Charities will move into a new home, following the September purchase of 850 Main Street in downtown Kansas City. The space will be uniquely designed to meet clients needs with signature services that include emergency assistance, workforce development, housing, health, support and education.
2015 Pilot Social Enterprise programs begin in communities in need of economic renewal. The first pilot, The Tamale Project, is already underway in Kansas City’s Northeast community.
2015 Implementation of a new model for delivering services to people in need continues. Client-centric services focuses on greeting each person who comes to Catholic Charities’ door, assessing needs and providing customized services that put people, not programs, first.