Catholic Charities of Baltimore announces $75 million fundraising campaign, its largest ever

Catholic Charities has announced a $75 million fundraising campaign — its largest ever — on in hopes of bringing more resources to Baltimore.

To date, about $45 million has been raised for the Greater Promise campaign. The funds will focus on helping children, aiding disabled adults and community revitalization. Catholic Charities hopes to reach its goal by the end of 2022.

“As Catholic Charities approaches its 100th anniversary, we are presented with an opportunity to both reflect on our tremendous contributions to the community and also to take a deep, honest look inside to ask ourselves, ‘How can we do more?’” William J. “Bill” McCarthy Jr., executive director of Catholic Charities of Baltimore, said in a statement. “As we call upon ourselves to do more, we call for the support of our community to help realize a greater promise. To be more together — more helping, more giving and more loving.”

The initiative was partially inspired by the increase in need caused by the coronavirus pandemic, McCarthy said in an interview after Wednesday’s announcement. But it was also spurred by the charity’s desire to continue evolving.

“Even if a program is really great, we’re never satisfied,” McCarthy said. “We really want to challenge ourselves to always do better and to experiment and try new things that could have a greater impact.”

Catholic Charities of Baltimore is Maryland’s largest private provider of human services, and while it already has nearly 100 programs, the goal is to use the $75 million to better address the evolving needs of city residents. It was incorporated in 1923 by bringing together 12 previously separate services in the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Plans include opening an intergenerational center in West Baltimore that will provide continued support for children, adults, families and seniors; helping expand Head Start, a program to help families with children between the ages of 3 and 5 become better prepared for elementary school; and helping redevelop services by Gallagher Services, which supports adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Catholic Charities also plans to create community-based economic opportunity through the redevelopment of the Cherry Hill Town Center.

Though a location has not yet been selected for the West Baltimore center, the charity envisions the facility as a community hub serving all ages. For example, a child could be dropped off for preschool and in the same trip, the parent or caregiver could stop by the workforce development office, visit on-site behavioral health services or enroll their child in extracurricular activities.

And in Cherry Hill, the organization plans to open the neighborhood’s first full-service bank, transform 4,400 square feet of space into a hub for local entrepreneurs, a place for fresh food purveyors and meeting space for the community.

Efforts to elevate the programs and provide new services kicked off early last year, McCarthy said.

While the intergenerational site in West Baltimore may not open until 2024, McCarthy said other programs are already getting a face-lift. The executive director said Gallagher Services is beginning to expand to provide additional programming for disabled adults.

McCarthy’s ultimate goal is not only to better serve Baltimore but to also be a blueprint for other surrounding communities in Maryland and across the country. It’s something Marc Bunting, co-chair of the Greater Promise campaign, said he’s looking forward to helping the organization accomplish.

“We’ve been working with people and meeting them where they are in their life journey and we’ve been trying to re-imagine ways to make their life better,” Bunting said. “Now, we’ll be able to provide even more for the community, especially during a time where the need isn’t disappearing, it’s increasing.”