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There’s something greater in us all.
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 take a deep, honest look inside to ask ourselves— how can we do more? Greater Promise is a vow to help the community live up to its full potential. To bring out the best in each other. To continue to see everyone’s inherent value. To not only meet people where they are in life, but to help them find a better way forward. As we call ourselves to do more, we call for the support of our community now more than ever to help realize a greater promise. To be more, together.
See the launch event from December 8, 2021.Watch Video
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We’re the largest private social services provider in Maryland
- 80+ Programs
- 200+ Locations
- 8,000+ Community Volunteers
6 Areas of focus
Our programs fall within one of the categories below, all designed to realize the Greater Promise in our community.
Healing Trauma & Addiction
Experiencing some form of trauma or addiction has become all too common for many. But with help, there is hope for anyone to overcome this stronghold. We provide a wide range of mental and behavioral health services for children and families including mental and behavioral counseling, addiction counseling and treatment, and more.
Aging with Dignity
Our senior services are built on traditions of excellence, dignity, and respect. We provide exceptional apartment communities and life care options. Our compassionate care is provided to seniors of all faiths through a full continuum of services including low-income housing, adult day services, assisted living, rehabilitation, and nursing care.
We aim to help people feel safe, supported, and welcome as they start a new life in a new place. We offer comprehensive resources to immigrants, including education, healthcare, immigration legal assistance, family reunification, anti-trafficking, and community support that offers new neighbors the power to improve their lives.
We assist people who are struggling to make ends meet and striving to work their way out of poverty. With programs that include a range of transitional housing services, meal programs, education, employment and counseling services, and referrals to other support services, our goal is to enable individuals to fully achieve financial independence.
Offering proper training and access to opportunity can make a difference for generations to come. We provide a wide range of opportunities for job training and placement assistance for those in need. This can allow Marylanders to provide a beautiful life for themselves and their families.
At the center of every community is the family unit. Whether it’s support for single mothers, building families through adoption services, education, or immediate intervention to keep a family safe at home, we believe in protecting and serving families for the betterment of our community.
3 Key infrastructure initiatives
Giving our community access to the support it needs will create healthier schools, businesses, families, and individuals, ensuring we can all fulfill our Greater Promise.
Cherry Hill Town Center
Investing in a revitalized town center designed by the community, for the community will give Cherry Hill access to vital businesses in an area that has long been overlooked. We’re spearheading a multi-phase project that includes renovating the building’s façade, welcoming the neighborhood’s first bank, and turning 4,400 square feet of retail space into a hub for local entrepreneurs, fresh food purveyors and meeting space. This project is the result of an in-depth collaborative effort with the community of Cherry Hill and we need support from donors to help make this project reach its full potential.Donate
Our mission is to open doors to a fuller life for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. And now, we need a space that is more conducive to the warm, inviting nature that our clients deserve. Our commitment to person-centered planning and community integration will require a host of changes, including more staff and vehicles, more training, more technology, and a powerful advocacy effort. Over time, we envision this center as the start of something bigger – a place for intergenerational programming will serve people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and bring us all together.Donate
The Intergenerational Center is a big dream that requires a visionary commitment. It is the largest initiative of our Greater Promise Campaign and we need your help in making it a reality. The Intergenerational Center will be located in West Baltimore, an area where we already offer many services and have an existing neighborhood partnership, through Head Start and our food & training services out of St. Edward’s. The Center will provide a platform to deliver a range of services for the entire family in one central, state-of-the art facility. We envision it as a community hub that provides a continuum of support for children, adults, families and seniors.Donate
Andrew doesn’t want his children ever to experience the financial insecurity and homelessness that he has endured for more than half of his life. With parents who were unable to care for him, he was “in foster care at age four,” he said, “arrested at 19, and released with nowhere to go, bouncing back and forth from place to place, staying outside.” Always a hard worker, he was supporting himself and his girlfriend with a job at a restaurant at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport in 2020. Then the Covid pandemic hit, the world shut down, he lost his job, and his son was born.
“Depending on unemployment and those stimulus checks helped pay for a hotel for a while,” he said. “I have good people in my corner who helped us out during the pandemic. But by the beginning of 2021, I was going broke paying for a hotel room, and it got to be too much. I started looking around for programs that could help us and found Sarah’s House. At first I was reluctant to come to this program, but I made the decision for us as a family. Living by someone else’s rules is tough, but I thought about my son, who’s one year old now. I appreciate what the program is doing for us. It’s a roof, and they’re helping us get ahead.”
Andrew is driven by a desire to make a better life for his son and the baby he and his girlfriend are expecting later this year. He’s thankful for the help they’ve gotten through Sarah’s House with the logistics of life that can be barriers to accessing benefits, employment, and housing for example. He’s looking forward to the next step in the program—moving his family into their own place. He has returned to his former job at a higher rate of pay and has been actively seeking out extra hours and opportunities to move up in the company.
“For me, from here on out, it’s all or nothing,” he explained. “It’s been a long time coming. I’ve made some wrong decisions in my life, but now I have three lives I am responsible for. I have plans. With what I’m making now, I can sustain us, keep a roof over our heads, and food on the table. It’s a start. I’m not looking for a luxurious life, but I do want to keep moving up. I want to go back to school, build a career, find a better paying job so we can get a house. But for now, I will put in the hours, save money, provide for my family, contribute to my company. I’m willing to do anything I have to do to give my kids the life I didn’t have.”
St. Edward's Workforce Development Center
When Derek got his one-year certificate at Vehicles for Change, it was the longest he’d ever worked at a job.
“I get to work early every day,” he said. “Working on cars for me brings a certain joy of fulfillment that I can’t explain, and add to that, I know we’re doing something for the greater good by donating cars to needy families, helping them get out of their situation too.”
Looking back at his journey from prison to a job where he’s respected and able to support himself, “I’m still amazed. I’m still discovering myself because I was gone for 15 years in the drug thing. Now I’m actually living.” His interest in cars goes back to the time before all of that. He’d learned to fix brakes and change the oil from a friend’s dad. Then he built his own car, “an ’81 Cressida that was the hottest thing in Baltimore City,” he remembered. “I started doing cars for everybody in my neighborhood at Lexington and Monroe. They knew I was honest. It didn’t feel like work to me. It makes me satisfied to see someone happy with their car.”
When he got out of prison he knew he didn’t want to go back. “I have a motto at work, no comebacks. I don’t want someone coming back with the same problem.” He took the same attitude with his life. “It all starts with the man in the mirror. You don’t have to be in jail to be in jail. I see people who are afraid to break out of those fences they build for themselves. When you go outside you experience some things that are uncomfortable, some good. People get stuck.”
After getting out of prison, Derek was working as a mechanic at the Port of Baltimore. He knew he needed ASE certifications to get ahead and started looking for ways to do that. “I went to Catholic Charities for something, and I found out they were linked to this program. Once I got into the workforce class, I just blew up. The soft skills—Mr. Creamer and everyone there were very helpful. I know I can do more than fix cars, but that’s the road I chose to get me out of my poverty.” After completing the St. Edward’s Workforce Development program, Derek was hired for a full-time position at Vehicles for Change’s Full Circle Auto Repair and Training Center, where he fixes cars, mentors new mechanics, and drums up business.
“I had a vision,” he explained. “I knew this was what I wanted to do. Anybody who knows me they respect that about me—no comebacks. If I do a job I’ll do it right. I’m on my way. I make sure all my t’s are crossed and i’s are dotted.”
Jalene, Jonaya, and Shirlene
St. Vincent's Villa
When Rev. Dr. Jalene Chase was 5 years old, she made a friend who often seemed sad. Eventually, the friend told Jalene a man in her household was hurting her. Jalene told her own mother, who tried unsuccessfully to intervene. When her friend was killed in an accident on her way home from school, Jalene believed the girl had ridden her bike into traffic.
“She couldn’t face going home one more day,” Jalene said. “I couldn’t help her. I’m in a position to help children now.”
So she does. When Jalene’s oldest brother died, his grandchildren needed a home. Jalene and her sister, Shirlene, sold their condos to buy a house together and take care of the children. But that was just the beginning. The sisters soon were taking in other children whose parents needed temporary help. They trained as treatment foster parents, learning to care for children and teens with significant emotional, behavioral, social, or medical issues. That’s how they met Jonaya.
“Jonaya came to stay with us for respite care, just for a few months,” Jalene recalled. “Well, it’s been six and a half years.”
At first, Jonaya was destructive and sometimes violent. The behavior told the Chase sisters that Jonaya had experienced significant trauma and would need more than conventional therapy. Jalene’s research led her to St. Vincent’s Villa.
“With a child like this, some people would feel like a failure needing to send her for residential care,” she said, “but we knew the best we could do for her was getting her the help she needed. It was always difficult to leave her there, but every tear when we dropped her off watered her growth.”
Six years after her 30-day stay at St. Vincent’s Villa, Jonaya calls Jalene and Shirlene her “aunts.” She still uses the skills she learned at St. Vincent’s Villa to calm herself and advocate for her needs. She dreams of a career using the creative skills she discovered through her art therapy.
And Jalene sees a bright future for the little girl whose path was supposed to cross with hers for just a little while, but has grown longer.
“She knows we care about her, and I want her to embrace that person we care about, and have a good life.”
In 2012, 16-year-old Williams was just one of tens of thousands of children from Central America crossing the southern border into the U.S. alone. When he was apprehended in Texas upon arrival, Williams had already endured a terrifying journey and still faced an uncertain future. In leaving El Salvador, he had simply been running for his life. His hands and legs are scarred from beatings at the hands of his father, who forced him to work long hours from age 11 onwards. Exhausted, always hungry, Williams was failing high school. When his father demanded that he quit school and work more, he knew his only chance at life was to leave the country.
In Maryland, Williams reconnected with his older brother Adan, who immediately began working to help Williams stay in the U.S. One attorney charged $1,000 only to tell them that Williams should just return to El Salvador. Adan learned about Esperanza Center, and at the brothers’ first meeting with the attorneys there, they knew for the first time that there was a path forward for Williams.
The legal journey was long and complex. Adan had to assume legal guardianship of his brother before Williams could apply for residency. The Esperanza attorney working on the guardianship issue, Scott Rose, listened to Williams’ story and asked if he would testify on behalf of House Bill 315, to raise the age limit from 18 to 21 for immigrants eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status. In his emotional testimony before the state legislature, Williams told how he was thriving at his high school and planned to go to college, saying “I love this country and the opportunities it gives me, and I love my brother.” The bill passed, and Williams’ 20-year-old sister Raquel was one of the first to benefit from it. She now has residency and is in the process of applying for citizenship.
In July 2021, Williams was sworn in as a U.S. citizen. Looking back on his decision to testify, Williams said simply, “I thought that if I could do something to help somebody else, even a little bit, that would be a good thing. They had been helping me so much, and I wanted to give something back.”
Today, he’s looking toward a bright future. His girlfriend helped him apply for a job at the US Postal Service. He plans to go to college to study filmmaking. Today he’s working nights sorting mail and writing during the day, thinking about producing a short film as a portfolio piece for his college application. “Getting legal status has been big,” he said. “The people at Esperanza, I never felt alone when I was working with them. They see everyone as a person, not a case. They really care. The path I took, and making it this far. It shows me that I can do things too. It inspires me to do something with my life.
St. Elizabeth’s Rehabilitation and Nursing Center
Christine has always admired her caring and indomitable mother. Bertha Paul rose to a management position at Montgomery Ward’s, and then ran a daycare business out of her home. “My mother is a very loving person, and she threw everything she had into taking care of other people’s children after raising six of her own,” she said.
So it was Christine’s husband who first noticed that the time had come for the caretaker to get some loving care of her own.
When they built their house nearly 20 years ago, they made a place for Bertha there, so Bertha was there to support Christine when she had her baby daughter, and she has been a constant presence in her now-teenaged granddaughter’s life.
They started seeing signs of the onset of Alzheimer’s about six years ago, and Bertha’s condition worsened while the family was on Covid lockdown in 2020. “It was a blessing to have my husband working at home because my mother started to fall—he’s a strong man and he loves my mother,” Christine recalled. They began to worry about Bertha’s safety, especially when she would get up and wander the house at night. They put safety locks on the outside doors. “You’d like to think your case is special, but everybody who goes through this has the same story. The thing we all share is that it hurts.”
When Bertha was hospitalized with a stroke, and Christine accepted that her mother needed more care than they could provide at home St. Elizabeth’s Rehabilitation and Nursing Center was the only option she would consider. “My great aunt, who is 99, was there, my mother’s mother was there many years ago, my father’s brother, his mother in law, back to my grandmother—so we knew St. Elizabeth’s was a caring place. We have a long relationship with St. Elizabeth’s.”
Even knowing that her mother was going to a place she trusted, Christine wasn’t anticipating how happy the transition would be. “My mother really likes it there! The staff have really taken a shine to my mother, and my mother lights up when they come into her room. That’s just wonderful to see, when you have to leave your mom in someone else’s care. My mom has really only socialized with our big extended family, but now she has friends. And her being in St. Elizabeth’s allows me to sleep at night. Now when I visit with her, I don’t have to worry about doing the hard physical caretaking. I can spend time with her, cherish our memories together. It’s wonderful to see the happiness in my mom.
The Baltimore Sun
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.
Baltimore Business Journal
WMAR Baltimore | ABC News
The Maryland Daily Record
Help, Give, & love more, together.
Share the Love.
Greater Promise would not be possible without the following individuals. We thank them for their generosity and vision.
- Marc G. Bunting, Co-Chair
- Lisa Stromberg, Co-Chair
- William J. Stromberg, Co-Chair
- Theresa D. Becks
- Paul J. Bowie
- Tamla A. Olivier
- Daniel L. Rizzo
- Mary Ann Scully
- John P. Stanton
- Sharon Reynolds Stanton
As of July 31, 2022 Greater Promise Donors
- Anonymous (3)
- Archdiocese of Baltimore
- Rick & Jackie Arnold
- Don & Kathy Awalt
- Michael J. & Patricia K. Batza, Jr.
- Scott W. Becker
- Terri Becks
- Rick Berndt
- Carroll A. Bodie
- Kelli & Paul Bowie
- The Bozzuto Family Charitable Fund
- Monica & Ed Bradley
- Brightview Senior Living
- Bunting Family Foundations
- George & Anne Bunting
- Marc G. Bunting
- Mary Catherine Bunting
- Jamie & Sheldon Caplis
- Mr. & Mrs. John F. Cavanaugh
- Bob & Barbara Cawley
- Gregory D. Conderacci
- Mr. & Mrs. Francis A. Contino
- Sean & Lisa Creamer
- Mr. & Mrs. Clinton R. Daly
- Mary & Dan Dent
- Mr. & Mrs. Edward K. Dunn, III
- Mr. & Mrs. Martin J. Eby
- Mark & Mary Finn
- France-Merrick Foundation, Inc.
- Mr. & Mrs. David C. Franchak
- Gallagher Evelius & Jones LLP
- Ms. Helene T. Grady & Mr. Matthew D. Gallagher
- Gary & Kelly Garofalo
- Mrs. Pamela W. Gray and Mr. Paul-Sean Gray
- Brian & Gina Gracie
- Kelly Benefits & The Kelly Family
- Knights of Columbus Charities, Inc.
- Mr. & Mrs. Jeffrey A. Legum
- Katie Ryan Lekin & Jim Lekin
- Mr. & Mrs. Earl L. Linehan
- M&T Bank
- Macht Fund of THE ASSOCIATED
- Maria & Bill McCarthy
- McCormick & Company, Inc.
- Polly & Mark McGlone
- M. Natalie McSherry
- James & Mary Miller
- Mr. & Mrs. Carlos Muñoz-Lucas
- Benjamin & Kara Nichols
- Ms. Mary Anne O'Donnell
- Mr. & Mrs. Ludge Olivier
- Pam & Tom O'Neil
- The Orokawa Foundation
- The Martin J. & Mary Pat Ortenzio Family Foundation in honor of Anne Lindsey Otenasek & the Otenasek Family
- Jason & Rebecca Polun
- Sandy & Larry Puglia
- Dr. Frederick & Mary Louise Preis
- James & Agnes Redifer
- Kelly & Dan Rizzo
- George A. Roche
- Mary Jo & Brian Rogers
- Mary Ann & Chuck Scully
- Mr. Truman T. Semans
- Mr. & Mrs. Michael R. Smith
- Sharon & John Stanton
- Lisa & Bill Stromberg
- Mr. & Mrs. Arun Subhas
- Michael D. & Jeanne Sullivan
- Vitamin (Integrated Marketing Agency)
- Mr. & Mrs. Michael W. Walton
- The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, Inc.
- Scott & Susan Wilfong
- Jennifer & Marc Wyatt